Archiv der Kategorie: Weltcup und Klassiker

La Flèche Wallonne 2019 – Who can control „Alaf“?

Key point:
 The rider sporting the number one also leads the world rankings, thanks to a start to the season that he has dominated in the face of little opposition just until the week of the Ardennes Classics. Diminished or not by a recent fall on the Tour of the Basque Country, Julian Alaphilippe heads to the Flèche Wallonne where he is most dangerous.
 If five-time winner Alejandro Valverde is still the man to beat on the Mur de Huy he could spoil the plans of the Deceuninck-Quick Step winning machine. Unless the world champion he succeeded, Peter Sagan, bounces back for his return to the race that could be his opportunity to get back on form in what has been a somewhat disappointing spring.

This is where it all began. For sure, discerning cycling aficionados already had the chance to detect the signs of an exceptional talent in the winner of the Fougères stage on the Tour de Bretagne in 2013, then a few months later at the Plateau des Glières on the Tour de l’Avenir. But it was the climb up the Mur de Huy where Julian gave a dazzling glimpse of his explosive abilities by clinging to the wheel of Alejandro Valverde, who in 2015 won his 3rd Flèche Wallonne. The French youngster, who came up short against the Spaniard the following year, had to wait until the spring of 2018 to win with authority in Huy. And since this consecration, “Alaf” has become one of the dominant riders in the major one-day classics, with victories on the Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo. Despite a recent fall that forced him to retire from the Tour of the Basque Country, the world number one comes in as the favourite, and will have by his side his team mate Philippe Gilbert, winner eight years ago of the Flèche Wallonne and last Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix!
If Alaphilippe has won more classics than Gilbert at the same age, the same cannot be said of Peter Sagan, who he beat recently in Italy but has never clashed with on the Mur de Huy. The Slovak has ventured there only once, finishing a very honourable 12th place in 2013, which only needs to be improved for his return to the Ardennes. Since he lost the world champion jersey, Sagan has struggled to find his way to the top step of the podium (only one victory in 2019, on the Tour Down Under), and his successor seems to have lost the winning formula since slipping on the rainbow jersey. While he had nine victories at this time last year, Valverde has just one stage win on the UAE Tour in 2019… but in some ways he will race on home soil next Wednesday. Among the regular Flèche contenders, Dan Martin has finished on the podium three times and will ride this year with victory in mind. He will have to contend with former team mate Michal Kwiatkowski, who rode to 5th place in 2013 and 3rd in 2014 as well as Michael Matthews who finished 5th last year and Michael Woods, who in the Vuelta (Balcon de Bizkaia stage) showed some real dexterity while the others struggled. On another steep terrain, Romain Bardet managed to overtake the Canadian at the Worlds in Austria. The silver medallist in the World Championship will need at least the same form to win his first classic. It will also be the challenge for Adam Yates, Daniel Martinez and Rudy Molard.
25 TEAMS, THE MAIN CONTENDERS

Australia
Mitchelton-Scott: A.Yates (Gbr), Albasini (Che)
Bahrain
Bahrain-Merida: Pozzovivo (Ita), Teuns (Bel), Dennis (Aus)
Belgium
Deceuninck-Quick Step: Alaphilippe (Fra), Gilbert (Bel), Mas (Esp)
Lotto-Soudal: Vanendert, Wellens (Bel)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise: Van Gestel, Sprengers (Bel)
Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team: G.Martin (Fra), Eiking (Nor)
Wallonie Bruxelles: Jules (Fra), Lietaer (Bel)
France
AG2R La Mondiale: Bardet, Cosnefroy (Fra)
Groupama-FDJ: Gaudu, Molard (Fra)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits: Jes.Herrada (Esp), Simon (Fra)
Germany
Team Sunweb: Matthews (Aus)
Bora-Hansgrohe: Sagan (Svk), Schachmann (Deu)
Great Britain
Team Sky: Kwiatkowski (Pol), De La Cruz (Esp), Poels (Nld)
Israel
Israel Cycling Academy: Hermans (Bel)
Kazakhstan
Astana Pro Team: Fuglsang (Dnk), Fraile (Esp), Lutsenko (Kaz)
Netherlands
Team Jumbo-Visma: Gesink (Nld)
Poland
CCC Team: De Marchi (Ita)
South Africa
Team Dimension Data: Kreuziger (Cze), Valgren (Dnk), Gasparotto (Ita)
Spain
Movistar Team: Valverde (Esp)
Euskadi Basque Country-Murias: Rodiguez, Bravo (Esp)
Switzerland
Team Katusha Alpecin: Haas (Aus), Boswell (Usa)
United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates: D.Martin (Irl), Costa (Prt), Henao (Col)
United States
EF Education First: Woods (Can), Martinez (Col)
Trek-Segafredo: Mollema (Nld)
Rally UHC Cycling: McNulty (Usa)

