Friday 30 March 2012 - 19:43

Team Holds Ronde van Vlaanderen Press Conference

Team Holds Ronde van Vlaanderen Press Conference

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team hosted a Ronde van Vlaanderen press conference on Friday, featuring a plethora of journalists from all over the world. The attendance left no doubt about the prestige of the race on Sunday.

Wilfried Peeters began the conference by informing the media of the team selection: Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel, Dries Devenyns, Nikolas Maes, Gert Steegmans, Niki Terpstra, Matteo Trentin and Stijn Vandenbergh.

"We waited until now because Vandenbergh was a little sick after the race on Sunday," Peeters said. "We preferred to wait to give the team a bit, but now the team is ready."

Boonen, Chavanel and Terpstra were all at the press conference. Boonen said he is relaxed and ready for Ronde van Vlaanderen.

"After my victories at E3 Prijs and Gent-Wevelgem the first part of the season, it's already good," Boonen said. "But on Saturday we will start from zero. Ronde van Vlaanderen is a completely different course. Even the tradition of the race, it's important. We have to try and do our best, always."

The team performed course recon earlier in the week, and Boonen said he is unsure if the new course is more difficult, or easier, than the 2011 course.

"I don't exactly know how the race will be," Boonen said. "It's the first time we've raced on the parcours. I can't say if this is better than last year. We will see the last night after the race. For sure it will be a fight — man against man or small group finish. We have a great team, but with a race like that a great team does not guarantee success. We have to be ready to fight each meter and try and get victory at the finish line."

As far as favorites go, Boonen knew the media was curious about his thoughts on Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Nissan).

"I know it's an item talking about me and Fabian," Boonen said. "I never rode a race to beat somebody else by themselves, but to win. For Fabian it will be the same. Between us there is a mutual respect. We are always fighting in such a way. We don't have to forget there are a lot of other riders that can be in the final. Pozzato or Sagan. It's not only a race between me and Fabian but an important race for everybody."

Terpstra said he is happy just to race with the team after a crash last season in De Panne, which kept him off the 2011 Ronde van Vlaanderen team selection.

" Now for me it's a big goal to be there," Terpstra said. "I will do my best to help Tom and the team and to be important in the team strategy for the race on Sunday."

Chavanel told the media Boonen is the team captain for Sunday, despite his strong performance over the past week at KBC-Driedaagse De Panne -Koksijde

"I still have a very good role," Chavanel said. "Today we did another trip around the last lap of the course, me and Terpstra. We did one lap by car and another lap by bike. We really did all that we can do to be 100 percent on Sunday. We now only need to recover and stay relaxed, and wait for the race on Sunday. I am sure it will be a great show for everybody."

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