Sporza have rated the chances of the big names for the forthcoming Ardennes classics, and Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) has been given just one star out of three in their rating system.

The three top favourites for the Ardennes races according to the Belgian website are Joaquim Rodriguez (Team Katusha), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team).

Gilbert has won Amstel three times previously aswell as taking victories in both Fleche Wallonne and Liege. He has shown that he is coming into good form at the right time, by taking 3rd in Brabantse Pijl earlier this week.

Valverde has also shown good form this season, taking second in the Tour of Catalonia. He has also had multiple victories in the Ardennes. Rodriguez meanwhile, won the Tour of the Basque Country earlier this month, in addition to taking stage wins in the race.

Next in the rankings behind the above trio are World Champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx-Quick Step), Sergio Henao (Team Sky), Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEDGE), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) who have been given two out of three stars. Henao, Kwiatkowski, Quintana and Costa all finished in the top ten in the recent Tour of the Basque Country.

Alongside Martin in being given just one out of three stars are Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing). Martin has not taken any victories this season and his best performance to-date is 10th in Catalonia, as well as some high stage placings. However, he has won Liege before and has come close to victory in Fleche a number of times, so it seems surprising that he’s well down the list of favourites. However, this may stand in his favour if fellow competitors are also disregarding his chances.


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