I think it was a good week last week. We won Dwars door Vlaanderen with a team who was collectively present, and with a very strong Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh.
Tom Boonen, who grows more race after race, from Dwars Door Vlaanderen until now, I don't think he's far away from his top condition.
I'm sure we'll do well next weekend. I can see the team is functioning really well. Everyone knows their position and knows what to do.
Of course these past weeks were very hard for Tom Boonen personally. We, as a team, will try to help him in every way to try to get him mentally ready for the start.
He's a very strong guy, and you can see he goes for it again despite everything and he tries to find his rhythm back. You can't underestimate what he's been through. But you see him getting better and better despite it all!
Looking forward to the "Holy Week." This is very important for us, and this has all to do with our type of riders we have in the team. We just performed recon of Ronde van Vlaanderen today. We did 170km, including all of the final kilometers. Preparation like this is crucial, and we want to cover all of the details.
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Our riders are specialists in the cobblestones. They have the field knowledge as well as the physical characteristics and they also have the preference for these races.
Not only for us, but also for these riders, it's the most important time of the year.
It starts from Dwars Door Vlaanderen until after Roubaix, and everyone wants to score in these races and show themselves. They have been working towards this time for so long. These races are unique. You don't have a lot of them in the calendar.
As a sport director I prepare myself for this time by doing all the recons. For instance the Tour of Flanders. I've been working on it already for a few weeks.
For Paris - Roubaix I will do the recon quite close to the race, because the strokes with the cobbles tend to change a bit every month.
During the race it's about adjustment if necessary, and telling the riders the 'danger zones,' but most of them know the race by heart.
From now on, it actually only matters to keep calm, because there is enough stress already. Of course during the race I'm also nervous. As a rider I was nervous on the bike, now I'm nervous in the car seat. :-)