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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
Defending champion Philippe Gilbert, Tour of Flanders winner Niki Terpstra and Julian Alaphilippe have been confirmed as QuickStep Floors’ team leaders for the Amstel Gold Race.
“We are lining up with a strong squad, hoping that we can be in the mix when the race is decided and perhaps repeat last year’s success,” said directeur sportif Wilfried Peeters. “The final has changed again, so we will have narrower roads in the last kilometres, which can play in favour of the breakaway.
“Staying in front will be important as the roads make it hard to organize a chase. However, it is not the race nor the route, but the riders who make the difference. Amstel is one of those races where you have to be awake at all times and there will be a lot of fighting for positions. Being in the right place at the right time makes the difference but to be there, you need not only to be smart but also to have the legs.”
The trio will have the backing of Bob Jungels, Davide Martinelli, Enric Mas and Pieter Serry. The team notes that the final part of the race has been modified and that this could play a big part in determining the winner.
“After avoiding the iconic Cauberg in the last kilometres of last season’s edition, they now decided to take the peloton over a new descent from the Geulhemmerberg, the day’s penultimate climb,” it noted. “[This] could give an advantage to the attackers, who later in the race will have also the undulating roads from the top of the Bemelerberg to try and foil the plans of those hoping to keep everything together.”