The Spring Classics are in full swing. Right now everything in the cycling world is revolving around the traditional one-day races like the Tour de Flanders or Paris Roubaix. But they have not been the centre of attention for our Colombian escarabajos.
However there might be an exception as the classics become more and more hilly in Belgium’s Ardennes region, with the Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Sergio Henao plans to compete in all three, while Nairo Quintana has only confirmed his presence for the Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
28-year-old Henao mentioned his desire to win one of those spring races. He stands a chance in the Ardennes tryptic, as it
features short but numerous climbs. The races have long been the terrain of mountain specialists like Alejandro Valverde and Joaquin Rodríguez. Henao is all set to give them a run for their money.
Henao is certainly returning to top form. In this month’s Vuelta al País Vasco he was consistently up there with the best on all the climbs, only to be pipped to the post by Alberto Contador, who took the general classification victory on the final day. After a demanding six day race, the Antioquian lost his six second advantage in a decisive time trial, something that has happened to him many times before.
Nairo Quintana, said to be recovering from a flu virus that hit almost all of Team Movistar, took third place. This podium spot followed his victory a week earlier in the Volta a Catalunya, the important one-week spring race in Spain, where he beat Contador and Fabio Aru.
The escarabajos will certainly be spinning their wheels in the coming month. We should expect to hear a lot more from Fernando Gaviria, Colombia’s future in the mass sprint. We can also look forward to Henao trying to land a historical win for Colombia in the hills of the Netherlands and Belgium. And we will follow Nairo in his struggle in the Belgian hills before continuing his preparation for his main goal of the season, el sueño amarillo, the yellow jersey in the Tour de France.
By Arek Peryt