Archiv der Kategorie: Weltcup und Klassiker

Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2019

Liège, Sunday April 28th 2019 – Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) delivered on Sunday, capping off an impressive classics campaign with a solo win in the 105th edition of La Doyenne. After his places of 3rd in the Amstel Gold Race and 2nd in La Flèche Wallonne, the 34-year-old Danish champ made the most of the new route and built his victory in the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons before soloing away from everyone with 13 km to go to claim his 20th professional win, the first one in a one-day race! Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished second and Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) dominated the sprint in a small group to claim the third spot on the podium. Fuglsang is the second Danish to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège, 26 years after Rolf Sorensen.

Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer – www.plomi.smugmug.com
1 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 6:37:37
2 Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora – Hansgrohe 0:00:27
3 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora – Hansgrohe 0:00:57
4 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton – Scott
5 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
6 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama – FDJ
7 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Movistar Team
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain – Merida 0:01:00
9 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain – Merida 0:01:05
10 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:01:26
11 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:29
12 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky
13 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora – Hansgrohe
14 Jay Mc Carthy (Aus) Bora – Hansgrohe
15 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team

Formolo und Schachmann auf dem Podium: Rang zwei und drei für BORA – hansgrohe in Lüttich
Der älteste Radklassiker Lüttich-Bastogne-Lüttich, erstmals 1892 ausgetragen, fand heute zum 105. Mal in Belgien statt. Nach den starken Auftritten in der letzten Woche zählte BORA – hansgrohe heute mit zum Favoritenkreis. Im Vergleich zu den letzten Jahren wurde die Strecke in diesem Jahr geändert. Nicht mehr in Ans, einem Vorort von Lüttich, sondern näher am Zentrum und mit einer flachen Zielanfahrt präsentierten sich die 256 Kilometer dennoch schwierig mit insgesamt 11 Anstiegen. Nur sechs Grad und Regen setzten heute den Fahrern zu. Dennoch konnte sich kurz nach dem Start eine Acht-Mann-Gruppe vom Feld lösen und bis zu zehn Minuten Vorsprung herausfahren. Im Feld organisierten Sky, Deceuninck Quick-Step und BORA – hansgrohe die Verfolgung und 100 km vor dem Ziel war der Vorsprung der Ausreißer auf unter drei Minuten gefallen. Rund 25 Kilometer später zeigten sich zum ersten Mal die Favoriten im Rennen. Eine stark besetzte Gruppe mit rund 20 Fahrern, darunter Cesare Bennedetti und Max Schachmann von BORA – hansgrohe, konnte sich vom ersten Feld absetzen und schnell 30 Sekunden Vorsprung herausfahren. Durch diese Tempoverschärfung wurden auch die letzten Ausreißer an der Spitze eingeholt. Doch durch die Größe der Gruppe herrschte wenig Einigkeit unten den Fahrern an der Spitze und 10 Kilometer später schloss das erste Feld wieder auf. In einem Konter formierte sich kurz darauf erneut eine Gruppe. Zehn Fahrer hielten für mehrere Kilometer das Feld auf Distanz, bevor dort nach der „La Redoute“ BORA – hansgrohe das Tempo erhöhte. An der vorletzten Steigung war noch ein Fahrer an der Spitze, als Patrick Konrad attackierte. Der Österreicher präsentierte sich in starker Form, und schloss wenige Kilometer später zum Führenden auf. Noch vor der letzten Steigung konnten zwei weitere Fahrer aufschließen und die Gruppe erreichte mit 15 Sekunden Vorsprung die Cote de la Roche-aux-Faucons. Dort setzte J. Fuglsang eine eindrucksvolle Attacke, überholte die Gruppe um Konrad, doch mit Davide Formolo konnte ein weiterer Fahrer von BORA – hansgrohe das Hinterrad des Dänen halten. Mit M. Woods setzte sich ein Trio von den anderen Verfolgern ab, doch an der letzten Welle mussten zuerst Woods, und wenig später auch Formolo, abreißen lassen. Während Fuglsang nun einem souveränen Solosieg entgegenfuhr, konnte sich Davide an der zweiten Stelle halten. Woods wurde drei Kilometer vor dem Ziel von einer Verfolgergruppe eingeholt, in der sich Max Schachmann befand. J. Fuglsang holte am Ende den Sieg 27 Sekunden vor Davide Formolo, dahinter sicherte sich im Sprint Max Schachmann noch Rang drei. Mit zwei Fahrer auf dem Podium kann BORA – hansgrohe mit dem Ergebnis bei der „La Doyenne“ heute sehr zufrieden sein. Patrick Konrad und Jay McCarthy rundeten mit den Rängen 13 und 14 dieses Ergebnis sogar noch ab.
Reaktionen im Ziel
„Wir sind heute als Team ein tolles Rennen gefahren. Das Ergebnis spricht für sich selbst. Patrick’s Attacke war stark und Max und ich konnten uns ganz auf den letzten Anstieg konzentrieren. Jeder wusste, dass dort die Entscheidung fallen würde. Fuglsang hat attackiert und ich konnte mitgehen, aber auf der Gegenwelle habe ich auf den letzten Metern den Anschluss leider nicht mehr halten können. Er war heute der Stärkste. Ich habe dann auf den letzten Kilometern einfach voll durchgezogen, und bin mit diesem zweiten Rang überglücklich.“ – Davide Formolo