@ASO

Titelverteidiger Sagan holt Rang fünf bei unglaublich hartem Paris – Roubaix

Pünktlich um 11 Uhr erfolgte heute der Start zu Paris – Roubaix 2019 in Compiègne. Mit 29 Sektoren warteten auch in diesem Jahr fast 55 km Kopfsteinpflaster auf das Fahrerfeld bei der Hölle des Nordens. Während die ersten 96 Kilometer durchwegs auf asphaltierten Straßen führten, folgte im zweiten Streckenteil des Rennens Sektor auf Sektor, bevor auf der Radrennbahn in Roubaix traditionell über den Sieg entschieden wird. Wie in den letzten Jahren entbrannte von Beginn an ein harter Kampf um die Spitzengruppe. Da bei Paris – Roubaix durchaus eine Chance besteht, dass es Fahrer einer frühen Gruppe bis ins Ziel schaffen, wollten alle großen Teams entsprechend in der Gruppe platziert sein. Dadurch neutralisierte sich die Rennsituation an der Spitze immer wieder und es dauerte mehr als 50 Kilometer, bevor sich drei Fahrer absetzen konnten. Das Feld ließ aber nicht locker und 20 km später war das Peloton wieder geschlossen. Rund 15 km vor dem ersten Kopfsteinpflaster Sektor des Tages konnte sich letztlich doch noch eine Gruppe lösen, gefolgt von einer ersten Verfolgergruppe in der auch Maciej Bodnar von BORA – hansgrohe vertreten war. Das Feld erreichte den ersten Sektor rund 40 Sekunden hinter der Spitze des Rennens. Die Gruppen vorne liefen wenig später zusammen, doch auch weiterhin blieb das Tempo enorm hoch. Nach den ersten drei Sektoren waren die Ausreißer wieder gestellt und einige Stürze dezimierten nun das Feld. Auch Peter Sagan wurde etwa 120 km vor dem Ziel hinter einem Sturz aufgehalten. Wenig später ging Daniel Oss zu Boden, der das Rennen leider aufgeben musste. Nachdem das Feld zwischenzeitlich in zwei Teile zerbrochen war, sorgte BORA – hansgrohe dafür, dass Peter Sagan wieder zur ersten Gruppe aufschließen konnte. Etwa 65 Kilometer vor dem Ziel setzten sich dann P. Gilbert, N. Politt und Rudi Selig (BORA – hansgrohe) ab. Zehn Kilometer später attackierte der Titelverteidiger, während an der Spitze Rudi Selig zurückfiel. Im Sektor 11, dem berühmten Mons-en-Pévèle, fanden sechs Fahrer an der Spitze zusammen, darunter Peter Sagan, die nun schnell rund eine Minute Vorsprung herausfahren konnten. Sagan machte einen guten Eindruck und konterte die ersten Attacken in der Spitzengruppe souverän, doch im Carrefour de l’Arbre konnte er Politt und Gilbert nicht mehr folgen. Während das Spitzenduo mit 30 Sekunden Vorsprung auf das Velodrom einbog, kämpfte Sagan am Ende um Rang vier oder fünf. Doch der Vorjahressieger war am Ende seiner Kräfte und musste sich beim Sieg von P. Gilbert mit Rang fünf zufriedengeben. Dennoch macht es den Eindruck, als ob der Aufwärtstrend bei Peter weiter anhält.
Ergebnis
01 P. Gilbert 5:58:02
02 N. Politt +0:00
03 Y. Lampaert +0:13
05 P. Sagan +0:42

Reaktionen im Ziel
„Es war ein hartes Paris – Roubaix, und der Gegenwind machte das Rennen noch härter. Das Team hat wieder einen super Job gemacht, wir hatten ein paar Stürze, aber dennoch waren wir in der Entscheidung vorne dabei. Bis zum Carrefour de l’Arbre war alles ok, aber dann hatte ich einfach nicht mehr die Beine, um um das Podium mitzukämpfen.“ – Peter Sagan

„Wir sind heute ein gutes Rennen gefahren. Dass wir Daniel früh verloren haben, war natürlich sehr schade, aber der Rest der Mannschaft war heute stark. Wir mussten dann etwas früher reagieren, als wir eigentlich wollten, und auch Peter hat etwas früher attackiert als geplant. Er hat zuerst einen guten Eindruck gemacht, aber am Ende war er total leer und konnte leider nicht mehr um den Sieg kämpfen. Dennoch war es ein gutes Rennen von uns, und das Ergebnis war wohl das Maximum heute.“ – Enrico Poitschke, sportlicher Leiter
@BORA-hansgrohe

Paris-Roubaix. Nils Politt takes spectacular 2nd place in Roubaix


Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer

1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 5:58:02
2 Nils Politt (Ger) Team Katusha-Alpecin
3 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:13
4 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First 0:00:40
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:42
6 Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:47
7 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
8 Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep
9 Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence
10 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First
11 Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
12 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team
13 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
14 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:24
15 Adrien Petit (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:01:25
16 Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha-Alpecin 0:01:36

Nils Politt showed pure determination and solid resolve in his race of the 117th Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, taking second place on the boards of the velodrome in Roubaix with a time of 5:58:02 to match that of winner Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step). In a straight up sprint to the finish line, Gilbert dove down to the inside of the track to take the win after almost six hours of racing in France. It was a spectacular result from Politt, 25, moving up from seventh place last year to stand on the 2019 podium in his second participation in the cycling monument.
Nils Politt: “So close, but even second in Roubaix at my age I still can’t believe it. I was feeling good from the first moment I woke up this morning. For the whole race the team did a great, great job and I think we’ve had such a good classics season. It’s unbelievable to me to get second in Roubaix.” Politt placed fifth in last week’s Tour of Flanders.
Team Director Dirk Demol, winner of 1988 Paris-Roubaix, expressed his excitement for Nils and Team KATUSHA ALPECIN after the race: “Second place in my favorite race! We were in the game the whole day. The team did a good race and a smart race. In the past weeks we’ve seen that Nils was growing toward his top form and this was the race for him we’ve been aiming for these past few months. He really didn’t make mistakes. He’s going to win some day. He has the capabilities. He is born for this type of race. The confidence he takes away from getting second in this race will have him coming back for more.”
It was a brilliant performance from Team KATUSHA ALPECIN with aggressive riding all day long. Alongside Deceuninck, KATUSHA ALPECIN were the strongest team during the race with Nils and teammate Marco Haller in the front group when the peloton splits happened after the first pavés. Haller pulled, as did Mads Würtz Schmidt while Politt took stock of his race surroundings and who was strongest in the field.
The 257k course from Compiègne to Roubaix featured 29 sectors and 54.5km of cobbles and was fast from the outset. Politt was attentive throughout, putting himself in an early breakaway group before the cobbles, and then later reading the intentions of the eventual winner with just over 60k still to go.
Politt: “I saw in the feed zone that Gilbert wanted to go, so I went with him. With Peter Sagan and his group coming back to us, I didn’t have to go so deep. At the end it was a little bit of bad luck for me that Gilbert’s teammate was coming back to us on the velodrome. Gilbert was willing to gamble a bit. But I still have some years and I hope I can one day win this race.” Rounding out the podium was Gilbert teammate Yves Lampaert at 13-seconds.
Teammate Marco Haller rode in service of Politt today, earning himself a fine 16th place finish, and expressed his great pride at the success of Nils: “The team just finished on the podium in a monument. I am so happy and proud to have been part of it. It was six hours of stress and fighting. It feels like a win, absolutely. We told Nils last night at dinner that this might be the last time he could fly under the radar, so we told him he’d better go out and take it. I think he did that. He rode such a perfect race. He’s a brilliant bike racer.”

