By Gregor Brown in Harelbeke, Belgium
Filippo Pozzato moved himself onto the list of top favourites for the upcoming Ronde van Vlaanderen with a strong sprint win in the E3 Prijs in Harelbeke, Belgium this weekend. He took the victory over the race's number one favourite, Tom Boonen, after 208 kilometres of racing. As his first win in over a year, it is a sign of good things to come for the Italian of Team Katusha.
Pozzato's victory came after he followed an attack by Boonen on the Knokteberg climb at 25km to go, and along with Maxim Iglinsky (Astana) formed a three-man breakaway that made it all the way to the finish line.
Pozzato manoeuvred Boonen to the front in the final 500 metres to position for the sprint and then out-gunned his rival on the Gentsestraat finishing straight to mark his first win since the Giro della Provincia di Grosseto in February 2008.
E3 Prijs, March 28
Q: What is the meaning of this race win, two years since your Het Volk victory in Belgium?
FP: "I am happy, but I am sorry for Boonen because we are great friends. I know that in this period am going well, but I have not been able to win. Today was hard too, to ride against the teams like Cervélo, Rabobank and Quick Step.
"It was good when Tom went on the Knokteberg, that gave me a chance and I went with him. I know that I could win. I know I am one of the favourites, but sometimes I make mistakes."