No distractions for me ahead of Milan-San Remo
I've just checked into the team hotel in Milan and I'm about to have dinner with the guys. It's hard for me to put into words how I'm feeling right now but it's a mix of confidence, excitement and if I'm honest, trepidation.
Milan-San Remo, the first Classic and Monument of the season is a race that's really dear to my heart and one that I desperately want to win. As soon as I got home from Paris-Nice last week I started concentrating 100 per cent towards Saturday's race. It meant taking care of my body, sleeping right, training right, eating right and not having any distractions. Even my poor girlfriend had to take a back seat over the last few days because for me, Milan-San Remo, as I said, is just a special race that means so much to me.
In the last few days I've watched videos of all the different outcomes and finishes we've seen over the years. From bunch sprints, to late attacks, moves on the Poggio to even suicide early breaks. This race has seen it all but I'm confident that I can feature in it and put in a strong performance. That's easy to say, I know, but I'm feeling strong right now and even though I'm not going to say I'm as strong as I was in 2009, my form is very good.
The only thing I'm worried out is my position on Saturday, both on the climbs and in the sprint finish – should the race end that way. I need my team to help me and to make sure I'm not boxed in but I'm really confident.
A lot of people are talking about this coming down to a sprint and there's a good chance of that happening but it's worth remember that it's a very different beast to a typical bunch gallop in a stage race. The main feature is the sheer distance. This isn't 190kms it's 290 and once you start ticking over the 200 mark guys really start to die and lose their power, but the longer the race the better I used to feel. That used to be my thing. Obviously in the last few years I've not had it in the Classics but this time around I've had the racing, I got through the Vuelta last year and it's all helped.
I'm going to have to watch out for a number of riders too. I'm not that worried about Cav. The race is going to be that hard, you just have to look how Liquigas rode in San Remo, where they were on fire, and there are other teams that won't want it to be a sprint so they'll make it hard. On the other hand he's won the race, so it's not like he can't do it, but I'm more worried about riders other than him.
If I had to pick favourites it would be Boonen, Cancellara and Sagan. But it all depends on how the race goes.
Tyler and I are both here and we both want to have a good race.
And post-race the new/old favourite will be my girlfriend again.
See you in San Remo.