I really should get packing. My flight from my home in Germany is in a few hours and there’s a lot to do. And this is going to be a big weekend for me and the boys at Garmin-Barracuda. It’s the start of the Belgium road season with Omloop on Saturday and Kuurne on Sunday. I’ll be racing Omloop and I’m really looking forward to it.
First off I’m going there to win. And secondly it’s my birthday so there’s a real incentive to head to the race and kick some arse. I’ve gone well there in the past. In 2009 I was in a late break that was just caught and in 2010 I was in good form and made the podium. That’s the kind of form and performance I want to show this weekend.
I face a lot of questions about whether I can return to that level of form, the form that I was in during the 2009 season, and especially the Classics.
It’s hard to say. What happened in 2009, especially with the team at the time, Cervelo, was really special. Sometimes I watch it on TV or Youtube and they way we rode, we had something really special going on.
That was once I a lifetime form for me personally too. When I think about how I was racing back then, sometimes I was mucking around but if I had that form again I would just wait and attack in the right moment. If I had that form again it would be amazing but it’s something I’m working towards, although I know it’s going to be a difficult.
Despite my optimism for the weekend I’ve had a rough couple of weeks with illness. I went to Australia for nationals and the Tour Down Under and I got sick when I was back. Then a few weeks ago we rode recon over the new Flanders route and I picked up another cold. I don’t normally get sick but I think it’s from shifting from the warmth of Australia to the cold snap here.
I’m glad I went to Australia though. As an Australian hoping to compete at the London Games this summer I had to take part in the nationals back home. There was also a shadow squad for the Games so I had a few fittings for clothing and there was a bit of paperwork to fill out. All worth it though.
Back to my form, like I said, I’m heading into the weekend wanting to win on Saturday. My form isn’t at its peak but Omloop can be a weird race. It can end in a sprint and looking at the weather I think there’s a good chance of that happening again. I don’t necessarily want that to happen and if I’m feeling strong I’ll attack.
A lot will probably depend on the condition of some of the big guns like Boonen and Gilbert because if they want to rip it apart on the hills they can put a lot of rider under pressure.
Either way, I’d better stop looking at Youtube clips, get packing and get myself to Gent. I’ve got a race to win and birthday to celebrate.