„Es war heute sehr kalt und daher ein unglaublich hartes Rennen, wahrscheinlich das Härteste, dass ich je gefahren bin. Zur Rennmitte habe ich die Brille gewechselt, zu diesem Zeitpunkt ging eine Windkante auf und ich war im zweiten Feld, da dachte ich schon, das Rennen sei verloren. Aber wir sind zurückgekommen und am Ende waren alle einfach kaputt. Auch ich hatte nicht mehr viele Körner, aber habe einfach immer weiter gekämpft. Davide war am letzten Berg superstark und konnte vorne mitgehen. Ich war in einer Gruppe dahinter und habe Kraft gespart. Ich denke, wir sind heute alle ein super Rennen gefahren. Am Ende konnte ich im Sprint noch Rang drei holen, und mit zwei Fahrern auf dem Podium können wir superzufrieden sein.“ – Maximilian Schachmann

„Heute bin ich wirklich stolz auf die Jungs, alle sind ein sehr starkes Rennen gefahren und unsere Taktik, die wir uns zurechtgelegt hatten, ist perfekt aufgegangen. Nach der La Redoute waren wir noch mit fünf Fahrern vorne, Cesare hatte dann die Aufgabe das Rennen zu kontrollieren. Ich habe gefragt, wer sich gut fühlt, denn wir wollten noch vor dem letzten Anstieg attackieren und Patrick hat das perfekt umgesetzt. Für Davide und Max ging es dann nur um den letzten Berg. Dort war Fuglsang einfach zu stark, er hat verdient gewonnen. Aber Davide ist lange drangeblieben und hat am Ende auch noch solo den zweiten Platz eingefahren, das war herausragend. Und auch Max ist super gefahren, er war in der Gruppe dahinter und hat dort den Sprint um Rang drei gewonnen. Das war heute eine großartige BORA – hansgrohe Teamleistung und ich kann vor den Jungs nur den Hut ziehen.“ – Enrico Poitschke, sportlicher Leiter
© BORA – hansgrohe

LIÈGE-BASTOGNE-LIÈGE 2019: D-1 / THE INFO

The key info:

 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) are ready for their final battle of the Spring with the 105th edition of La Doyenne but most of the peloton hints the new finale designed in Liège will open the race.
 “It will be a different race”, the two-time winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes and hot favorite Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) anticipates, with the new finish and challenging weather conditions.
 Stage-race experts such as Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) or Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) are also ready to get in the mix and challenge the usual contenders.

