Mattan puts things straight

Nico Mattan (Davitamon-Lotto) leading the group last year

Nico Mattan (Davitamon-Lotto) leading the group last year (Image credit: Sirotti)

The controversial winner of last year's edition of Gent-Wevelgem wasn't on the start list for the Ronde van Vlaanderen last Sunday. Davitamon-Lotto's team management had left the eccentric Mattan at home - according to HNB, because they didn't appreciate Mattan going to a party after the E3 Prijs last week.

"I didn't see one reason not to be selected," Mattan countered in Sportwereld. "On the flat I could have helped Van Petegem. I have the experience.

"The team management knew that I needed the kilometres of Milan-San Remo for the Flemish races," he continued. "In the media I heard I wasn't selected. Then I had to read in an e-mail that I was expected to ride GP Rudy Dhaenens in Nevele. I was having some problems with my knee. There has to be more communication in this team, but we're on the right track.

"Last Sunday I rode to Ichtegem, the village of the Ronde, on the bike. And after that I got lost somewhere deep in the West Flanders. I felt like crap," a rather annoyed Mattan told the Belgian press. "But let's keep things positive: I have congratulated Herman Frison, Allan Peiper and Hendrik Redant on Thursday afternoon for finally saying to my face that I don't fit in. It was the first time in the last year and a half."

Mattan doesn't consider himself the team leader at Gent-Wevelgem this year, although this apparently has nothing to do with his disagreements with the team management. "I wasn't [the team leader] last year either," he said. "I'm not someone who can finish things off. Everything starts and ends with the legs. If I feel good than I'll aim for top three, but it's not because you're racing on your training parcours that you are in for the win. I'm fifteen percent below the level I was at last year."

Still, the Davitamon-Lotto rider believes that it's necessary to attack the World champion Tom Boonen to at least try and go for victory. "Personally I think that everyone is accepting Boonen's supremacy too easily," Mattan added. "A good Mattan wages war on flat roads, and they should all do that. Attack like crazy, stir things up, even if it doesn't guarantee a win."

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