NewsWire: Cancellara says Boonen is ‘five-star favorite’ for Flanders

Cancellara says Tom Boonen is the 'five-star favorite' for Flanders; Gilbert admits he is not ready for Flanders; Lizzie Armitstead wins women's Ghent-Wevelgem; Boom out sick

In our daily NewsWire, we bring you a collection of the intriguing stories from newspapers, journals and elsewhere around the world of competitive cycling. Pour your coffee, mute your phone and read on.

Cancellara: ‘Tom is the five-star favorite’ —

With his wins at E3 Harelbeke and Ghent-Wevelgem, Fabian Cancellara believes that Tom Boonen has elevated himself and his team into the position of favorites, requiring them to support the weight of the race next Sunday at the Tour of Flanders.

“He will clearly be the five-star favorite of the Tour of Flanders,” said the RadioShack rider. “I talked to Philippe (Gilbert) during the race, and whether he’s at 90% or 100%, the favorite remains the same. Tom and his team will have to bear the weight of the race. But it is a bicycle race, there are other racers, other teams, a new course and it is a particular race, we’ll see Sunday if it is the strongest who wins. This is a classic 260 kilometers, a long, hard and difficult race. I will do everything possible to achieve what I had done in 2010. Moreover, even with Tom, I always pressure and I’m not going to focus on him alone. ”

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Gilbert: ‘I am not ready for the Tour of Flanders’ — Het Nieuwsblad

Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert admitted after a lackluster Ghent-Wevelgem performance on Sunday that he is not ready to take a leading role at the Tour of Flanders next weekend.

“I do not think I can play a role,” he said to Belgian daily Het Nieuwsblad. “You never know, but I must also be realistic. My optimal shape is very far away. Of course I hope for a good performance, but we are one week before the Tour. Within a few days you can make much progress and I felt in Ghent-Wevelgem already better than in Harelbeke. But I am not in the condition of 2011.”

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Armitstead wins women’s Ghent-Wevelgem — Cycling Weekly

British road champion Lizzie Armitstead (AA won the inaugural women’s Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday, breaking free of the bunch on the second of four climbs on the 113km course.

“It was a nice tactic, we have Kirsten Wild as a sprinter in the group, so I go on the climb to see what happens and we always have Kirsten for the sprint,” Armitstead said at the finish.

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Health problems for Lars Boom, Flanders start in doubt —

Rabobank’s Lars Boom has been struggling with illness, and team management is unsure whether he will be able to start Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. Boom is the co-leader of the Rabobank classics squad along with Ghent-Wevelgem third-place Matti Breschel.

“There will be weekly checks in place with a physician…,” a spokesman for Rabobank told NUSport. “It’s too far out to say that he may not start in the Tour, that’s all still hypothetical. We have a whole week ahead, it’s only Monday.

“Matti is surely one of our leaders next Sunday. We will just have to look at the start to see what role Lars can play. Or we can save him for Paris-Roubaix? It’s too early to know.”

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