Fabian Cancellara is the favourite to win the Tour of Flanders and he seems to know it.
Just like at last year's world championships in Mendrisio, he appears to on the form of his life, but in his home country of Switzerland he let the emotions of going for the world title get the better of him and ruin his tactics, but he said he has learned his lesson.
After his emphatic victory at e E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke last Saturday, his first major win in Belgium, has boasted his confidence for the Tour of Flanders, without affecting his vision of the race.
Cancellara knows he cannot win in a sprint but is convinced he can drop his rivals on Sunday, just as he dropped Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) in the finale at e E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke.
Cancellara has already won Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix and wants to add another monumental classic at the Tour of Flanders to his impressive palmares.
"I've been trying to win the Tour of Flanders for many years. I've always done something wrong up to now but I've always learned from my mistakes," he told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"After winning Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo, this is the one monument classic that I'm missing. Later I'll try and win Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Lombardy but first of all I want to win Flanders."
"I feel better than in previous years. I've already won a big race in Belgium and I'm really proud of that. What I did at Harelbeke was special - I saw that I can go with Boonen on the climbs and then drop him on the flat. At Flanders' we'll also have (Matti) Breschel and he's an important second card we can play at Saxo Bank."
Cancellara was sorry that Pozzato would not be able to ride due to illness but was glad it meant one less rival to follow during the race. According to Gazzetta, Cancellara told Pozzato he was the only rider he was scared of as the Italian left Belgium to recover at home after his stomach problems. However he knows the list of potential winners is especially long this year, with some dangerous outsiders to keep an eye.
"I considered him the number one favourite. Fortunately it means I'll have one less rider on Boonen's wheel to worry about. However the list is still long, including Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Doimo), who only at his second Tour of Flanders but who could be a threat if he gets in a break."