One week after the Tour of Flanders it`s time for another cycling monument, the Paris-Roubaix. The 114th edition of Paris-Roubaix takes the riders from Compiègne to Roubaix in 257.5 KM which include 52.8 KM of cobbles. On top of the tough course, the weather forecast is not at all good as most likely it will be a rainy day with a strong wind.
Team Lotto-Soudal did a recon of a part of the course today and Tiesj Benoot also participated. The young Belgian rider was involved in a hard crash during the Ronde Van Vlaanderen, but will start this Sunday. Once again, Benoot will be one of the two leaders for Lotto-Soudal together with Jürgen Roelandts. The more experienced of the two had his say on Sunday`s race:
Jürgen Roelandts: “I have been waiting for a wet edition of Paris-Roubaix for nine years, so for me it may rain on Sunday. It would be better if it is wet all over the roads instead of only some wet spots. That would be more dangerous.”
“The past two weeks I hap ups-and-downs what my health is concerned. It’s not quite as it should be yet. On Monday, the day after the Ronde, I had sinusitis. Yesterday I did a training ride and today was the recon. The last two days I feel that I’m getting better. I definitely won’t hide behind my health problems.”
“Paris-Roubaix is the toughest Classic on the calendar. In that race there are a lot more opportunities to escape than in the Ronde for example. Just think of the edition of 2011, won by Vansummeren, when a group could ride away pretty early in the race and those riders battled for the victory.”
Tiesj Benoot talked about his crash and his chances for Paris-Roubaix:
“On Sunday I crashed because a water bottle fell out of someone’s bottle cage. At that moment I was riding on the first rows of the bunch. We were riding on cobbles and it was slightly downhill. It was a road I know well, but crashing was unavoidable. Initially I was most concerned about my shoulder, but it turned out my elbow was most badly injured. Yesterday I did a first long training, on Monday and Tuesday I did a shorter ride. I didn’t feel so good yesterday, probably because of the medication. Also my knee hurt; one of the bones is bruised. During today’s recon though I felt good on the cobbles and after a check-up by the doctor it was decided I will start the race. Something I hadn’t expected last Sunday.”
“I have to wait what the exact influence of my injuries will be. During the recon I pulled a few times and that felt good. The condition seems to be still fine, but I would be a miracle if I am one hundred per cent in Roubaix. I don’t think I will be racing differently unless I am really bad. The first one hundred kilometers will tell a lot. I also have two more days to recover.”
Lotto-Soudal line-up for Paris-Roubaix: Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Frederik Frison, André Greipel, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg and Jelle Wallays.
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