By Gregor Brown in Harelbeke, Belgium
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) is ready to put Milano-Sanremo and E3 Prijs behind him for his 'home' Classics of Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix. The Belgium, second in a tight sprint with Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) in Saturday's E3 Prijs in Harelbeke, Belgium, is ready for next week's big ones.
"For me they are different races so it does not matter - Sanremo is Sanremo," said the 2005 World Champion to Cyclingnews. "It is so different here, and this is what I like."
Boonen wanted to take Milano-Sanremo to add to an already rich palmarès that includes two editions each of the Ronde (2005 and 2006) and Roubaix (2005 and 2008). He blamed his 15th place on his failure to drink and eat enough in cycling's longest one-day Classic.
"My condition was good in Sanremo, but I probably lost the race due to my own fault. I was so nervous and I did not drink enough. You don't feel it, but when you do feel it, that is when your race is over.
"Wednesday's Dwars door Vlaanderen was a good test. My condition is increasing, like every year, right on time."
Boonen formed the winning move of three in the E3 Prijs with 25 kilometres remaining. The three men entered the final two kilometres with 54 seconds, but Pozzato out-smarted his former teammate.
"My condition is good for Flanders. The only thing is that I lack a little bit of explosiveness. When it is cold I have the power, but not the explosiveness."
Boonen is a four-time winner of E3 Prijs. He is the only rider to have four consecutive wins and ties with Rik van Looy as the rider with the most wins in the race's history.