Filippo Pozzato missed repeating his 2007 win in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday in Gent, Belgium, due to a crash in the final 100 metres of the one-day race, won by Thor Hushovd.
"I would have won today," the Italian Katusha rider told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I started at 200 metres out and had passed Hushovd when [Sebastian] Langeveld moved and bumped my handlebars."
Langeveld apologised to Pozzato for the manoeuvre that came at the end of the 204.5-kilometre race. Pozzato was disappointed because he felt ready to challenge alongside favourite Tom Boonen and last year's winner Philippe Gilbert, which he claimed was harder than the edition he won two years ago.
Pozzato will seek revenge in the Eroica one-day race this Saturday in Siena, Italy. He will then have another chance in the Tirreno-Adriatico (winner in 2003) and the Milano-Sanremo (winner in 2006).
"Unfortunately victory at Het Volk [renamed Omloop Het Nieuwsblad this year - ed.] slipped away as it did in the Trofeo Laigueglia. I have confidence going into the coming races; I will win something of importance."
It will be the third edition of the Montepaschi Strade Bianche - Eroica Toscana. The race is held on le strade bianche (white gravel roads) roads in and around the Tuscan city of Siena. The Tirreno-Adriatico, March 11 to 17, comes in the next week as a lead-up for Milano-Sanremo, March 21.