KATUSHA MEDIA SERVICE
Philippe Maertens
maertens@teamkatushaalpecin.com
+32 492 22 78 96
Falk Nier
nier@teamkatushaalpecin.com
+32 492 22 78 98

PARIS-ROUBAIX 2019

The key points:
 175 riders from 25 teams saluted the crowds in Compiègne on Saturday, on the eve of the 117th edition of the Hell of the North.
 Former winners such as Peter Sagan (2018), Greg Van Avermaet (2018) and John Degenkolb (2015) eye a new victory in the iconic velodrome of Roubaix, but outsiders like Alexander Kristoff feel ready for the challenge.

SAGAN-VAN AVERMAET… THE OUTSIDERS?
Things can change very fast in the North. Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) won the last two editions of Paris-Roubaix as outright favourites. But the former World champion and the Olympic champion haven’t been able to score this year in the classics and rivals challenge their dominance. Still, “I’ve had a good race in Flanders (10th) and I’m very motivated to do well and have a good result in Roubaix”, Greg Van Avermaet said on Saturday. “In Flanders, it was tight racing and it was hard to create differences. Roubaix is a different race, very hard, and with wind I hope there will be opportunities to split the peloton. Many riders can win, we could see an outsider, but I think the biggest favorites are Van Aert, Stybar and Sagan.” The Slovak national champion appeared relaxed in Compiègne: “I’m used to being the reigning champion on many races, that doesn’t change much. I’m not worried about my condition. Every year is different, sometimes you’re in a very good shape and you don’t win. It’s such a special race, everything can happen. Three timesI came here feeling very strong and still I didn’t win because something happened. I’ll just try to enjoy myself.”

KRISTOFF: “NOBODY WANTS TO HAVE ME WITH THEM IN THE FINALE”
With a very open race, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) was among the most sought-after favorites on the eve of Paris-Roubaix. “I hope to be up there, fighting for the win”, the Norwegian said. “Actually, I’ve never had a really strong Paris-Roubaix. I’ve been 9th (2013) or 10th (2015). I hope to improve that and to fight for the win, that would be a dream.” Coming off his victory in Gent-Wevelgem and a podium finish on the Tour of Flanders, Kristoff hopes for a favourable scenario: “For me, the bigger the group, the better. For sure, nobody wants to have me with them in the finale but I don’t think they’ll focus on me. There are many strong guys who can make an impact in the finale. I can have a good sprint but there are so many cobble sections before that, we’ll have to see how it goes.”

DEGENKOLB: “MANY TIMES THE RIGHT MOVES GO FROM FAR AWAY”
“It’s never easy to plan things ahead of Roubaix, but I think I’m ready”, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) says ahead of a very special race for him. The German champion won the Hell of the North in 2015 and dominated the 2018 Tour de France stage finishing in Roubaix, a victory many interpreted as his resurrection after years of misfortunes. “It was a very important victory”, Degenkolb reflected on Saturday. “I worked so hard for that result and it gave me a lot of confidence. It helps to stay calm and to focus on the important things. It’s always hard to predict Roubaix, anything can happen. You have to be up there and to save energy but you can’t be scared to invest energy in the right moments. Many times the right moves go from far away. Between 50 and 30 km to go, it’s crucial to be up there, around where Sagan attacked last year and up to the Carrefour de l’Arbre.”

TOTAL DIRECT ENERGIE: A NEW KIT IN THE PELOTON
Riders from Direct Énergie and their manager Jean-René Bernaudeau enjoyed the team presentation to display their new kit as Total Direct Énergie becomes their title sponsor and brings new colours for the team. “It’s a jersey that gives us a lot of motivation, and it could be the extra bit of motivation that helps us make a historic feat”, Bernaudeau said in Compiègne. Without the former Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra, recovering from his crash in Flanders, the French team relies on different riders with a knack for cobbles. “It’s the race I dream of”, Damien Gaudin (5th in 2013) says. “I’ve had good results here and I’m in even better conditions. The team has never had such a good classics campaign, and Niki did bring us a lot.” Among the blue jerseys, Adrien Petit also has strong references in Roubaix (10th in 2016, 9th in 2017) and feels good after finishing 6th in Gent-Wevelgem: “It’s the biggest race of my season. I’ve had a nice classics campaign and I have the abilities to go for a big result.”

SAVE THE TROUÉE D’ARENBERG!
The association “Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix” has launched a crowdfunding operation for the public to help them “save the Trouée d’Arenberg”, the iconic cobblestone sector that has done so much for the fame of the Hell of the North. “The 2300 meters of the most mythical cobblestoned sector of Paris-Roubaix suffer from excessive grass that worsens year after year”, the association says as they set a goal of 15,000 €. They already participated in important works on the Trouée ahead of this edition, with the support of local governments, to prevent the sector from being too dangerous in case of rain. It shouldn’t happen this Sunday, with sunny conditions expected and temperatures between 3 and 9ºC. Riders also anticipate headwinds. John Degenkolb, who won in Roubaix in the 2015 edition of the Hell of the North and on the 2018 Tour de France, is the ambassador of the association.
https://www.kisskissbankbank.com/en/projects/sauvons-la-trouee-d-arenberg

PARIS-ROUBAIX: ALMOST 7,000 AMATEURS TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE
The 9th edition of the Paris-Roubaix Challenge, organised on the eve of the famous classic, saw a massive peloton of 6,839 cyclists riding on three different routes (70, 145 and 172km) all taking on the sectors of the Carrefour de l’Arbre and the Trouée d’Arenberg. 67 different nationalities were represented (23% of Frenchmen, 21% of British riders, and 17% from Belgium). Among them, three riders of Paris-Roubaix were coming back on the cobbles that crowned them: Andreï Tchmil (1994), Andrea Tafi (1999) and Stuart O’Grady (2007).

