"My moment of truth has arrived; here my account will be made," Davitamon-Lotto rider Wim Vanhuffel told Flemish newspapers HNB and HLN. The 27 year old has had free reign until now; no stress in the previous months although sickness often kept him out of the top results.
But Vanhuffel is not the man to start worrying now, and he keeps enjoying life to the full. "Some people question that, doubt my performances of last year. I laugh those doubts away. I could get really stressed. Certainly because some people dared to question my results of last year and spread rumours about the way I train and live. All those stories I've heard. Everybody seems to know everything about me but no-one comes and asks me to my face. Bizarre! They see me drinking a Leffe in a pub and question out loud if I look after myself well enough. But I laugh at all that. I know myself what is good and bad for me. I play my cards openly and I admit I need a beer now and again. Last year, I took half a crate of Leffe (beer) to the Giro! My answer? All that talk is bull."
Vanhuffel realises that time is running out. "There's certainly no lack of motivation. Otherwise I wouldn't have spontaneously offered to ride Amstel Gold last weekend. I didn't feel like doing those long training sessions; I'd rather race then. The team management was pleasantly surprised to get my request. I'm convinced I'm on schedule. In the Brabantse Pijl, I wanted but I couldn't. In the Fleche Wallonne, I'll have to anticipate things and not wait till the Mur de Huy. If I am still good on the côte de Bohissau, which is traditionally the judge, I won't hesitate."
"If things don't go the way they need to now; questions will be asked. That increases the pressure. Something is expected from me, that I repeat my strong Giro performance of last year (11th GC) and shine in the mountains. It would be good to do better. A stage win would be beautiful, top ten in GC perfect. For me, the Giro is still more important than the Tour. If the Giro isn't good, then I might salvage something in France. But it won't be easy. How will I digest that Giro? Will I be riding the Tour? I only want to think about all that afterwards, really.
"It wasn't that dramatic, was it?" Vanhuffel replied to a question of whether it was time to "save" to Davitamon-Lotto's bleak season. "Problem is: we are constantly compared to QuickStep. Not winning is losing. And that makes things by definition bad. But save? No, we just go for it. Now it's up to us!"