Grenadiers relishing Liege challenge but Pidcock misses out

24 Apr 2021

Grenadiers relishing Liege challenge but Pidcock misses out

Michal Kwiatkowski is excited to lead the INEOS Grenadiers at Liege-Bastogne-Liege on Sunday as he looks to cap an encouraging Ardennes campaign.

Backed by Adam Yates, Richard Carapaz, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Luke Rowe, Michal Golas and Eddie Dunbar, Kwiatkowski is buoyed by the options open to the team, and says the group will take inspiration from the attacking display at last weekend’s Amstel Gold.

But Tom Pidcock will now miss La Doyenne, having not fully recovered from his late crash in Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne. The Brit will rest up and start to focus in on his mountain bike programme, ahead of his first event in a week’s time in Leukerbad, Switzerland.

Kwiatkowski has endured a mixed build up to Liege, the Monument that he has previously described as the ‘race of his dreams’. A broken rib disrupted his Italian block in March, but the former world champion is happy with where his form is after impressing in Amstel and Flèche.

“I’m excited. It’s always the finish of my spring block and this year it’s been super tricky coming into the Ardennes with my broken rib, but I feel great to be honest," said the 30 year old.

“I’ve taken a different approach, going into this period with an altitude camp. I felt wonderful in Amstel, Flèche, and we’ve had some great performances from the team. Tom nearly had it in Amstel and I’ve enjoyed the last two races so much, racing with these boys.

“In the last couple of years I felt a little bit alone sometimes as the leader, but this year we have so many options and we can play the racing game differently. It’s just great.

“I always believe in the Classics that you should always have some cards to play, and we have those in Liege, even though we will miss Tom. We can support each other, and Amstel was a good example - we were in the winning moves many times. If a Grenadier is at the front of the bunch, ahead, we’re happy. That’s what we’re aiming for. We will all celebrate.

“We are enjoying riding our bikes here. The weather has been good, we enjoyed a recon of Liege together, on our easy days we can ride on the Dutch bike paths. We can’t ask for more.”

Sport Director Gabriel Rasch has been happy with how the riders have performed this week.

“In Amstel we rode really well as a team,” he said. “In Flèche we were a little blocked when Tom had his crash, we couldn’t race as aggressively as we wanted, but we were still committed 100%.

“This week in general has been really good and we are well prepared for Sunday. As a collective with our strongest guys working together, we can really do something on Sunday.”