Italian Champion Filippo Pozzato returned to racing at the Scheldeprijs on Wednesday in Antwerp. A stomach virus last week forced him to miss the Tour of Flanders and placed doubt on this Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, where he finished second last year.

“I passed some bad days, I was definitely not feeling good. I was forced to watch Flanders on TV and I had a longing to be there,” Pozzato told Cycling Weekly.

“Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen two were flying, Cancellara above all. It was a great race, very selective and those who should have been there were there.”

Pozzato came down with a fever on Thursday and stayed in bed all day, only getting up to use the toilet. The next day, after consoling with team manager Andrei Tchmil, he renounced his dream to race and win Flanders.

After returning to his home in Monaco to rest, he returned today Belgium’s mid-week classic, the Scheldeprijs. He completed the 205 kilometres and finished 67th behind winner Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions).

“I did not think I would even finish today, instead, I was not going bad and the 205 kilometres were needed. What’s important right now is just to recover my strength ahead of Roubaix on Sunday.

“I am not that bad off and I can do something on Sunday.”

Pozzato will head out from the team Katusha’s hotel in Kortrijk tomorrow for a three-hour ride, part of it behind a motorbike. He will reconnoitre the Paris-Roubaix pavé sectors with the team on Friday.

“Am I a favourite? The favourites are the others, Cancellara and Boonen, but if I had the condition I had before then I would definitely be there. I will have to see if find the form that I had before.

“I may go well or I could fail, I have to see how my legs turn when we leave Sunday morning in Compiègne.”

Pozzato made the winning move of six in the Mons-en-Pévèle sector last year. He was blocked in the Camphin-en-Pévèle sector, though, when Juan Antonio Flecha crashed and took down Leif Hoste with him. Once Pozzato got through, he battled the final 16 kilometres solo to finish second in Roubaix velodrome.

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