Today Tom Boonen ran reconnaissance on the 2010 Ronde Van Vlaanderen route. The Belgian champion and his team mates Kevin De Weert, Maarten Wynants, Carlos Barredo and Sylvain Chavanel pedalled for about 5 hours and covered close to 150 kilometres from Kruishoutem to Ninove on a day marked by strong wind and scattered showers.
"This year the route has changed - explains Tom Boonen -. That's why I wanted to pedal on the course at least once before Sunday, to see if there are any hidden dangers. I have to say, it was quite useful. The changes will affect the aspect of the race somewhat, especially in the kilometres immediately after the Taaienberg and the Eikenberg. On the old route there was still a possibility to re-enter after these two walls, the characteristics of the course allowed for it. Now there are new stretches in cobblestone with very narrow streets, after which you face the Molenberg, which has been moved from 1st to 10th challenge of the day to make the race even harder and more selective. It's going to be a discriminating race where the best are going to have to stay ahead. The road terrain and the cobblestones are in good condition. We'll have to keep an eye on the weather in the upcoming days. In case of rain some stretches will definitely become more challenging and wind could be a decisive factor, as it has been in the past."
Then Boonen reflected on his adversaries. "There are some riders who already proved their fitness and their attitude towards cobblestones last weekend, like Cancellara, Flecha and Breschel. But I can't forget Pozzato, who is always very competitive in these races and is pedalling quite strongly, or Glibert, who's always able to come up with important moves. There are also quite a few strong collectives like team Rabobank and Saxo Bank that could play an important role in the economy of the race. It's definitely going to be interesting and open. On our part, we're going to try to give it our all to try and win this marvellous race once again. The weight of the predictions? No, they don't scare me. We've been among the favourites in these races for quite some time now. We're used to riding under pressure and in the last few years Devolder and I have managed to win no less than 4 times."