Stijn Devolder: "Boonen should be scared of Cancellara."
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stijn Devolder: "Boonen should be scared of Cancellara."

by Jered Gruber at 9:58 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Belgian champion can at least count on good form, Leukemans, and his team come Sunday

Before the start of the second stage of the Three Days of De Panne in Oudenaarde, Vacansoleil captain, Stijn Devolder, met with the press to discuss his feelings on the E3, his preparations, and one name in particular: Fabian Cancellara.

Devolder admits that he was blown away by the defending Ronde van Vlaanderen champion in Saturday's E3 Prijs Vlaanderen.

"That's the most intense thing I've seen in my career," said the Belgian to Sporza and other news sources. "It was certainly not the opposition at the E3. He has beaten me speechless. All the riders who were at the front rubbed their eyes. It took me a day to get my head around it."

Those are strong words from a rider who has won his nation's biggest race on two consecutive occasions, and it's certainly not a good omen for anyone not named Cancellara hoping to add their name to the list of winners on Sunday.

Devolder might have a small step ahead of the riders that did not race on Saturday at the E3. At least he and the rest of his vanquished peers can say they're ready for the Red Hammer. Tom Boonen, Garmin-Cervelo, Philippe Gilbert, and the rest of the favorites, however, might get a surprise. Devolder delivers an ominous warning.

"Tom Boonen and the others who were not there should be scared of when he will flex his muscles in the Ronde. It was even more overwhelming that Roubaix and the Ronde last year."

Devolder, however, doesn't take on all the responsibility of attempting to solve a problem like Fabian.

He notes frankly: "Everyone has a name in their head, and that's Cancellara. He's not only my problem. Everyone knows, including Cancellara. We will have to ride very fast."

Luckily for Devolder, Vacansoleil, and the viewing public, there will be almost two hundred other riders starting in Brugge on Sunday who will all be trying to figure out a way to bring down the King.

Looking back at the work he has done so far this year, the Belgian Champion is content.

"My preparation has been done, I must be ready."

With his form in the right place, Devolder looks to his team and his co-captain.

"In the Ronde, I can count on a strong team and Björn Leukemans. We must wait to talk about tactics though. You never realize how the legs will be until you're racing."

Despite a rough Saturday, Devolder can at least lean on his own solid form as well as his team's might. Not much will be different than in years past for the rider who performs best in his own country: he'll be an outside chance for the win. With all eyes on Cancellara, perhaps Devolder will get yet another opportunity to take on the role of Joker and ride home solo for his third win in Meerbeke? It's certainly not out of the question, and that might be exactly what the former teammate of Tom Boonen is thinking of.


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