@ASO

Paris-Roubaix: Oliver Naesen: „It’s hard not to feel confident when I’m riding at this level“


Alexander Kristoff und Oliver Naesen 2 heiße Favoriten für Paris-Roubaix am Podium bei Eschborn-FRA 2018.
Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer
Oliver Naesen is ceasing to be a dark horse and becoming a full-fledged favourite. After finishing second to Julian Alaphilippe in Milan–San Remo, Oliver Naesen has put on a good showing in the cobbled classics, coming third in Gent–Wevelgem and overcoming a bout of bronchitis to finish seventh in last Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. Buoyed by the prospect of a race more open than in previous years, the AG2R La Mondiale leader is heading into his fifth Paris–Roubaix full of ambition and confidence.

Have you managed to get rid of your bronchitis?
I feel much better now, my bronchi aren’t bothering me any more. I’m almost at 100% and, at any rate, it won’t be a problem for Roubaix, it’s not going to hold me back.
Looking back a few days ago, how would you rate your performance in the Tour of Flanders?
Last Sunday, I did what I could with what I had. I got a decent placing despite not being at my best. I have good reason to be happy considering the circumstances.
In 2018, you fell short of your potential with a finish in 12th place. What happened?
Last year, I was at the back with the cars all day long! I didn’t even catch a glimpse of the lead group. In general, my performances in Paris–Roubaix have been quite disappointing. However, things might be changing this year. I’d rather not get ahead of myself because everything could go completely pear-shaped again on Sunday.
How do you think you have improved since last year?
I reckon I’ve got better in every respect since last year. I’m still quite young, so I’ve matured physically and begun to reach my prime. Experience has also sharpened my tactical acumen. For example, I shouldn’t bet the farm on a sprint finish. As for confidence, it’s hard not to feel confident when I’m riding at this level.
„It’s not now or never. I’ve still got plenty of seasons ahead of me to win races“
After trouncing the opposition in previous years, Sagan and Van Avermaet seem to have come back down to earth. Do you expect a more open race?
I still see them as the two favourites. At any rate, it would be foolish to rule them out. Let’s not forget that Sagan is a three-time world champion and the winner of last year’s race, while Greg is an Olympic champion. However, it’s true that there are a lot of riders at a similar level. This could make it an even more tactical race.
Do you think this could be the year you win the major classic that is still missing from your collection?
Perhaps, but it’s not now or never. I’m still learning and getting stronger. I’m confident that I’ve still got plenty of seasons ahead of me to win races. However, it’s true that it’s never too early to keep an eye on all the young riders who are getting better or even at the same level.
Do you agree that you will enjoy the support of the best AG2R team that you have ever had on the cobblestones?
Yes, I do. Stijn Vandenbergh is as strong as he was before his crash in the Four Days of Dunkirk in 2017. Sylvan Dillier, who was second in the velodrome last year, has got even better since then. I think Paris–Roubaix is better suited to our strengths than the other cobbled classics. Teammates struggle on the climbs, whereas Paris–Roubaix is more conducive to team dynamics. Also, my teammates ended up strewn all over the place in every cobbled sector when we reconnoitred the course last year, whereas this time round I’m the one who’s suffering!

Would you rather have a wet race or a dry one?
Anyone who hopes for rain is out of his mind! Only the spectators enjoy it.

@ASO

THE FIRST TIME IN HELL: TANGUY TURGIS (IV/IV)

„As time goes by, good memories prevail over bad ones“
There is a turning point in every cyclist’s career. About forty riders tackle Paris–Roubaix for the first time every year. Bitter or sweet, their first taste of cobblestones will stay with them forever. From now until 14 April, four riders who made their debut in 2018 will look back on this singular rite of passage. Tanguy Turgis’s first Paris-Roubaix was also his last. A mix of joy and sadness colours his memories of what was an exceptional day on more than one count…
Just this one and we’re going home! Such was the harsh reality of what will forever remain Tanguy Turgis’s only Paris-Roubaix after his career was cut short at age 20, following a heart malformation diagnosis last October, before he had even finished his neo-pro season. Cycling has long been a way of life for the Turgis family. The elder brothers, Jimmy and Anthony, opened the road for their younger sibling, who was neither the least spirited nor the least talented of the three, especially when it came to Roubaix: „The editions I remember well are the Boonen and Cancellara years. Tom Boonen was a class act. He made me want to ride Paris-Roubaix“, remembers Tanguy, who became a cobble-gobbler himself from an early age: „I took part in the mini Paris-Roubaix for under-16 riders and then in Paris-Roubaix Juniors, where I finished third in 2016. I loved this terrain and was able to thrive on it, especially in the build-up to the race. You need to be more focused than ever: reconnoitring, selecting the right material with great attention to detail, getting new bikes. All these things put me into a serious state of mind that boosted my performance.“
As he continued his precocious and solid progression, Vital Concept’s young rider was offered a spot on the team to prepare for the classic of his dreams, even though he had expected to ride the under-23 Tour of Flanders, scheduled for the same day. With just two weeks to go until the race, there was no time to dwell on it: „I remember telling my brother that I was a bit tired and wanted to reduce my training volume to stay sharp. I loved the days before the race and spent lots of time reconnoitring the course with Bert De Backer. He’s not really the chatty type, but Paris–Roubaix brings out a completely different side of him. I learned a lot simply from watching him.“
„If I could make my heart condition go away for just one race,
I wouldn’t choose the Tour de France or any other Grand Tour…
It would be Paris–Roubaix.“
Tanguy Turgis clearly has a keen eye. Among all his memories of Roubaix, he recounts the sensations that swept over him kilometre after kilometre; the words he exchanged at the start with his brother Jimmy, who was also making his debut, but in Cofidis colours and at the age of 24; narrowly avoiding a crash in the Haveluy sector; a feeling of rising confidence as he came out of the Trouée d’Arenberg with the favourites, etc. „I knew what I was doing“, reminisces Tanguy at the rhythm of his pedal strokes. „After Pont Gibus, the course was the same as in the junior race, so I felt almost at home. I thought to myself, ‚we’re on an equal footing now, boys, you can no longer count on home advantage‘. I was on Mathew Hayman’s wheel in Mons-en-Pévèle, riding close to my limit. I clung too close to him and had a flat. Everyone says punctures are just bad luck, but I disagree. I could’ve avoided this one. Bert De Backer hasn’t had any flats in nine starts, while I’ve only had one in four races on the cobblestones. I think it’s a matter of staying clear-headed.“ A bit further down the road, right after the Carrefour de l’Arbre, the two brothers joined up and brought the hammer down in true warrior style: „We both put in some pretty big turns, just like when we used to train as young riders. We kept increasing our gap to the peloton, where riders like Tony Martin and Adrien Petit were pulling, all the way to the velodrome. It was huge.“
Tanguy and Jimmy were 42nd and 43rd on the finish line. Vital Concept’s 19-year-old fledgling became the youngest rider to finish the Hell of the North since Belgian Roger Gyselinck… who finished 73rd all the way back in 1939! For a trend-bucker like him, keeping going on an almost empty tank is nothing to laugh at: „Tony Martin finished 72nd because there came a point when he just let himself go. However, as a first-time Paris-Roubaix rider, for me there was a world of difference between finishing in 42nd or 75th place. I was there to fight until the end.“ Tanguy’s state of mind after the race, „disappointed about my puncture because I could’ve finished 30th“, speaks volumes, as did his extremely promising performance. A euphoric Jérôme Pineau, his team boss, even saw him „winning the race some day“!
However, the fateful medical tests of last autumn brought an end to his dreams of glory. Racing in Paris-Roubaix is now a thing of the past for Tanguy Turgis. The massive disappointment reinforced his passion for the race that had already stolen his heart. „Right now, I feel sad because I know I’ll never get to experience it again, but as time goes by, good memories prevail over bad ones. If I could make my heart condition go away for just one race, I wouldn’t choose the Tour de France or any other Grand Tour… It would be Paris-Roubaix.“
@ASO

