If you can't have good luck, make sure you don't have bad luck. That's my advice when it comes to the Classics after I had a few really unlucky episodes in the last week.
In E3 Harelbeke, Philippe Gilbert took second for us but my chain dropped and then I broke my wheel just after the Hotondberg. That meant that I had to chase for several kilometres. I came back just when the Gilbert group broke clear and well … as I've said before, these races are always the same. Once you start chasing the race is almost over for you. It's so hard to pull yourself back into position when strong group goes clear. These races, they're like trains that never stop moving, so once you get off there's no way of getting back on.
That said my form is there and I've been feeling good for the last few weeks. All that's missing is that little bit of luck, or least not having bad luck at the worst possible moments. What happened yesterday was just pure bad luck, nothing more, nothing less.
Going back a couple of weeks, I came into the Classics season with a few good results. I had top tens in the Opening weekend and Tirreno was a strong week for me and the team. Then we had Milan-San Remo but to be perfectly upfront with you, that race wasn't good for me. I overdid it on the Cipressa and never recovered. Later that night I watched the video footage of the race as part of the analysis process I go through, and it was clear that the pace was just too high for me. I was near the front for a long time but that climb finished me. C'est la vie!
But tomorrow is another race and the good thing about the Classics and racing at this period is that there's always another chance, always another opportunity. You can go to bed disappointed but in the morning, you can wake up and start all over again. That's what I'll do in the morning for Gent-Wevelgem. We've still got to have our team meeting, that's in a few minutes but lets see what happens there. The team has been riding well all season and we've produced some impressive results.
We had a podium in Milan-San Remo, then we had first and second in Dwars door Vlaanderen. We had second in E3 and Tom was eighth. We've been there in all races and riding well. We're strong so with the biggest races to come, that's a good sign. As we get closer to the bigger races, like Gent-Wevelgem, Flanders and Paris-Roubaix you can feel the excitement building and it's exactly the same for the riders as it is for the fans. Some feel pressure, but for me, I've been doing these races for a few years now. At E3 the crowds were big but you know that they're going to be bigger the closer we get to Flanders. It's the day that all of Belgium have been waiting for.
There were a few questions at the start of the year over leadership at the team but I think what we've shown so far is that we're together and one strong team. When Gilbert goes, we work for him, we cover his moves and when Lampaert won in Dwars door Vlaanderens the rest of the Quick-Step Floors riders played the team game. We covered moves, we chased the attacks, and made sure that the win was ours.
For me, I don't know which of the next few races suits me better. I've never been in the finales for them, so it's hard to say. Flanders is a really tough race with the climbs, while Roubaix is a different sort of difficulty with the peloton exploding again and again. After Omloop and E3, I know that I can be in contention and I'm making those small steps to progress. All that's missing is that bit of luck. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
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