March 30, 2005
Hi everybody at Cyclingnews,
Happy Easter to everyone, even if it's a little late. Here's my second diary installment. I see my old team-mate and friend Tom Danielson is writing a diary for Cyclingnews too - hi Tom!
Even if I didn't get to ride Sanremo this year, training and some other races have kept me really busy. After Tirreno-Adriatico, I trained at home in Veneto before I headed to the Coppi e Bartali race. Even if I haven't won so far this season, I'm finally feeling good. At Coppi e Bartali, I was fourth in a bunch sprint there, just behind riders who are real sprinters. I could have done even better but I probably started my sprint too far back. But finally my form is coming, and I'm riding like I want to. Especially on the climbs, I'm riding better even the steep ones where the gradient is over 10%.
After the Coppi e Bartali race, I had two light training days before a hard training session; a double day with specific speed training that should come in handy for the Giro della Fiandre [Your of Flanders-Ed. On Friday, I head to Belgium for the "race of the walls", those short, super-steep climbs on a Classic that I really love. That's a race!
In my last two participations in Fiandre, I wasn't much in evidence. It's the kind of race you need a lot of experience to figure out, or have an innate talent for the pavé like my team-mate Tom Boonen. I heard that Tom crashed during the first stage of De Panne, but luckily with no serious consequences, only three stitches on his left hand and some bruises.
On Sunday, our Quick.Step team will also have Paolo Bettini and Nick Nuyens. On paper, we're the team to beat. My role is to be there in all the key moments of the race and then see what happens. It's my time to show what I can do. At De Panne, Ballan won the first stage and congratulations to him. He's a guy I often train with and is a nice guy.
But now, if I want to keep training with him, I better do some too!!