A NEW FINALE FOR LA DOYENNE
The changes brought on a Monument always come along with heated debates. It’s true for cathedrals, and also for iconic races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège whose finale has been revamped this year. The new finish line is set in the heart of the city, and as a consequence there are now 15 kilometres after the last climb. Most riders share the opinion expressed by the four-time winner of La Doyenne Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team): “The race will open up earlier, with attacks in the Côte de la Redoute and even before, in the sequence Wanne -Stockeu – Haute Levée”. This perspective delights Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal): “I think the sequence Wanne – Stockeu – Haute-Levée will impact the race a lot and I absolutely don’t believe in a sprint finish.” Different kind of rider, different views for Nathan Haas (Katusha Alpecin): “If I can be up front after the last climb, then I can have a sprint. At La Flèche, I had to try and anticipate before the Mur de Huy… Here, it’s Alaphilippe who needs to drop me before the finale!” Finally, the young Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), 5th in the Amstel Gold Race and La Flèche Wallonne, hinted that “the race may open earlier but the favorites remain the same, they’re the ones who’ll have enough strength to hold on in the climbs.”
ALAF-FUGLSANG: THEIR FINAL DUEL OF THE SPRING
Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne… And now La Doyenne? Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) have been battling it out on the classics this Spring and Liège-Bastogne-Liège offers them a final chance to settle things in this campaign. “It’s a dream race for me, one of the hardest, with a long history… It can only be beautiful to win here”, the Frenchman said on Saturday. “In the end there’s no secret, it will only be strong riders at the front and I hope to be up there. Jakob is very strong and I’ll have to fight hard to stay with him in the climbs.” Alaphilippe finished 2nd in Liège in 2015 and 4th last year. Fuglsang’s best result was 9th in 2015. But “I’ve probably never been that strong for Liège”, the Danish star said. “I’ve never actually had a big result here and I’m hoping to change it tomorrow. I feel super and the whole start of the season has been great for me.”

VAN DER BREGGEN: “IT WILL BE A DIFFERENT RACE”
Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) can only be viewed as the hot favorite for the 3rd edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège Femmes: she won the first two editions and claimed this Wednesday a historic 5th victory in a row on the Flèche Wallonne. “I’m excited”, the Dutch star said on Saturday. “It’s a beautiful race. The weather doesn’t look that good so I think it will be a different race than other editions, also with the new finish. I feel really good now so it’s always nice to have this kind of race in the right moment, when you have the best condition. I think the previous route suited me better but it’s good to have something different for us and for the fans.” The women’s peloton will start from Bastogne at 10:55 and will face five climbs over 138.5 kilometres of demanding racing.

DUMOULIN, NIBALI, YATES… GC GUYS GET IN THE MIX
Liège-Bastogne-Liège is a unique kind of race, and it shows on the startlist with Grand Tour winners like Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) taking on the challenge against the classics experts. “I hope to win! But I don’t think that’s realistic, I only came back from an altitude camp two days ago”, Dumoulin said. “I’m here with the Giro in my mind but I hope to do well in Liège.” Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), mostly known for his GC abilities (4th in the 2016 Tour de France) but also a winner of La Clasica San Sebastian, hopes to shine despite his crash on Wednesday: “I’m a little bit banged up but I managed not to break anything. The condition is there, I just need a bit of better luck. It’s a hard long race, with a lot of climbing. We’ll see what happens in the finale but I think it’s a good race for me and I hope to have good legs like I’ve had in the past couple of months.” As for Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), he is set to arrive in Liège Saturday afternoon, after finishing 3rd of the Tour of the Alps on Friday.

BARDET: “I’M FEELING MORE LIKE AN UNDERDOG”
Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) displayed his usual enthusiasm as he lines up for his seventh participation in his “favorite one-day race”. After finishing 3rd last year in Ans, the French climber wants to see what he can do with the new route: “It might change the way many riders race, we’ll have to pay more attention earlier in the race. Right now, nobody knows how and where things will play out, it’s only the first year with these changes. Myself, I’m feeling more like an underdog, because my condition is a bit uncertain.”
@ASO

LIÈGE-BASTOGNE-LIÈGE 2019:

Key points:
 Next Sunday, the 105th edition of Liège–Bastogne–Liège will bring down the curtain on a spring classics campaign in which team Deceuninck–Quick-Step and its leader Julian Alaphilippe have consistently trounced the opposition. After taking the Flèche Wallonne for the second time, Alaphilippe is the odds-on favourite to win the Old Lady, a race still missing from his collection.
 The runner-up on the mur de Huy, Jakob Fuglsang, is also a serious contender, but there are many other riders in with a shout, including Michael Matthews, Alejandro Valverde, Romain Bardet, Michał Kwiatkowski, Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Dumoulin and Greg Van Avermaet.

