Pozzato convinced he can challenge in the Tour of Flanders
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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pozzato convinced he can challenge in the Tour of Flanders

by Conal Andrews at 9:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
 

Filippo PozzatoLast year Filippo Pozzato was clearly one of the strongest riders in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, or Tour of Flanders, but some negative tactics saw him mark Tom Boonen very closely and allow the latter’s team-mate Stijn Devolder to race away for a repeat win.

Pozzato has once again shown good form in the run-up to the race, and believes that he will be very much in the running this weekend.

“With Vandenbergh, Ivanov and I, we have a wonderful team,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “With the E3 Prijs and a few days of De Panne in the legs, you're ready for anything. If everybody is at their best, on Sunday I will not be alone. Don’t worry, I have a wonderful team.

"Stijn Vandenbergh knows the region by heart. Ivanov has ridden it for years. On Sunday we can play off each other like Boonen and [Stijn] Devolder."

Pozzato suggests that if Ivanov was stronger last year, it could have made all the difference in helping Katusha counter Devolder’s challenge. He clearly believes that things will be different this time around.

The Italian road race champion was one of the strongest in Milan-San Remo but, as he often does, he left his attack too late to make a difference. He jumped just seconds from the top of the Poggio, and thus did not have anything like the sort of lead he needed for the descent. He also tried again after the downhill, but the sprinters’ teams had little problems in hauling him back.

Clearly a rider of class, he was faulted last year for following Boonen in Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, rather than taking his own initiative and being more aggressive.

The hope is that this time around, he will show more determination and dig in, making his own chances. Either way, he said that he was not bothered by the criticism he got last year from the Flemish fans. “I’ve left it all behind me,” he said. “And Tom is a friend.”

Pozzato finished fourth in the E3 Prijs on Saturday, leading in a chase group behind the winner Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), Boonen and Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky). He nearly got across to the leaders but their collective efforts prevented him from joining on the run-in to the finish.

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