Roman Kreuziger lines up in Maastricht today as an outside favourite for the Amstel Gold, his favourite of the three Ardennes Classics.
“Amstel is the one for me,” the 23 year-old rider told Cycling Weekly. “Everyone says they want to win Liège. If they win it and let me get on with winning Amstel then I would be very happy!”
Amstel starts the Ardennes Classics week, with La Flèche Wallonne Wednesday and Liège-Bastogne-Liège next Sunday.
Team Liquigas’ Czech raced all three last year, but has more experience racing Amstel, having racing it three times already. This year, though, he comes off a block of altitude training in Tenerife, Spain, instead of racing the traditional Ardennes warm-up, the Tour of the Basque Country.
“I have still not seen the road book for this year, but I know how to move myself and how to race it.
“My tests at Tenerife were good. I have the base and after six hours of racing, I should have the rhythm to competitive. If I make a group of 20 riders than I think I can have a go for the win.”
Kreuziger was in Tenerife to build a strong base for the Tour de France this July. Last year, he finished ninth overall, 14 minutes behind winner Alberto Contador and eight minutes behind Brit Bradley Wiggins in fourth place.
The Tour de France is his main goal, but he has shown to be competitive in one-day races. Following last year’s Tour de France, he went to race the Clasica San Sebastián in Spain and finished second behind Carlos Barredo (Quick Step).
“To win Amstel Gold is very difficult, but to be competitive and at the front… I confirmed it last year, after the Tour, at San Sebastián that I am not afraid of long one-day races.
“If I arrive in one of the three Ardennes Classics in the top three then I would be very happy.”