Flandern-Rundfahrt – Die ‚Ronde‘

1 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First 6:18:49
2 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:14
3 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:17
4 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus
5 Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
7 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team
11 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
12 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal
13 Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
14 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma
15 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First
16 Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-QuickStep
17 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
18 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:24
19 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:19
20 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:58
Mit 270,1 Kilometern präsentierte sich die Ronde heute um rund 20 km länger als in den letzten Jahren. Durch insgesamt 17 Hellingen und 13 Kopfsteinpflasterpassagen war die Strecke gewohnt anspruchsvoll, wobei zu erwarten war, dass die Entscheidung beim dritten Anstieg zum Oude Kwaremont (2,2 km, max. 11,6 %), bzw. dem darauffolgenden Paterberg (360 m, max. 20,3 %) fallen würde. Beim Start in Antwerpen zeigte sich das Wetter von seiner besten Seite, 15 Grad und Sonnenschein begleitete das Fahrerfeld auf den ersten Kilometern in Richtung Südosten, wobei heute von Beginn an Attacke auf Attacke folgte. Nach rund 20 km konnten sich dann vier Fahrer vom Feld absetzen, dort hielten aber vor allem die kleineren Teams, die die Gruppe verpasst hatten, das Tempo zuerst weiter hoch. Erst weitere 20 Kilometer später ließ das Feld die Gruppe endgültig ziehen und der Vorsprung entwickelte sich nun rasch in Richtung neun Minuten. Mit Jumbo-Visma und Deceuninck – Quick Step übernahmen zwei Teams im Feld noch vor der Zieldurchfahrt in Oudenaarde Verantwortung, und zogen das Tempo an. Vor dem ersten Anstieg des Tages waren noch 150 km zurückzulegen und der Abstand zwischen Spitze und Feld war auf unter fünf Minuten gesunken. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt zeigte sich auch BORA – hansgrohe immer wieder vorne im Peloton, denn von nun an war es wichtig, eine gute Position zu verteidigen. An der Kapelmuur machte man im Feld zum ersten Mal ernst und die Hauptgruppe teilte sich. Mit Peter Sagan, Daniel Oss und Lukas Pöstlberger hatte BORA – hansgrohe drei Fahrer vorne, die wenig später die frühe Spitzengruppe eingeholt hatten. Einige der Mitfavoriten verpassten diese Vorentscheidung, und an der Spitze entbrannte nun ein harter Schlagabtausch. Zuerst setzten sich vier Mann, darunter Lukas Pöstlberger, ab, doch als die Gruppe wieder gestellt wurde, zögerte man vorne, und das bereits abgeschlagene Feld konnte ebenfalls aufschließen. Am zweiten Anstieg zum Oude Kwaremont setzten sich zwei Fahrer ab, während dahinter das Feld nun merklich kleiner wurde, und am Paterberg zuerst K. Asgreen bzw. wenig später D. van Barle zum Spitzenduo aufschließen konnten. Ein Fahrer fiel zurück und S. Vanmarcke konnte mit Asgreen und van Baarle etwa 30 Sekunden Vorsprung herausfahren. Dahinter hatte Peter Sagan nur noch Daniel Oss an seiner Seite. Wie erwartet kam es zum Showdown in der letzten Auffahrt zum Kwaremont. Die Favoriten machten nun ernst und A. Bettiol setzte die entscheidende Attacke. Dahinter folgte eine 15-Mann-Verfolgergruppe in der auch Sagan vertreten war. Einige Male versuchte Peter sich noch abzusetzen, doch alle Versuche wurden neutralisiert. Bettiol verteidigte seinen Vorsprung bis zum Ende und holte einen beeindruckenden Solosieg. Im Sprint um die Plätze musste sich Sagan heute ebenfalls geschlagen geben und erreichte letztlich als 11. das Ziel in Oudenaarde.
Reaktionen im Ziel
„Das war heute ein hartes und spannendes Rennen. Trotz der Anstrengung macht es Spaß hier zu fahren, weil die Atmosphäre einfach unglaublich ist. Ich muss mich bei meinen Teamkollegen bedanken, denn sie haben 100 % gegeben, um mich zu unterstützen. Ich konnte viel Kraft sparen, am Ende war ich vorne, konnte aber die Attacke von Bettiol nicht mitgehen. Auch im Sprint hat mir der letzte Punch heute gefehlt.“ – Peter Sagan