The Old Lady marks the end of the spring classics campaign. Its place as the grand finale of this part of the season only makes victory in the centre of Liège more prestigious and desirable. It could also encapsulate all the battles that have taken place on the roads of France, Belgium, Spain and Italy, where the riders who will animate the race on Sunday have already racked up victories and top placings. Among them are the two champions who stole the show on the Mur de Huy yesterday, Julian Alaphilippe and Jakob Fuglsang, who are leading the charge in the Ardennes for the most prolific teams of the 2019 season so far: Deceuninck–Quick-Step with 25 victories and Astana with 22. By taking his second win in the Flèche Wallonne, the Frenchman who has been dominating the classics season has consolidated his position as the odds-on favourite, but his victory was narrow enough to spark speculation that fatigue is starting to set in, as Alaphilippe himself is ready to admit: „I’m starting to feel tired, I’ve spent a lot since the start of the season“. Despite losing to his nemesis several times (Tirreno–Adriatico, Strade Bianche and Flèche Wallonne), Jakob Fuglsang has closer than ever before to winning a top-flight classic… and the peculiarities of the Old Lady could well play into his hands in a new showdown with „Alaf“.
However, Alaphilippe and Fuglsang will not be facing a two-man duel, but a pitched battle featuring even more contenders than on the Chemin des Chapelles in Huy. Among the men who showed no real signs of weakness, several riders could go on the attack on Côte de la Redoute, on La Roche-aux-Faucons and in the streets of the Ardent City, including young German rider Maximilian Schachmann (5th in Huy), stepping up to the plate after his leader Peter Sagan decided not to take part, as well as Michael Matthews (8th), Enrico Gasparotto (10th), world champion Alejandro Valverde (11th), who has still got an ace or two up his sleeve, Romain Bardet (13th), Dylan Teuns (14th), Michał Kwiatkowski (16th) and former winner Wout Poels (22nd). Others sat out the Flèche Wallonne to save themselves for Liège, including Vincenzo Nibali, as cunning as ever, as well as Tom Dumoulin, Greg Van Avermaet and Lilian Calmejane. They all share the same dream: to conquer the Old Lady.

25 teams, main contenders
Australia
Mitchelton–Scott: Yates (GBR) and Albasini (CHE)
Bahrain
Bahrain–Merida: Nibali (ITA) and Teuns (BEL)
Belgium
Deceuninck–Quick-Step: Alaphilippe (FRA), Gilbert (BEL) and Mas (ESP)
Lotto–Soudal: Vanendert, Wellens and Lambrecht (BEL)
Sport Vlaanderen–Baloise: Van Gestel (BEL)
Wanty–Groupe Gobert: G. Martin (FRA) and Eiking (NOR)
Wallonie Bruxelles: Jules (FRA)
France
Ag2r–La Mondiale: Bardet, Cosnefroy and Vuillermoz (FRA)
Groupama–FDJ: Gaudu, Molard and Madouas (FRA)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits: Simon (FRA) and J. Herrada (ESP)
Total Direct Énergie: Calmejane, Hivert and Grellier (FRA)
Arkéa–Samsic: Gesbert and Ledanois (FRA)
Vital Concept–B&B Hotels: Vichot and Gautier (FRA)
Germany
Team Sunweb: Dumoulin (NLD) and Matthews (AUS)
Bora–Hansgrohe: Schachmann (DEU)
Kazakhstan
Astana Pro Team: Fuglsang (DNK) and Lutsenko (KAZ)
Netherlands
Jumbo–Visma: Gesink and Tolhoek (NLD)
Poland
CCC Team: Van Avermaet (BEL) and Ten Dam (NLD)
South Africa
Team Dimension Data: Valgren (DEN), Gasparotto (ITA) and Slagter (NED)
Spain
Movistar Team: Valverde, Landa (ESP) and Quintana (COL)
Switzerland
Katusha-Alpecin: Zakarin (RUS)
United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates: Martin (IRL) and Ulissi (ITA)
United Kingdom
Team Sky: Kwiatkowski (POL), Poels (NED) and De la Cruz (ESP)
United States
EF Education First: Martínez (COL) and Woods (CAN)
Trek–Segafredo: Gogl (AUS) and Felline (ITA)

Fleche Wallone 2019

Huy, Wednesday April 24th 2019 – A year after overthrowing Alejandro Valverde from his throne, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) conquered the Mur de Huy again to take his second victory on La Flèche Wallonne. The race opened up much earlier than usual but the Frenchman was once again the strongest in the final climb to edge Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team), one of his most intimate enemies. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) ahead of the youngsters Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal) and Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe). Julian Alaphilippe is only the fourth rider to win Milan-San Remo and La Flèche Wallonne the same year after Eddy Merckx, Maurizio Fondriest and Laurent Jalabert.

