April 26/07 6:41 am - T-Mobile Team to Sundayâ€šs LiÃ¨ge-Bastogne-LiÃ¨ge includes Michael Barry
Posted by Editoress on 04/26/07
The Spring Classics season enters its last lap with Sunday's Liège- Bastogne-Liège, the oldest of cycling's five "monuments". Kim Kirchen spearheads the T-Mobile Team challenge at the hilly Classic.
For the looping 262-km north-south trek through the Ardennes, the Luxembourg Champion will backed by almost the same cast as he was for Wednesday's Flèche Wallonne - with Patrik Sinkewitz, Michael Barry, Axel Merckx and the Aussie duo of Michael Rogers and Scott Davis are all in action.
After the disappointing outcome for the team at Flèche, sporting director Valerio Piva is hoping that Kirchen, Sinkewitz or Rogers can bounce back quickly and get themselves in contention for a top-ten place in Liège. "Michael is no longer hampered by the knee injury he suffered at the Pais Vasco, and is back to his old form," says Piva who believes the race parcours should play into Sinkewitz's hands.
"Of the five biggest cycling monuments, Liège is certainly the toughest. The climbs are not as steep as at Flèche, but they are longer. That suits Patrik," says Piva.
Rounding out the eight-man roster in Belgium are the Ukrainian veteran Serhiy Honchar and Aussie newcomer Adam Hansen, who replace Marco Pinotti and Thomas Ziegler from Wednesday's selection.
Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the hilliest of cycling's great one-day races and the peloton will have to show it the respect it deserves. Though the first 100km cover flat terrain, the final 150 kilometres from Bastogne back to Liège's hill-top suburb of Ans cover constantly undulating terrain that turns the race into a real battle of attrition. As the race intensity builds, the riders hardly have time to stretch their aching backs.
"You are always at the limit and need to stay alert, or you'll be instantly dropped on some of the climbs," says Patrik Sinkewitz, who last year placed fourth and knows how to handle the 'Old Lady'.
Michael Barry (31/Canada)
Scott Davis (28/Australia
Adam Hansen (25/Australia)
Kim Kirchen (28/Luxembourg)
Axel Merckx (34/Belgium)
Serhiy Honchar (36/Ukraine)
Michael Rogers (27/Australia)
Patrik Sinkewitz (26)