Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen will be Davitamon-Lotto's leader at this Saturday's Milan-San Remo, especially after the withdrawal of Tom Steels and Peter Van Petegem. McEwen crashed during the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico and didn't finish, but maintains that his bruises and abrasions won't effect him too badly on Saturday.
"I've experienced worse," he told Het Nieuwsblad. "Last year in the Tour I got over the Alps, the Massif Central, and the Pyrenees with a broken back and scraped buttocks. So I should be able to ride from Milan to San Remo, shouldn't I? Besides, I get a 250 kilometre warmup on Saturday."
Although McEwen will not have fully recovered by Saturday, he hopes to be a contender. "It now depends on the recovery, how the battered muscles feel on Saturday."
Before his crash, McEwen said that he was gradually improving during Tirreno-Adriatico. "The problem is not the climbs by themselves. The Cipressa and certainly the Poggio aren't steep, but they are ridden so incredibly fast. Also on the descents it's constant braking and then accelerating. I saw Petacchi, Hondo and Freire climbing well. I don't think I have to do that on Saturday. In my opinion, there's no prize for the quickest time up the Poggio, the only thing that counts is the order at the finish."