Tom Boonen dominated the Tirreno-Adriatico sprint finish yesterday in Montecatini Terme, Italy, beating Mark Cavendish to the line by nine minutes. Off the podium, however, he confirmed that he thinks the British sprinter is able to win Milan-San Remo next Saturday.
“Do I still need to worry about him for San Remo? Yes.”
Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) lost contact with the main field on the second of four finishing circuits around the Tuscan spa city. Boonen kept contact, told his Quick Step to relax because he had latched on to Daniele Bennati’s Liquigas train in the last kilometres.
Boonen is not sure if this same tactic will work in San Remo, or if the attackers, like Philippe Gilbert and Filippo Pozzato, will spoil the day.
“It is a little strange this year because at the start of the season everyone thought that Columbia would work all day, every day. Cavendish is not in great form yet and this changes the situation a little bit,” continued Boonen.
“Each and every team will be trying to make the race hard, starting from Le Mànie, to make the selection. It won’t be easy to arrive at the finish with a sprint. With San Remo, it’s not possible to say how the course will be made.”
Cavendish was not the only sprinter who suffered on the circuit yesterday. Alessandro Petacchi, 2005 Milan-San Remo winner, lost contact, but still finished in the same time as Boonen.
Petacchi crashed Monday in training, requiring five stitches on his chin. Cavendish, on the other hand, had to delay his season’s preparations due to tooth problems.
“I would rather have had Cavendish’s problem,” Petacchi told Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It is difficult to say about to Petacchi,” continued Boonen. “He crashed two days before the race [Tirreno]. I think he will race this week easy. He is always dangerous in a sprint.
“Cavendish, as well. He was not in the best condition last year at this race but then won San Remo. We are still a way off, a week and a half away.”