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Blanco sprinter, Mark Renshaw (Blanco)
Blanco sprinter not keen to repeat frostbite from Milan-San Remo
Blanco's "big cards" for the Tour of Flanders warm-up are Lars Boom and Sep Vanmarcke but with the atrocious conditions of Milan-San Remo still all too fresh in Renshaw's mind, the 30-year-old is keeping one eye on the weather forecast.
"If it's like San Remo then it will be hard for me to be a factor," he admitted to Cyclingnews. "If we race in conditions like that again, then the organisers need to look at measures to protect the riders because what I saw on Sunday, they didn't really put it on TV... You saw pictures but it didn't give a true indication of how bad the problems were."
Snow and temperatures hovering around the zero degree mark are forecast for Gent-Wevelgem and given Renshaw has three fingers which are showing signs of frost bite, he is not keen for a repeat. He believes that the decision not to continue in Milan-San Remo made by Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step), a definite contender for E3 Harelbeke, was valid and could easily pay off in the form of a sixth victory in the semi-classic.
"That was a very smart move," Renshaw said. "It will be the same guys that are always around the mark - Cancellara, Boonen, Sagan, he'll get marked out again. He's shown that he's really on top of his game and people don't want to go to the finish with him."
A better 2013
Renshaw's season has appeared far more settled and assured than in 2012: he claimed two podiums at the Tour Down Under before taking just his second win as a designated sprint leader at the Clasica de Almeria in late February. Renshaw credits the increased support he has been given for the more consistent results sheet, but doesn't believe that too much has been altered year-on-year.
"I haven't done too much differently," he explained. "From last year it's followed on. The training that I did last year and the racing and the change in the role has maybe paid dividends a little bit more this year. I don't have big results to show but I'm consistently there and sooner and later that will pay off."
Renshaw believes that if he's given the opportunity that win could come at Scheldeprijs, but that is dependent on whether Theo Bos is also selected to race. After that, Renshaw will look to the Tour of Turkey, where he scored his first win for Rabobank in 2012. His own form has coincided with a rash of solid performances by the team, which has so far claimed 10 victories including Tom Slagter's overall win at the Tour Down Under, and 15 occasions where the team has featured on either side of the podium
"There's been a little bit of change in the team's structure and maybe the mentality over the off-season, the team tried to work a lot on that and the results at the start of the season changed the guy's mentality a lot," he said.
With the team still on the lookout for a sponsor to ensure their survival in a post-Rabobank world, the results of Renshaw and his teammates won't go astray, but he admits that management has put no additional pressure on the outfit to win races.
"It's not frustrating because for me I just get on and do my job," he explained. "It's not up to me to find the sponsor I only supply the results and the team's been doing that. I don't know too much about what's been happening behind the scenes but it wouldn't surprise me if they did have a sponsor and they didn't want to release it until later. Rumours get out and we haven't heard any rumours yet."