Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) is continuing his return to full fitness after an off-season disrupted by illness and surgery.
The multiple Tour de France stage winner was hit by a lung infection over the winter, and in January had surgery to remove his gallbladder.
"It's not been great but I know why," he told Cyclingnews when asked about his form at Tirreno-Adriatico.
"I'm not stressed about it and I know it's not nice when I'm not where I want to be."
Boasson Hagen will have raced 15 days this season by the time Tirreno-Adriatico concludes on Tuesday. In that time he has been playing catch up due to his off-season woes.
He started his 2018 campaign at the Volta ao Algarve and made it through the race despite not posting any headline results. He failed to finish the races during Belgium's 'opening weekend' and did not start Strade Bianche at the turn of March. Tirreno-Adriatico has provided him with a steady block of miles and his team have not put any pressure on him to provide results while he finds his feet.
"I was sick before the gallbladder, with a lung infection, so it basically meant that there wasn't a lot of training in December," the Norwegian told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 6.
"The lung infection was not related to the gallbladder but they seemed to come one after the other. Bad timing, I guess."
With Milan-San Remo on his programme – along with a full schedule of races in Belgium and France – Boasson Hagen is hoping to reach a high level in time but he is experienced enough to know that he needs to remain realistic. The likes of Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet have not had to go through keyhole surgery over the winter and are a lot closer to their peak form.
"It takes time to come back to your full level. I missed nearly a whole month of good training. I hope to be up there in the Classics and it's getting better with each day of racing but it's something that just takes time," he said. "
"I'll do all the [ed. cobbled classics] races and Algarve was my first race back. It was pretty hard but so too were the opening weekend races. It's a general thing, I'm missing that little bit but soon I'll be back in full shape."
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