Now that the cobbled classics are over we look next to Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. There is a good mix of riders, several who are carrying on the momentum of recent victories or good performances.
The only rider who did the cobbled classics was Zdenek Stybar. You could see his condition by the fact that he was present in the select group and he finished in the top 10. He likes this race, and perhaps the parcours can be even better for him without cobbles to worry about.
Then you have riders from Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. Michal Kwiatkowski, Wout Poels, and Tony Martin all had their own special moments there and are motivated to ride at the first of the Ardennes Classics. Kwiato was always on the podium, while Wout and Tony won three stages combined. I'm excited to see what Tony can do with his engine at a Classic.
When you consider the skills of all these guys, this may be the strongest team we've selected for Amstel Gold Race. But a strong team on paper does not guarantee anything. Especially at a race like this. It's tough and nervous, and also a bit technical.
It helps that I know this race by heart. In fact, I trained a lot on this parcours when I was a rider. I told Tom Steels we know this parcours even better than Tour of Flanders. That is saying something!
We will do our best for a podium, and why not, maybe a victory! We will see how this plays out on Sunday.