With Tirreno-Adriatico out of the way, it's time for the countdown to Milan-San Remo and as you'd expect from an Italian and a former winner, I can't wait for Saturday.
I know some people think San Remo is boring because we ride for 300km and then everything happens in the last 20 minutes but that's like saying foreplay is boring. You can't have a great finale without foreplay!
On that subject, I've no problem admitting that I had to look up the word metrosexual on Google to know exactly what it means after Andy Schleck described me as 'a talented rider but with a metrosexual exterior' in his blog. Now I know what it means, I'm happy to admit that, yes, I am a metrosexual cyclist. I know some people find it funny that I want to look good on the bike but I don't care. Remember, only God can really judge me.
The guys at Cyclingnews have told me my first blog attracted more readers than any of the recent ones by Andy Schleck. That's a little victory for me but I hope even more people will be interested in what I've got to say after I win a big race. That's when things will get really interesting.
I hope I can win a big classic this Spring. I haven't won a race yet this season but that's because most of the races ended in bunch sprints. I'm not slow in a sprint but I've focused on working on my form. After finishing Tirreno-Adriatico, I'm confident I'll be near 100% for the classics and I'm where I want to be.
Now the important thing is to recover after Tirreno and get ready for Saturday. I got back to Monaco late on Tuesday night and then today I just did an hour of what we call 'scarico' in Italian. I basically just went for a spin to help my legs recover.
On Thursday I'll do about three hours with a lot of it behind a scooter to replicate the speed of San Remo and then head up to Milan. On Friday I'll go for another spin on my race bike to make sure everything is okay and to check we've gone for the right wheel and tyre combination. After that it's time to race.
I'm sure you want to know my prediction for the race but it's never easy to predict what will happen and the results at Tirreno don’t tell the full truth. For example Petacchi lost the final sprint to Boasson Hagen but it's one thing sprinting after 160km, it's another doing after 300km and the Cipressa and Poggio. I'm not doubting Boasson Hagen, he's classy and a huge talent, but to win Milan-San Remo you need to have 300km in your legs and I'm not sure if he's got it yet.
I studied my rivals at Tirreno and was impressed with the way Boonen and Bennati were climbing and sprinting. Tom was riding really, really well and I'm sure he'll make it over the Cipressa and Poggio this year. Cancellara also seemed to be coming into form. He kept well hidden at Tirreno but he could be there in the finale and ready to give it a go on the flat road before the finish. This time I'll be watching him if he goes, just like I'll be watching Philippe Gilbert and my mate Alessandro Ballan.
As ever, there are a lot mind games being played about who will attack on the Cipressa and Poggio and who will control the race. Last year we gave Cavendish a bit of an armchair ride during the whole race. I hope things will be different this year and that some real attacks will go, especially on the Poggio, where I got away in a move when I won in 2006. I might even go myself if nobody else moves. We've got to do something to get rid of as many sprinters as we can, especially guys like Cavendish and Petacchi, so we can then fight it out between us after the descent of the Poggio.
Cav has been getting a lot of media attention this year but unfortunately for him, it's for all the wrong reasons. Some people still think he's bluffing but you can see he was suffering in Tirreno. He tried to do his best but he's only raced half as much as everyone and so it's pretty impressive that he even finished Tirreno. You don’t need to be 100% to win Milan-San Remo, especially if you're as fast as Cavendish but even so, I don't think he'll be a threat this year.
People expect a lot from Cavendish after what's achieved in the last two years and especially the way he won Milan-San Remo last year but if he wants my advice, I'd tell him to ignore what people say. He's the one who has to look at himself in the mirror.
We clashed once but I've actually got a lot of respect for him, like hopefully he's got respect for me. We've got a lot in common, he's even a bit of a "metrosexual" like me.
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