From Pidcock and Healy to Teuns and Ayuso: here's what Van der Poel's challengers are saying ahead of the Amstel Gold Race Cycling

From Pidcock and Healy to Teuns and Ayuso: here's what Van der Poel's challengers are saying ahead of the Amstel Gold Race

From Pidcock and Healy to Teuns and Ayuso: here's what Van der Poel's challengers are saying ahead of the Amstel Gold Race

Mathieu van der Poel is the top favorite for the Amstel Gold Race, nobody will dispute that. But who will challenge the world champion this Sunday? And above all, what do they have to say? The big names seem keen to keep Van der Poel in check as a team, but MVDP also has a strong Alpecin-Deceuninck team backing him. captured and lined up the best quotes for you.

Tom Pidcock - INEOS Grenadiers

Tom Pidcock has mentioned he still has some sore hands from his debut in Paris-Roubaix, but he is ready for the classics that suit him best. Last year, he finished third in Limburg. "The Amstel Gold Race is an amazing race, I love racing there. I hope to improve by two places this time. The Ardennes have been a big target for me since the start of the year. I'm looking forward to getting started."


Ben Healy - EF Education-EasyPost

Last year's runner-up could be one of Van der Poel's most important challengers, especially since last year's winner is not participating. Ben Healy of EF Education-EasyPost doesn’t mince words: this needs to be his week! " It is just constant left and right, climbing and descending. The race is just relentless all day, even if there might not be one climb that stands out. I don’t think it is up to us to make the race from the start and decide how the race is ridden until the finale." He'd much rather keep quiet and have outsiders Richard Carapaz and Marijn van den Berg with him in the finale. "Hopefully, I'll have a smaller group with me, Richard and Marijn. If he's in the race, Marijn can sit back and wait for the sprint, allowing Richie and me to race aggressively."


Dylan Teuns - Israel-Premier Tech

He was very close to a podium spot in the Tour of Flanders, but the truly important races are just now coming up for Dylan Teuns. The 32-year-old Belgian revealed through Israel-Premier Tech's official channels that he is in excellent shape. "I feel really good at the moment and I’m happy to be back at the level I knew I had. I believe we have a strong team for the Amstel Gold Race this year and it’s not just me who can make a result. Having multiple cards to play gives us more options in the race. Of course, I hope to be up there with the best, fighting for a top result. I’m ready for it," says the winner of the 2022 Flèche Wallonne.

dylan teuns 2

Tiesj Benoot - Visma | Lease a Bike

"I’m here with a good feeling," Tiesj Benoot told Sporza, as co-leader of Visma | Lease a Bike. Matteo Jorgenson ("The course this Sunday should definitely suit him") is his companion. "Mentally and physically, I'm definitely not yet satisfied. I want to make something of this spring. Because of my long training block in March, I’m not physically burnt out yet. The race suits me well. I hope to be close again this year. I like the twists and turns and the shorter climbs. It took me a few years to really get to know the roads, but that's no longer a problem. I'm really looking forward to it. Maybe this is the classic that suits me best. Liège-Bastogne-Liège suits me well too, but that race is so honest that I often run into the real climbing specialists on the Roche-aux-Faucons. The Gold Race is a bit more tactical. You don’t necessarily have to be the very best to win."

tiesj benoot

Juan Ayuso - UAE-Team Emirates

Brandon McNulty, Marc Hirschi, João Almeida, Juan Ayuso... UAE-Team Emirates might have the strongest line-up of pure climbers this Sunday. For Ayuso, Amstel is his debut. Can he succeed his teammate Tadej Pogacar as the winner? "Personally I’m feeling good and carrying over form from the Tour of the Basque Country," he refers to his victory in the Spanish stage race in an announcement on the team's website. "For the Amstel Gold race on Sunday, I think we’re going in with a few options. Obviously we know these races can also really suit a rider like Hirschi and I hope to be there in the mix in the final too, so we’ll play our cards on the day. It’s my first time coming into these races in good shape and I’m really motivated."


Michael Matthews - Jayco-AlUla

He thought he would win in Milan-San Remo but was beaten by Jasper Philipsen. Then he thought he'd podium in the Tour of Flanders, but he was disqualified. Michael Matthews is in great shape, but he hasn't won a prize yet. In his favorite race, he hopes to strike, as he confided in "It's still my favorite race. I had my first date with my current wife in Limburg. So for us, that race is very special. She will be there again this year to support me. Hopefully, that will give me an extra boost and will make that dream a reality, after I've been close many times but haven't yet won. Everything that follows now is a nice bonus. I'll take it race by race. Hopefully, I still have the legs. We'll see if skipping Paris-Roubaix pays off."

michael matthews 2

Mattias Skjelmose - Lidl-Trek

One of the strongest squads in Flanders, but can they deliver on that again in the Ardennes? Bauke Mollema already announced that Lidl-Trek will ride for Mattias Skjelmose. "We have Mattias Skjelmose as an outsider for a nice result. I hope I can support him for a long time, together with other guys who can go far in the finale. We have a nice team for Sunday," he says, referring also to Andrea Bagioli, Toms Skujins and Sam Oomen.


Pello Bilbao - Bahrain Victorious

Bahrain Victorious announced Pello Bilbao and Fred Wright as its team leaders in a press release. Roman Kreuziger excelled in these races as a pro but is now the team director. "We have two of our big guns here on Sunday: Fred and Pello. Fred deserves to start as a leader, but it’s 50/50 whether he can be there in the finale. Pello left the Tour of the Basque Country in great form, and he’s looking forward to being with us for the rest of the Ardennes races."

pello bilbao

Louis Vervaeke - Soudal-Quick Step

With Remco Evenepoel absent, his luxury-helper and good friend Louis Vervaeke suddenly becomes one of the leaders at Soudal-Quick Step. It's a chance he doesn't often get, and he wants to go all in on it, as he already told "I'm scheduled to ride all the Ardennes classics. Actually, I was supposed to ride the upcoming races in service of Remco, but that has now changed. It is, of course, enormously unfortunate that our leader is out. It’s very tough mentally. However, at the same time it does give a rider like me the opportunity to chase my own success. And I won't let that opportunity pass me by."

louis vervaeke

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