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Thor Hushovd (Cérvelo Test Team) began his 2010 season at the Volta ao Algarve.
Illness hampers defending champ's training
Despite losing valuable training time due to illness Thor Hushovd will defend his title in this year's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday. Hushovd has been struck down by three colds this season and heads into the weekend's double of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne knowing that repeating his 2009 victory will be a long shot.
However, the Norwegian has targeted Paris-Roubaix as his number one spring goal and claimed that Cervélo TestTeam is one of the best, if not the best, Classics teams.
Hushovd himself has struggled with form and fitness, whereas last year he won Cervélo's first ever race in the Tour of California and backed that up with a sprint win in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
"I've lost too much training to fight for the win but if I'm there for the sprint anything can happen. We have four or five guys that can win this race," Hushovd told Cyclingnews from the team's Classics base in Gent.
"I'm going to ride, though. I've trained all winter but I lost a few days to illness at the training camp in Portugal and had nine days off the bike. That's a really long time and I lost form from that. I have to fight to get back that good feeling.
"I just hope to finish both races so that I've got two hard races in my legs. That's my only goal."
Cervélo will line up with Heinrich Haussler, Andreas Klier, Roger Hammond and Martin Reimer in its ranks and Hushovd believes that the depth and team ethos mean that any rider could potentially come away with a win this weekend.
"I think we have the strongest Classics team. Perhaps not on a one-on-one basis but as a group we are one of the strongest. We saw that last year, we were always there. As a group we just go out there to have fun and we don't work for just one leader. Everyone has their chance. We race to win as a team," he said.