Can Chris Froome finally make his mark on a big one-day race on Sunday? Vincenzo Nibali thinks he may have a chance
“You are talking about a classic, a one-day race, it’s very different than a stage race so you have to come up with something [to win]. You need a lot of luck, a perfect day. This is what is so hard,” Nibali said.
“I don’t know how much experience Froome has in such a race, but he’s arriving in Liège on good form I think.”
Froome raced the Tour of Oman and Catalonia stage races this year. He has been training specifically on the island of Tenerife near Africa to be ready for this season, which he is primarily centring on the Tour de France.
The Kenya-born Brit raced only four one-day races last year. He parachuted in for Liège-Bastogne-Liège and in the late summer, raced Canada’s two one-day races and the World Championships.
“One day races will always be an extra for me if ever I do get it right, or if I do come off with a result,” Froome said last year after the Worlds. “I know my focus is stage racing.”
He abandoned the Worlds. Even if he crashed in the final laps, Nibali was part of the action and placed fourth.
Froome will arrive late tonight at the team’s hotel and skip the Liège-Bastogne-Liège teams’ presentation. After the 262.9-kilometre race, he will immediately leave for Switzerland’s Tour of Romandy. He will race it and the Critérium du Dauphiné stage race en route to the Tour de France.
Nibali has had a busier race programme this season going towards the Tour de France. He has raced four one-day races, the GP Camaiore, Milan-San Remo and the previous two Ardennes Classics – Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne.
In Milan-San Remo, he attacked solo over the Cipressa and held off the group until the Poggio climb. He made a similar move in Liège-Bastogne-Liège two years ago and place second, caught only by Maxim Iglinsky.
Based off results and number of one-day races completed, ‘The Shark’ is better suited for tomorrow. However, he is not counting out Froome.
“I know he was in Teide [at altitude] to train, maybe with this race in mind,” Nibali added. “He’s going to try to have a good race, and we’ll have to take him into consideration.”