Joaquim Rodriguez was bitterly disappointed to miss out at Liege-Bastogne-Liege last year, outsprinted by Dan Martin at the death, with Martin profiting from having a team-mate in the final break – a luxury Purito didn’t enjoy.
However, Rodriguez’s crash at the Amstel Gold Race is the thing most likely to hamper his chances of bettering last year’s second place.
Rodriguez was also out of contention at La Fleche Wallonne after returning to the back of the bunch just as the attacks started at the front. But if he has the legs, Rodriguez is a match for anyone on the type of steep climbs that little the Ardennes – as he has proved so often.
A sprint finish will favour his rivals, but with plenty of the lumpy stuff preceding the finish on which to seize the initiative, Rodriguez will have plenty up his sleeve – if fit – on Sunday.