Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Samu could have won Amstel"

While Samuel Sánchez's seventh place in Sunday's Amstel Gold Race was no mean feat, directeur sportif Gorka Gerrikagoitia was left contemplating what might have been hadn't his star rider been forced to change bikes at the worst possible moment. Talking to BiciCiclismo, 'Gerri' didn't mince his words.

"He had to swap bikes after 230 kilometres, the worst possible moment, because of a mechanical. If it wasn't for that mishap, he could have landed a podium spot and, why not, won the whole thing. The way he got back on in the final 20 kilometres showed he was one of the strongest".

Despite showing such good form in Amstel, it's still an unknown whether he'll line up in Liège on Sunday.

"He won't decide until the last minute. It depends on how this week goes for him. He's already completed his schedule for this part of the season and was strong in Amstel."

Igor Antón's inclusion on behalf of Samu is the only change for tomorrow's Fleche Wallonne. Gerrikagoitia has high hopes for Antón, but admits the man himself isn't so sure about his state of form.

"We hope he'll be able to fight for, at least, the podium. Antón doesn't know how he'll perform though. Two years ago, when Evans won, he was very close to the victory. It's a race well suited to him. We hope to see the best of Antón this year on Wednesday, but he has his doubts", he said.

The native of Galdakao didn't sound so cautious, saying he expects to be among the favourites. Grabbing a top five would be difficult though, he warned.

For Sunday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Ricardo García and Peio Bilbao will be the only ones from the Amstel roster to drop out. Mikel Nieve and one more, perhaps Samu, will replace the young duo.

Photo: www.cyclingnews.com


Stephen said...

It would be dissapointing if Anton didn't put in a good ride in one of the classics, his season hasn't been exactly sparkling so far. I know he has the Vuelta as his long term target but I would have thought that he could have found some form early on and then rested before building up to Spain....and we need the points!

Magnus said...

He hasn't looked to be in top shape of late, but the Mur should really suit him. I'd say he comes home fifth.

Kristof said...

I said it before, Samu would have won Amstel... I hope to see him in Liege, very hard race really it's cup of tea.


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