"The difference with 2003 is twelve more months, and I'm a lot more serene," Boonen told reporters after winning a sprint that 38-year old Johan Museeuw helped launch.
"I've learned to play it cool," Boonen added. "Pressure doesn't bother me. Here [in Gent-Wevelgem] it was agreed that the team work for me. Now, I think I can win a World Cup race."
Paris - Roubaix
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It will be team-mate Museeuw's penultimate race before his retirement in next Wednesday's GP de l'Escault, and already there's a feeling of a passing of the baton within Belgian cycling.
"I still have a margin of progression in front of me," warned Boonen. "I still use up too much energy in a race and to win, you have to know how to take the risk of losing."
Besides three-time Roubaix winner Museeuw, Quick.Step also boasts 2001 winner Servais Knaven. So what of Boonen's chances come Sunday?
"In Paris-Roubaix, anything can happen."
Paris - Roubaix
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Paris - Roubaix
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