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by Shane Stokes
April 14, 2018
Ill Haas revises Amstel goal, withdraws from remaining Ardennes Classics; Mitchelton-Scott names three leaders for Amstel Gold Race; Nibali and Gasparotto spearhead Bahrain-Merida team in Amstel Gold Race; First mentor partnership announced by Cyclists’ Alliance; Handmade Bicycle Show Australia returns to Melbourne end of April; VeloClub prize pack up for grabs; New GravelNats added to Amy’s Gran Fondo weekend; Video: Mitchelton Scott’s Paris-Roubaix; Video: UCI Women’s WorldTour – What does it take to secure the leader’s jersey?; Video: Brokespoke Mountain – bikepacking bikehacking ride
Milan-San Remo winner Vincenzo Nibali and double Amstel Gold Race champion Enrico Gasparotto will be two of the top riders on the Bahrain-Merida team for Sunday’s Dutch Classic, as will 2017 Brabantse Pijl winner Sonny Colbrelli.
“I expect the usual very open race. This year, the Cauberg is much closer to the finish line and the presence of Peter Sagan will make itself felt in the race,” said Gasparotto, who triumphed in 2012 and 2016. “Personally, the race I did two days ago has confirmed that I’m in a good shape and that the work I did during the 13 days training camp at Teide has already given good results.”
Colbrelli finished second in the Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday and was ninth in last year’s Amstel Gold. “There are all the ingredients to make a good Amstel,” he said. “Morale is high, the shape is growing and we have a great team. I think the race will get inflamed at less than 50km from the finish when the best start fighting. And we will be there.”
Nibali showed excellent form in winning Milan-San Remo, although the Tour of Flanders didn’t really suit his light weight and preference for longer climbs. He hopes to have more success in the Amstel Gold Race. The squad is completed by Grega Bole, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre and Franco Pellizotti.
“We really have a very competitive team,” says directeur sportif Rik Verbrugghe. “Starting from Vincenzo Nibali and the brothers Gorka and Ion Izagirre without forgetting Sonny Colbrelli and Enrico Gasparotto. We have more solutions and we will see during the race how it will be better to move, of course the guys are very motivated and they all come from good performances.”