Mark Cavendish will ride Paris-Roubaix next Sunday to learn more about the race and see what is possible for the future, says team Dimension Data.
“The real focus for him remains Roubaix, this is because of the learning process as well,” Dimension Data performance manager Rolf Aldag told Cycling Weekly.
“He always had ambitions to do a good Roubaix. You have to start somehow, somewhere to learn about it. He really loves it. It’s another milestone in the building process with Scheldeprijs [on Wednesday].”
Cavendish has been training at home on a Cervélo built for 52.7 kilometres of cobbled farm roads that make up the 257.5-kilometre French monument. He will travel to Antwerp next week ahead of Scheldeprijs and cross over the border into northern France to recon the cobble sectors on Thursday with South African team.
“He was years with Etixx-QuickStep [for the last three years], and he sees the efforts and the difference it makes if you dial into it and show commitment. Maybe the idea was born there,” added Aldag.
“I’m not saying Cav is going to go sixth in Roubaix or win, but the point is that he wants to do it. He’s interested in it. It’s something interesting, different than riding another one-day race that he already did 15 times.”
“It suits him. He’s good in prologues. He can go short distances hard and fast, like in a cobble section. And he can position himself, and that’s needed before each cobble section. He’s small, but he’s not a climber’s weight and won’t bounce around the cobbles. And he’s powerful.”
“He’s there to learn. He’s 30, so if you want to do something in Roubaix, it’s unlikely you’ll do it in your first time. If it goes well, he can put effort into it and make it part of his planning.”
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