„Das Team hat bis zur zweiten Passage des Kwaremont einen sehr guten Job gemacht. Peter konnte wichtige Energie sparen, da er perfekt flankiert war. Er selbst ist aber auch ein schlaues Rennen gefahren, hat nie ein Korn verschwendet. Als am Ende die Entscheidung fiel, war er aber nicht perfekt platziert und man konnte schon sehen, dass er nicht den besten Tag hatte. Er war dann dennoch in der Verfolgergruppe und hatte damit immer noch alle Chancen. Bettiol war aber auf den letzten Kilometern sehr stark, und Peter im Sprint letztlich noch eingebaut. Da war heute nicht mehr drin.“ – Enrico Poitschke, sportlicher Leiter
@BORA

The first time in hell: Sven Erik Bystrøm (III/IV)

„This race has a special place in my heart.“


Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer – www.plomi.smugmug.com

There is a turning point in every cyclist’s career. About forty riders tackle Paris-Roubaix for the first time every year. Bitter or sweet, their first taste of cobblestones will stay with them forever. From now until 14 April, four riders who made their debut in 2018 will look back on this singular rite of passage. The former Under-23 world champion Sven Erik Bystrøm finished 27th in what was an emotionally charged experience for the Norwegian rider.
No Norwegian rider has ever won the Queen of Classics, with Thor Hushovd coming closest to the coveted cobblestone trophy a decade ago (third in 2009 and second in 2010). Meanwhile, thousands of kilometres away, a teenager was glued to his TV set and watching on the edge of his seat as the future world champion, then riding for Cervélo, launched his bid for glory on the cobblestones: „Thor was the greatest cycling star in Norway at the time“, says Sven Erik Bystrøm. „I used to follow him with great interest and saw him come within touching distance of victory, especially that time he crashed in the Carrefour de l’Arbre. Knowing this, I’ve always found this race fascinating to watch, it’s really special.“

The apprentice tried to follow in the footsteps of his idol from the very beginning by adventuring into this bone-rattling terrain already in his junior years. „Cobblestones are something out of the ordinary. I remember very clearly the first time I tackled them. My local club in Stavanger took us to Belgium for a training camp and a few races. Riding the same sectors I’d seen on TV was mind-blowing. We spent two weeks there, and we went to the Mur de Grammont or the Bosberg every single day. I found it exciting from the beginning“, recalls Bystrøm, who soon after experienced the thrills and rolls of the dice that characterise Paris-Roubaix in its junior version. „I have a rather specific memory of the race. Jasper Stuyven came out on top that year [2010]. I was riding in a group right behind him when I lost a pedal in the last cobbled sector. I missed out on the opportunity to fight for a top placing [39th], but the race still managed to captivate me.“
„The Trouée d’Arenberg is truly spectacular.
We enter the forest with the peloton going full steam ahead
and fans everywhere… This is where things get serious.“
Although this first experience left Sven Erik wanting more, he had to wait a long time to face the real deal: „In my first few seasons as a pro, I was picked to ride the Belgian classics but not Paris-Roubaix, which left me a bit frustrated. I was finally selected last year. I managed to slip into the breakaway and tackle the most famous sectors at the front of the race. Then Sagan caught us and it was extremely hard to hold onto his wheel.“
Bystrøm is one of the men conscripted by UAE Team Emirates to ride for captain and mentor Alexander Kristoff, who could already count on him last year: „My role was to help him, and this is the main reason I got into the breakaway, to work for him once he caught up with us. Unfortunately, the plan fell through after he crashed. Alexander and I live in the same city and have been training together for years. We’re close friends. After winning Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, he still dreams of taking Paris-Roubaix some day.“
Bystrøm’s 27th place in the velodrome (second-best rookie, after Wout Van Aert, 13th) felt good but not terribly useful. However, the 2014 Under–23 world champion still has vivid memories of all the sensations: „The Trouée d’Arenberg is truly spectacular. We enter the forest with the peloton going full steam ahead and fans everywhere… You really get the feeling that this is where things get serious. However, the Carrefour de l’Arbre was the worst part for me. Apart from the cobblestones, fatigue started to kick in. I was still near the front, so I had to keep going hard, I couldn’t simply peel off and enjoy a leisure ride to the finish.“
Just like the most battle-hardened veterans, Bystrøm started by assimilating and accepting the suffering that awaits riders on the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix: „This race has a special place in my heart. Of course, I’d love to win it some day, but for that to happen I’ll have to work really hard. It’s my kind of terrain, it’s a race that makes me feel good.“ The Norwegian rouleur is heading to Compiègne for the start of the 117th edition with the same prerogatives and determined to keep learning: „I expect another gruelling race. We’ll be fielding an ambitious group to support Alexander. For example, we’ve got a young Belgian rider who’s showing a lot of promise in the classics, Jasper Philipsen [fourth in the 2018 Paris-Roubaix Espoirs]. There’s going to be a big fight, and we have to be ready for it.“
@ASO

THE FIRST TIME IN HELL: PHIL BAUHAUS (II/IV)

„It’s only in the last five kilometres that it really starts to sink in“
There is a turning point in every cyclist’s career. About forty riders tackle Paris–Roubaix for the first time every year. Bitter or sweet, their first taste of cobblestones will stay with them forever. From now until 14 April, four riders who made their debut in 2018 will look back on their experience and tell paris-roubaix.fr all about this singular rite of passage. Germany’s Phil Bauhaus crashed last year, but he is already raring to go for round 2!

Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer (Eschborn-FRA 2018)
24-year-old Phil Bauhaus is one of the rising sprint stars of the new wave of German riders. Bahrain–Merida’s new signing holds the same position at the top of the pecking order he earned at Sunweb and can count on the support of the team in bunch finishes in the shape of two of the most experienced lead-out men in the world: Heinrich Haussler and Marcel Sieberg, with the latter deserting André Greipel after eleven years of good and loyal service and pledging allegiance to the new kid in the block. However, the story changes when the race hits the cobblestones. Bauhaus (whose surname translates literally as „building house“) is more than willing to support the seasoned veterans, convinced that his turn will come sooner or later if he is stubborn enough because the Hell of the North is all about patience and endurance.
„I used to watch Paris-Roubaix on TV and also rode it as a junior” (33rd in 2012, 3′06″ behind the Danish winner Mads Würtz Schmidt, who now races for Katusha-Alpecin), explains the rider from Bocholt, North Rhine-Westphalia. „At just 18 years old, I loved the experience (in the appetiser before the pro race in which Tom Boonen took his swansong victory). It still fascinates me.“
„It’s a unique feeling: a sense of relief
and the pride that comes from such an
extraordinary accomplishment“
Arnaud Démare, Bryan Coquard and Nacer Bouhanni have been painfully aware of just how fast the German can be ever since he beat them at the end of stage 5 of the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné in Mâcon. He went on to claim the scalps of fellow Germans Marcel Kittel, Pascal Ackermann and André Greipel, as well as Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani, to open Sunweb’s 2018 account in stage 3 of the Abu Dhabi Tour.
„As a sprinter,“ he points out, „good positioning is something that comes with the job description, which is vital in Paris-Roubaix. At the start of the race in Compiègne, you think that everything will turn out just fine and the cobblestones aren’t such a big deal after all. However, by the time you cross the finish line, you’re in a world of pain and your whole body aches from the severe rattling it got on the cobblestones. You feel ready to drop. It’s an excruciating race. The distance and all that time spent on the saddle drain every last drop of energy from you.“
After turning pro at age 18 with Team Stölting, then at the Continental level, and signing for the Bora Pro Continental outfit at age 20, at Sunweb he had to wait until his second season in the WorldTour category to get a taste of the cobblestones. „In my debut last year,“ he recalls, „I was supposed to ride in support of our designated leader Mike Teunissen (the Dutchman, one of the riders who made the race in the 116th edition and sprinted to seventh place, ended up 11th in the velodrome, 2′31″ behind Peter Sagan), and our back-up leader Edward Theuns (24th at 4′23″). Unfortunately, I crashed shortly after the halfway point and, from then on, I often found myself on the back foot and unable to help my leaders as much as I would have liked to. I see myself in more of a support role in Paris-Roubaix right now.“
Clearly enjoying the conversation, he continues: „It was my very first Paris-Roubaix, so I was over the moon to make it to the finish (in 78th place, 14′56″ behind the world champion and winner of the race). On the cobblestones, I remember being totally focused on staying upright and avoiding crashes. It was only in the last five kilometres, in the outskirts of Roubaix, that it really started to sink in. Overcoming all these sectors is a unique feeling. A sense of relief and the pride that comes from such an extraordinary accomplishment, one that forces you to dig really deep.“

It is worth noting that, before even broaching the subject of all these painful memories, Bauhaus kicked off the conversation with a caveat: „I’m really looking forward to blasting onto the cobblestones again in support of Heinrich (Haussler) and Marcel (Sieberg).“ The foundations are barely in place, but the next building phase is already under way…
@ASO

Julian Alaphilippe gewinnt Mailand – San Remo

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 6:40:14
2 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5 Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
6 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma
7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
9 Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First
10 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
11 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:03
12 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:00:08
13 Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:24
14 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:27
15 Magnus Cort (Den) Astana
16 Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
17 Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin
18 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
19 Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
20 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data

Wiedererstarkter Peter Sagan holt den vierten Rang bei Mailand – Sanremo

Mit der Primaverawird der Radsportfrühling in Europa so richtig eingeläutet. Das erste Radsportmonument führt dabei über fast 300 km von Mailand an die ligurische Küste nach Sanremo. Am Beginn musste das Peloton dabei den Turcchino Pass überqueren, die Entscheidung fällt aber traditionell an den Capi, kleine Anstiege, die nach sechs Rennstunden den Unterschied machen. Am bekanntesten sind dabei die letzten beiden Scharfrichter, Cipressa und Poggio di Sanremo, an denen schon oft eine Selektion das Rennen vorentschieden hat. Fast wie üblich bildete sich nach dem Start schnell eine Spitzengruppe, die über weite Strecken des Tages das Geschehen an der Spitze bestimmen konnte. Zehn Fahrer fuhren bis zu 11 Minuten Vorsprung auf das Feld heraus, in dem BORA – hansgrohe früh an der Spitze zu finden war. Mit Peter Sagan und Sam Bennett hatte das deutsche Team heute gleich zwei Topfavoriten im Rennen, daher übernahm man auch entsprechend Verantwortung im Peloton. Mehr als fünf Stunden zeigte sich Maciej Bodnar immer wieder an der Spitze des Feldes für BORA – hansgrohe und auch eine verzweifelte Attacke eines der Ausreißer konnte nicht verhindern, dass eine geschlossene Gruppe der Favoriten die Cipressa in Angriff nahm. Erst in der Abfahrt folgte die erste ernste Offensive, die aber ebenfalls erfolglos blieb. Der Poggio musste einmal mehr die Vorentscheidung bringen und es waren J. Alaphilippe und Peter Sagan die nun Akzente setzten. Sagan präsentierte sich in bestechender Form und war hauptverantwortlich dafür, dass sich sieben Fahrer entscheidend absetzen konnten. Doch auch in diesem Jahr war dem 3-fachen Weltmeister der Sieg auf der Via Roma nicht vergönnt. In einem engen Sprint erreichte Sagan letztlich den vierten Rang. Den Sieg holte sich der Franzose J. Alaphilippe.
Reaktionen im Ziel
„Ich habe mich heute gut gefühlt, noch nicht ganz bei 100 % aber viel besser als letzte Woche. Das Rennen hat sich entwickelt, wie ich es erwartet hatte, eine große Gruppe kam gemeinsam zum Poggio und es gab dort einige Attacken. Ich wollte niemand ziehen lassen, und habe viele Lücken geschlossen. Mit sieben Fahrern sind wir in die Abfahrt gegangen. Der Sprint war dann irgendwie seltsam, sehr langsam. Erst spät kamen die Antritte. Ich war etwas eingeklemmt, habe zwar noch eine Lücke gefunden, aber es war zu spät. Mein BORA – hansgrohe Team hat einen super Job gemacht, leider hat es wieder nicht für den Sieg gereicht. Aber auch Gratulation an Alaphilippe.“ – Peter Sagan

