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Moser downplays chances at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Cannondale rider won Strade Bianche in March but has struggled since then

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LIÈGE, Belgium (VN) — Moreno Moser (Cannondale) heads to Liège-Bastogne-Liège tomorrow with a grim outlook. He is unable to win, he said, which is regretful given his hopes for this race earlier in the year.

“There will be space for all of us tomorrow, but to aim for the win will be hard given my recent results,” Moser said on Saturday at the team presentation. “We’ll have our chance to shape the race. For sure, we won’t race with our heads down, will go and try to make ourselves felt, but I’m not starting with the idea of winning.”

‘I expected more from myself’

Moreno Moser, the nephew of former pro Francesco Moser, attended the team presentation in Liège today. His dark glasses helped hide the 22-year-old’s disappointment.

Moser hoped to help teammate Peter Sagan in the Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne. Instead, he DNF’d at Amstel and finished 143rd at Flèche, more than 10 minutes behind race winner Daniel Moreno (Katusha). With Sagan sitting out Liège, Moser wanted to make a run at winning. However, he had to re-adjust his sights.

“No, it’s not like it’s the pressure of not having Sagan,” Moser said. “For sure, it’s not that way now because I’m not even starting with the idea of winning the race. If I had ridden better in Amstel and Flèche then I’d have more pressure on me.

“I expected more from myself. I’m tired when it comes to the final. I’m looking for the reason. I’m young and I have few reference points. We are trying to understand where we made a mistake so that we can learn from it in the next years.

“I’m calm. Like I said, I need goals, otherwise I can’t do it. I’ve pretty much already written off this classics campaign. I’m already thinking to the next races.”

‘The hardest one-day race’

Moser only joined the professional ranks last year, signing with Cannondale for the 2012 season. He immediately won, triumphing in the one-day Italian classic Trofeo Laigueglia and in the Tour of Poland.

He confirmed his talent this year in Strade Bianche, soloing to victory after breaking away on the final climb. Riders like Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) were left in his wake.

With the classics written off, however, Moser points toward the Tour de Romandie and Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt next before taking a break.

During his time off, he will sit down with trainer Paolo Slongo and analyze what went wrong. Liège-Bastogne-Liège, after all, is one of his dream races.

“Liège, Amstel, Flèche … I think all three suit me,” he said. “Liège is special because it’s so hard, maybe the hardest one-day race given its distance and repetition of climbs. You can be going well one minute, but then maybe 10 kilometers later, your lights go out.

“You need experience, but I think the legs count more. It’s the legs. Everyone knows these races, anyway. Like Amstel, it comes down to Cauberg. Or Flèche, which is decided on the Mur de Huy. Everyone talks and talks, but it’s not that difficult. Maybe Liège is the hardest tactically.

“But jeez, I really had hoped to do something already this year. Maybe it’s been my training. I don’t know. I think that good form is a delicate balance between recuperation and training. I’ll have to talk it over with Slongo.”

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