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Lampre/Fondital's Alessandro Ballan Press Conference
By Karen Lambrecht
Date: 4/7/2007
Lampre/Fondital's Alessandro Ballan Press Conference

Lampre/Fondital's Alessandro Ballan Press Conference
In Kortrijk, Alessandro Ballan talked to the Belgian (and Italian) press about his expectations about the Tour of Flanders, his victory in the 3 days of De Panne-Koksijde and lots more.

Press conference Daniele Benatti and Alessandro Ballan      Photo c. Karen Lambrecht

About his victory in the 3 days of De Panne-Koksijde…
Two years ago I won the first stage in Zottegem. I wore the jersey till the last day and lost it for a few seconds. This year’s victory is the confirmation of my good condition. When I compare it with last year, I miss something, not much. Something is wanted still, rhythm. I hope I will be 100 % on Sunday. And otherwise there’s Paris-Roubaix.
I gave everything I had in the time trial. Other favourites for the Tour of Flanders didn’t, because they didn’t have a chance in the final ranking. This year I don’t come to Belgium to obtain second or third places, but to win.

Alessandro on the podium at 3 days of Panne. Photo c. Karen Lambrecht

About his team, the other teams and favourites…
We have a strong team for the Classics. We did a reconnoitered the course: Oude Kwaremont, Patersberg, … We looked the places where it can happen. Daniele Bennati is strong and quick, the course suites him. Naturally we aren’t the Quickstep squad. They are very strong with Boonen, Steegmans, Bettini, the last one is in good shape, he will definitely try something.

Alessandro with the press at the team presentation in February.
Photo c. Karen Lambrecht

About Tom Boonen?
He is very fast. I don’t think about what I will do when I am with him at the finish, he is so fast. I just want to be in front, the rest we’ll see in the race. I am happy with this beautiful weather right now, otherwise it’s too dangerous.

About the first time on the ‘cobbles’…
It was in 2004, Omloop het Volk. I thought ‘What am I doing here? Everybody passed me.’ But more and more I liked it, it went better and better. In the Tour of Flanders I’ve had good guides like Gianluca Bortolami.
But before that, I only knew the cobbles from the television.

About his status in Belgium, Italy…
In Italy I am not so famous, the real cycling fans know me. In Belgium, lots of people know me. For us, the riders, the Tour of Flanders is a monument. In Italy you have to win the Giro to become a real star. Also the Tour of Lombardia has more prestige then the Tour of Flanders.

About the next races…
After Paris Roubaix I will also do the Amstel Gold Race, I finished 11th last year. I don’t ride Liege Bastogne Liege anymore. The period is too long to be in good form. After the Amstel, I will decide together with the team if I ride the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France.

Thanks Alessandro!

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