„Wir können uns nichts vorwerfen. Das Team hat einen tollen Job gemacht. Es war eine Gruppe vorne, die wir mit Bodi gut kontrollieren konnten. Im Finale waren noch genügend Jungs vorne, um Peter in den Poggio zu bringen. Dort konnte sich eine Gruppe absetzen, aber Peter war dabei. Eigentlich sollte er aus dieser Gruppe der schnellste Fahrer sein, aber nach seiner Krankheit fehlt ihm einfach noch der letzte Punch. Aber wie gesagt, wir sind zufrieden. Alle sind ein gutes Rennen gefahren, und Peter hat gezeigt, dass er in guter Form ist, das ist das Wichtigste. Die nächsten Rennen können also kommen, dort werden wir wieder um den Sieg mitkämpfen.“ – Enrico Poitschke, sportlicher Leiter
© BORA – hansgrohe

Rückblick Paris-Roubaix

THE FIRST TIME IN HELL: IURI FILOSI (I/IV)
„Just the thought of it still makes my body ache“

There is a turning point in every cyclist’s career. About forty riders tackle Paris–Roubaix for the first time every year. Bitter or sweet, their first taste of cobblestones will stay with them forever. From now until 14 April, four riders who made their debut in 2018 will look back on their experience and tell paris-roubaix.fr all about this singular rite of passage. The race was an ordeal for Italian Iuri Filosi, but he is itching for another go.
„They call it the Hell of the North, and I understood why.“ Watching the race mesmerised on TV, growing up hearing all the stories about Francesco Moser (a three-time winner between 1978 and 1980) or being honed in the Italian school of cycling —nothing can really prepare a rider for his first contact with the cobblestones of Paris–Roubaix. It is a painful shock that Iuri Filosi managed to overcome last year. Delko–Marseille Provence’s Italian rider managed to drag his ailing body to the legendary velodrome within the time limit and finish his first Paris–Roubaix in 99th place, 23 minutes behind the winner, Peter Sagan.
„It hurt a lot“, stresses the young Italian, looking back on his experience as a rookie in a brutal race. It did not take long for his luck to go south. He was fighting to get into the breakaway when a crash took him down in the first cobbled sector. It was only the beginning of a rough day in the Hell of the North: „It just went on and on and on… Yeah, it’s already been a year, but just the thought of it still makes my body ache“, he says with a smile as he holds his left wrist. „I suffered all day long, but I wanted to finish on my debut. I did it. I came in 99th out of 101 finishers, but I did it.“
“I think the hardest part
is the Arenberg Forest.
The bike just seems
glued to the road”
In fact, the months before the race were already rife with ill omens for Iuri Filosi. „I had a difficult winter. I had to skip a lot of training sessions due to sickness and my form wasn’t where I wanted it to be“, he reminisces. „But I really wanted to take part and, above all, finish the race. It was a gruelling experience.“ The Italian felt the aftermath for a long time. „After Roubaix, I got tendinitis of the foot and it plagued me for a good four or five months. The intense pain made it hard for me to race or even train.“
Before the first cobblestones, the ball got rolling in Compiègne with the final preparations on Place du Château and a mid-morning start. A quick glance at Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet, the „stars of the race“, was enough to pile the pressure on Iuri Filosi. „I was all stressed out“, he explains. „I didn’t know what to expect. The team wanted to be up front. I was unfortunate enough to get caught up in a crash in the first cobbled sector. It took me 30-odd kilometres to get back on. In the end, the only ones left were Julien (Trarieux, a teammate of Filosi’s who finished 98th) and me.“ The scenario almost repeated itself shortly afterwards. „Trentin crashed. I managed to dodge him, but I ended up in a field. It took me another 20 kilometres to rejoin the group. I damaged my bike, had to change my shoes…“
The Hell of the North is not known for showing mercy to first-times, and Iuri Filosi had to tackle the fiendish course in a small group. „We rode the last 90 kilometres, or even longer, with three or four other men…“ It was anything but a walk in the park or a tourist ride, but the Italian still discovered a legendary ambience and some of the most hallowed roads in cycling. „The atmosphere in the cobbled sectors… Seeing it was already awesome, but actually experiencing it is quite something“, he says with a smile. The adrenaline rush drives you forward.“
„The last sector is amazing, you know that you made it and you’re going to finish the race“, he explains. „I think the hardest part is the Arenberg Forest. The bike just seems glued to the road.“ Bad enough to call it „the most beautiful s**t place in cycling“, as fellow Italian Filippo Pozzato (runner-up in Roubaix in 2009) once described it? „That’s exactly what it is“, laughs the young rider, whose experience on the cobblestones before his baptism by fire was limited to „just a few Belgian classics with Nippo. There were 10 or 15 kilometres of cobblestones. Compare that with almost 60 in Roubaix…“
Finishing his first Hell of the North was „a personal achievement“ for Iuri Filosi. It shows you what kind of rider you are, it’s a trial by fire. You see whether it’s worth it to focus on this type of races or you should look for something else.“ In fact, he is pencilled in to ride the race again this year. „I hope to have fun“, he says.
@ASO