Don't move a muscle and whatever you do, don't make a noise.
You moved! And you've woken the baby. Sorry, but you're joining me in a hospital in Luxembourg and that little thing wriggling around in the crib is my baby niece. It’s the one and only time I'm pleased to be in hospital and she’s the cutest thing I've never seen in my life. Her name is Leea, so of course it goes without saying that she’s a princess.
Weighing in at just 2.8kg she’s on the small side but she makes up for that in how cute she is. And of course she has two very proud parents in Frank and Martine. Additionally, little princess Leea was born on Frank’s 30th birthday, so there’s no excuse for ever forgetting her birthday.
I have to say, she’s a very quiet baby. Normally babies are chubby, and not that beautiful but Leea bucks the trend on both counts. You're probably wondering if her birth was meant to coincide with the Classics, but actually she’s a few weeks early and was meant to pop out on the 5th of May. However we're all delighted, including my folks, who have become grandparents for the first time.
My mum always wanted a little girl but with three big bruisers for sons she never had the chance to dress us in pink. Now she can dress Leea in pink whenever she wants.
The last 24 hours have been a bit of blur. Frank called me at 12:30pm and told me that the baby was on the way. I stayed up most of the night and he was calling me every thirty minutes with updates. He came back for breakfast, as a proud father but having had no sleep. We met with Laurent Didier and Jakob Fuglsang and trained for five hours later that day. Frank must have been so tired but he’s been on cloud nine all day. As soon as we got back from training he jumped in the car and went straight to the hospital.
Those of you wanting to know about my fitness before Amstel, I'm glad to report that I'm feeling good. I was up there in Pais Basque and compared to last year my results were better. After I pulled out of Catalunya due to illness I went back home and got my head together. I said to myself, if I want to be up there in the Classics I need to pull myself together and do some serious training.
And that’s exactly what I did. Five hour training rides in the pouring rain. It’s exactly what you need to do when you're coming up to a big goal.
Today we'll be traveling to Holland - volcano permitting - for Amstel. We'll be riding the last 80K of the race on Saturday and as you know it’s race I want to win. There are two cards to play of course, as Frank will be super motivated to race.
I said a few months ago that I'd like to win Amstel and that I'd like Frank to win Liege. Of course you can't have everything you want and there are some very strong riders preparing for the Ardennes but the team has two very strong cards to play with us both and we'll be up there in every race. But whatever happens, we've already had a huge victory with baby Leea, the biggest one we could ever imagine. Let’s see if we can win a race in her name...
Be quiet on your way out if you don't mind, she’s just fallen asleep.