|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
News Feature, April 3, 2009
Flanders: Boonen wants face-off with Pozzato
By Bjorn Haake
Tom Boonen has a chance to do something even the great Eddy Merckx never managed, win a third Ronde van Vlaanderen. If he goes on to take victory in his home race, he will become only the fifth man to triple in the Belgian Classic.
There is one certain rider who could stand in his way, Italian Filippo Pozzato of team Katusha. Pozzato beat Boonen to take the E3 Prijs semi-classic on Saturday and on Tuesday, he won the first stage of the Driedaagse De Panne, which featured many of the Ronde's punishing climbs.
Boonen – a two-time Paris-Roubaix winner, multiple Tour de France stage winner and 2005 World Champion – met with the press Thursday in De Panne, Belgium, to talk about the course, the historical significance of the Tour of Flanders and 'Pippo' Pozzato.
Question: What is your training programme like until Sunday?
Q: It will be sunny on Sunday, but is it true what people say, that the rain brings out the best riders?
Q: Will you be 100 percent on Sunday?
Q: You've done pretty well lately, but missed out on victory in E3 Prijs. Given the choice, is there something you would have done differently?
"I needed to check how things are going. Now I am certain that I have the possibility to do a great final in the Ronde. Of course the others want to do that too. We will have to see who is there in the end."
Q: When does the stress of the course start? At the Molenberg?
"After that something happens every five minutes. You have to make sure it stays together and on all the little hills you have to just look out, look out, look out."
(See Cyclingnews' guide to Ronde's 2008 hellingen.)
Q: What's your favourite part of the course?
Pozzato "never attacks"
Q: Is your old teammate Filippo Pozzato is the top favourite for Sunday?
"He has a lot of talent, but he never takes the initiative to decide a race. He is always there, but he never attacks. I think that's how it's possible to beat him. He always has the legs, but not the head to say, 'OK, this is the moment.'
"We have to see, maybe he has changed, but I am not sure."
Q: What will be the tactic to win against riders like Pozzato and Heinrich Haussler?
Q: And if it comes to a sprint against Pozzato or Haussler?
"Haussler was in a 30-kilometre break in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but that's not the same as riding in the final of the Ronde."
Q: What do you think about Silence-Lotto, will they be a factor?
Q: You have 2008 winner Stijn Devolder and Sylvain Chavanel as teammates. If needed, would you work for them?
"[Chavanel] doesn't have the experience but he certainly has the legs and the form to be there."
Q: The Ronde without Paolo Bettini: is that one less companion or one less opponent?
Comparisons to the past
Q: Many people compare you to your 2005 year, what's your thought on that?
"I had the form last year to win the Ronde. But Devolder was away, so I was just covering moves. I also was good in Paris-Roubaix [which he won - ed.]"
Q: Do you have the same desire to win the race as you did five years ago?
Q: What does the race make so special, the parcours or the ambience?
Q: If you have to choose between the Ronde and the Worlds, what would it be?
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Nicolas Götz/www.sport-phot.com
Images by Tim Van Wichelen/www.cyclingview.be