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by Shane Stokes
April 13, 2018
In today’s Daily News Digest: Martin seeking to shrug off bad luck and land success in Ardennes Classics; Van Avermaet trying to land first Classic win of 2018 in Amstel Gold; Strong QuickStep Floors trio announced for Amstel Gold Race; Verschueren out of competition due to malignant brain tumour; New Zealand men tussle for MTB gold, England’s Last takes women’s; Easton adds new gravel and adventure gearing options for EC90 SL crankset; Yeti builds a downhiller’s cross country bike, the SB100; Inaugural Australian Gravel National Championships announced; Boulie safety upgrade revealed; Video: The people of Paris-Roubaix; Video: Phil Gaimon’s “Worst Retirement Ever.” Taiwan KOM Challenge, Part 2: The race
Former Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia winner Dan Martin is aiming for repeat success in the Ardennes Classics, and said that he believes he is on track to challenge. “Training has gone well since Volta a Catalunya despite the heavy crash on the last stage,” the UAE Emirates rider said. “I’ve been in good condition all season but bad luck prevented me from showing it in results. I feel ready to head into some of my favourite races.
“The course of the Flèche Wallone looks a lot more difficult than previous years and will make the final even more testing.” Martin has finished on the podium three times in the event; he was runner-up in 2014 and again last year, and was third in 2016. He was also runner-up last year in Liège.
He will be joined by former world champion Rui Costa, Diego Ulissi, Matteo Bono, Manuele Mori, Aleksandr Riabushenko and Rory Sutherland in the three events.
Costa has ridden well in previous editions of the Classics, taking fourth in the 2015 Amstel Gold Race, as well as third and fourth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “I wrapped up the Vuelta al Pais Vasco in increasingly better condition, so I’m coming to the Ardennes with high morale,” he said. “I’m confident that I can race to bring the team some significant results. The competition in these races is always fierce, but UAE Team Emirates will bring high quality; it’s an advantage to be able to count on a strong group.”
Ulissi has placed in the top ten on three occasions in Flèche Wallonne, and is psyched. “The race with the Mur de Huy has always been the one in which I’ve managed to best express myself. Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the race that dreams are made of. I am highly motivated.”