My name is Elin - A pro cycling lover's reflections

A short update

Category: Cycling

Today I haven't felt good at all. Yesterday I suffered a mild concussion and today I feel really sick. I vomit, my neck and head hurts after falling off a stool and landing on the broken parts of it, I feel tired and haven't slept well at all. No, this hasn't been my day, but at least now I have the energy to do something.

This week has been quite chaotic with a million of things to do and next week will not be any better.

I was trying to find flight tickets to Belgium or France next Saturday, to go to Paris-Roubaix but at least from the airport in my city, there was no air planes to those countries that day. If one of you readers, in Sweden or Denmark, will travel to Paris-Roubaix with car and you have a free seat, please could I come with you? Send me an e-mail at elin.laennholm@gmail.com.

See you tomorrow with more news about Tour of Flanders. 

Boonen confident with sprint weapon in De Ronde

Category: Cycling

Tom BoonenThings haven't looked good form Tom Boonen in the last two years, but suddenly ahead of this year's season he seems to have re-found his sprint and his spirit. Tomorrow, the Belgian has the chance of wining the Tour of Flanders.

Having already won the E3 Prijs-Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, Boonen is seen as a favourite to take a third Tour of Flanders title.

"You have to forget everything you've won before and try to race the best way you can," Boonen said. "It doesn't really matter how many races you have already won as it all depends on Sunday. We've got a good team which is ready to ride a good Ronde van Vlaanderen."

It's been six years since Boonen's last success in De Ronde. And it's really a race that he would like to win again.

"It's one of the two most important races of the season. I would really like to win," he said. "If you talk to the foreign guys they find it hard to understand why there’s that much attention, so much media coverage about one single race. It’s something that has been growing for the last hundred years. Every year it's a nice race."

De Ronde is not an easy race to win. The course of this year' race is quite difficult with three challenging circuits ending in Oudenaarde and it will change the tactics for the riders.

"It can be a different style of racing every year on this course. If you have a strong guy or a strong team they will start racing pretty soon in the finale but it's also possible the good guys will be looking at each other in the finale and not much will change. It can happen on many spots, just like on the old course. It's a race where you have to be able to adapt and don't make too many plans in advance. Of course I know where the toughest spots are but that doesn't mean it'll happen there."

Radioshack-Nissan's Fabian Cancellara is also a rider that everyone is watching. It is quite hard to win the Tour of Flanders as a top favorite.

"It doesn't really matter to me who's the favorite. [Cancellara] is a strong rider but I've never raced to beat someone specific except myself. Of course if he attacks in the finale and I see it's the decisive attack then I'll react but I'll certainly not mark every move he makes all day long."

Boonen has an advantage that Cancellara does not have. Boonen is a stronger sprinter.

"He has to drop me because I've got the sprint as my weapon.

"Maybe he's got a slightly bigger engine but I'm a little bit faster. We're two different riders with the same objectives. If you look at it in a physical way then we're a level above the rest. with a really hard finale then we're the two riders who can decide the race although that doesn't want to say one of us will win. We've got the key to the race in our hands."

"Everybody has been talking about me and Fabian. It's not true that we're the only guys who're able to win. To me Sylvain [Chavanel] is one of the favorites for the win because I've seen the course and know that a strong rider will win here, just like before. If Chavanel goes and Cancellara doesn't react? Then Sylvain is very lucky. We're good friends and it's no problem to me if someone else of the team wins on Sunday.

"[Peter] Sagan? He can get pretty far maybe even this year. Sagan is going to be on the podium in the next three to four years. Edvald Boasson Hagen? If he's there in the sprint you have to pay attention to him but I don't count him in as one of the big favorites."

Cummings back after Algarve crash

Category: Cycling

Steve CummingsBMC rider Steven Cummings will return to competition on Monday's Paris Vasco. The British rider crashed at stage three of the Volta ao Algarve on February 17 and broke his pelvis.

Earlier years, the Volta ao Algarve has been a good race for Cummings. In 2011, Cummings led the race until the final time trial, and in the end, he finished in seventh place overall.

This year, he didn't have the same luck. He collided with another rider who was suffering from mechanical problems. Now Cummings is ready to return to the road at Pais Vasco, or the Tour of the Basque Country. And hopefully it won't be too painful.

"I think I'm at a level now where I can survive the race and do work for the team," Cummings said. "I was off the bike for three weeks and then the first week or so was very painful because the fracture was where I sat on the saddle."