After suffering a very untimely puncture on the descent of the Kwaremont in Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen, Liquigas' Luca Paolini is looking towards Gent-Wevelgem to make up for some of the opportunity lost.
The 29-year-old Milanese punctured just moments before Tom Boonen made the decisive attack, which was disappointing as Liquigas' 2006 recruit headed the peloton when the race made it to the first climbs, and he felt in great form. "Im sorry because the Ronde was very appealing to me and Ive been training for it since November," said Paolini. "However, when you ride on the hills you know physical fitness isnt everything; its also a matter of luck. This is a race of cruel charm," he continued, before adding, "Im going to get my revenge in Wednesdays Gent-Wevelgem."
Liquigas will line up with the same squad as last Sunday's Flanders race, with Stefano Zanini, Michael Albasini, Daniele Colli, Alberto Curtolo, Mauro Da Dalto, Marco Milesi, and Marco Righetto joining Paolini for the start in Gent. Dario Mariuzzo will manage the team. Paolini will sit out Paris-Roubaix (April 9), replaced by Nicola Loda - the remainder of the squad will remain the same for the 'hell of the north'. Paolini will instead focus on preparations for the Amstel Gold Race, where both he and Danilo Di Luca will be Liquigas' big guns.