By Brecht Decaluwé in Treviso
The top favourite to win the elite men's race on Sunday is Dutch champion Lars Boom. While Boom remains calm but confident in that role and claims he would be happy with a top-five result, his team-mates aren't feeling too good.
Veteran Richard Groenendaal, world champion in Sint-Michielsgestel 2000, has doubts over his form. "Like I feel now, it doesn't make sense to start on Sunday," Groenendaal said. The 36 year-old Dutchman explained he came over to Italy with a virus in his blood, but felt better on Thursday. The first training on Friday felt worse than expected though.
"I thought I was better. After an effort on the bike, riding about five laps, the sensations aren't promising. I'm mainly bothered stomach aches, and I'll have to wait to see how the situation develops," Groenendaal said after the official training on Friday afternoon. The experienced rider is named in the official line-up of the Dutch team, but Groenendaal will decide on his participation on Saturday evening or Sunday morning.
Compatriot Gerben De Knegt has had a troubled season, and is mainly aiming for a good race in Treviso. "My season was spoiled by sore knees," De Knegt told Cyclingnews. "I feel that I can follow the best riders, but I can't do it whole race long."
Nevertheless, De Knegt's contract has recently been extended so the Dutchman will continue to feature in his Rabobank outfit with big guns Sven Nys and Boom in the 2008-2009 season.
Thijs Al, Wilant Van Gils and Maarten Nijland are the other participants in the six-man Dutch selection.