Paris-Nice: Second on 1st stage2014-03-09
A few more centimeters and a little bit more oomph, and I could have won the first stage of Paris-Nice. But with my training pause I can live with the second place behind Nacer Bouhanni. I didn't really feel totally fit today. You just need a little time to make the transition from training to racing modus. It was a good stage to get back into action. At first it wasn't particularly fast and the profile wasn't too difficult. But the race was very nervous and there were lots of crashes. Fortunately we all came through fine.
In the end we lost touch with one another and we had to sacrifice Koen, in order to bring me in any kind of a good position for the finale. I was on my own for the last 500 meters, and the sprint actually went quite well. Bouhanni was just more explosive and a little more aggressive. We bumped into each other trying to get into position. A little wrangling, nothing more. But I pulled back – after all, with San Remo coming up in a week, I am not going to risk everything now.
By the way, I had two doping controls today. That makes three within a week. This morning was a blood test and then a urine test after the stage. You can tell that the Classics are approaching and that the larger group of favorite riders are coming more in focus.
Tomorrow and the day after we will try again.We have analyzed the small mistakes we made. We simply have to believe in ourselves and have trust in what we can do. Then maybe it will work out with the top podium step.