After two top-10 individual performances at Tirreno-Adriatico, Thor Hushovd's long-time trainer Atle Kvålsvoll believes that his charge is well on the way for a return to top form over the cobbled classics, specifically Paris-Roubaix.
"Thor is solid, but he still has more improvements to make," Kvålsvoll told Procycling.no
Hushovd opened his account at the Tour du Haut Var last month, scoring his first win since September 14, 2011, where he won stage 4 at the Tour of Britain. 2012 was a frustrating season for the new BMC recruit who struggled with a virus and muscle inflammation which restricted his calendar to just 28 race days.
After Tirreno-Adriatico concludes today, Hushovd will race Milan-Sanremo on Sunday where he's finished third twice (2005 and 2009). BMC's provisional line-up for La Primavera so far includes Hushovd, Cadel Evans, Greg Van Avermaet and another rider who has finished twice on the podium, Philippe Gilbert (2008, 2011).
Kvålsvoll is optimistic that Hushovd could again finish on the podium.
"I think Thor is one of those who may be fighting in the front group, especially considering how well he rides on the hilly days. It is also important to remember that there is a big difference between individual stages and a one-day classic.
"The plan is to peak for maximum form at Paris-Roubaix," he continued. "But now Hushovd is so strong that there should be no problem to sit in the final, even though he might lack a little to be absolutely on top form. If the body is normal, he should be completely up front."