I'm still pinching myself: fifth at my first go at Milan-San Remo! What an incredible feeling. Our team was staying 100m from the bottom of the Poggio in the week coming into the race and when we rode the climb on training rides it gave us goose bumps to imagine all the cameras, the fans and the atmosphere that would be there on race day – it was all we expected and so much more.
My training for the Classics has been going nicely to plan - I had been working with my coach Merijn Zeeman, to hit what we're calling an ‘impact period' and it seems that I'm right where I should be. I hadn't done any really long rides coming into the race – I think my last that was even approaching 300km was the Copenhagen World Championships, which I clocked at 280km racing.
I'd wanted to go out behind the car or scooter once more for a really long ride, but the racing had already started and then you need to make time to recover well, so in the end there was no time. To stay on top form now, I've closed my riding down a bit – there was nothing on Sunday, and we made just one hour's light training on Monday because now I have to concentrate on what races are still to come, starting with E3 on Friday and Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.
It's amazing to think that we're just getting into main part of the Classics season now and there are just four really big races to go. Het Volk [Het Nieuwsblad] seems like ages ago and soon there will be just Flanders and Paris-Roubaix to talk about. It makes you realise how few of these opportunities there are. And when there are few opportunities, it concentrates the competition and makes these races so, so tough – that's what I love about this time of year.
I haven't arrived in Belgium yet – I fly there on Thursday morning and will ride the roads that day. The 1t4i team is riding brilliantly together and to have three riders in the top 20 at San Remo shows just how keen we are to perform. For me personally, if anything, San Remo has made me even hungrier to post good results now. Gent-Wevelgem probably suits me more as a rider but I'm going to Belgium to race, so everything's a target. If the opportunity comes up in E3, I will not hold back. Anyway, there's a day to recover in between!