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4:55:14
2 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
3 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:06
4 Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:08
5 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
7 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
9 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:11
10 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Dimension Data
11 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
12 Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
13 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
14 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida
15 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma
16 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), winner of La Flèche Wallonne: “Last year, it was my first big victory, ahead of a huge champion, it was a very special win that I’ll never forget. Now I’ve confirmed it’s one of the races that suit me the most. I felt strong expectations after my victory last year and with the fact that I’ve always been on the podium since the first time I came here. I tried to get away from the pressure after my good run early this season, to only focus on what I and the team had to do. It was harder than last year. It’s the kind of day that usually gets me very quickly pissed off, so I’m very happy. With the wind, it was very nervous from the start, it was mentally exhausting. On the final circuit, a rider in front of me did a bit of non-sense and he broke three wires on my wheel so I had to stop to change my bike and we were close to the finish… But we’ve done it all perfect with the team. I’m very happy.”

Huy, Wednesday April 24th 2019 – Like on the four previous editions, but this time with the World Champion’s jersey on her shoulders, Anna van der Breggen conquered the Flèche Wallonne Femmes for a fifth time. The Dutch rider waited for the final climb up the Mur de Huy to produce her effort, catching Newiadoma and eventually beating to line her compatriot Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton Scott) while her Boels-Dolmans team mate Annika Langvad had to settle for third spot.
Olympic Champion Anne van der Breggen wins the Fleche the 4th time in a row!

1 Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 3:17:04
2 Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott Women 0:00:01
3 Annika Langvad (Den) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 0:00:04
4 Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv 0:00:14
5 Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg 0:00:16
6 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM 0:00:17
7 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv 0:00:20
8 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Bigla Pro Cycling Team 0:00:23
9 Brodie Chapman (Aus) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank 0:00:26
10 Margarita Victo Garcia Cañellas (Spa) Movistar Team Women 0:00:33
11 Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott Women 0:00:36

Text ASO
Fotos: Gerhard Plomitzer

Schachmann holt Rang fünf in einem unglaublichen Finale beim Amstel Gold Race

1 Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon – Circus 6:28:18
2 Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First 0
3 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0
4 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick – Step 0
5 Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora – Hansgrohe 0
6 Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0
7 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC Team 0
8 Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama – FDJ 0
9 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0
10 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton – Scott
11 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:00:02
12 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek – Segafredo
13 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:46
14 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team
15 Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton – Scott 0:00:54
16 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
17 Jay Mc Carthy (Aus) Bora – Hansgrohe
18 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Dimension Data

Die 54. Austragung des Amstel Gold Race startete heute um 10:30 in Maastricht. Die gewohnt anspruchsvolle Strecke führte das Fahrerfeld über insgesamt 266 km gespickt mit 34 Anstiegen. Auch heute konnte sich früh im Rennen eine 11-köpfige Spitzengruppe bilden, die teilweise an die zehn Minuten Vorsprung herausfahren konnte. Im Feld arbeiteten die Teams Astana und Deceunick Quick-Step, weshalb sich ab Rennkilometer 150, unter deren Tempodiktat der Abstand zwischen Spitze und Peloton kontinuierlich verkleinerte. Besonders Astana drückte im Feld immer wieder auf das Tempo, doch es war M. Van der Poel der eine ernste Attacke 42 Kilometer vor dem Ende setzte. Nur G. Izaguirre konnte dem Niederländer zu diesem Zeitpunkt folgen und im Feld war man nun unter Zugzwang. Doch Deceunick Quick-Step reagierte sofort, holte die Ausreißer zurück und setzte einen Konter. BORA – hansgrohe wurde von dieser Rennsituation überrascht und verpasste diese erste echte Selektion, der nun auch die frühe Spitzengruppe zum Opfer fiel. Während J. Alaphilippe und J. Fuglsang an der Spitze waren, versuchten drei Verfolger die Lücke zu schließen. Dahinter befand sich nur noch ein kleines Feld mit Patrick Konrad, Max Schachmann und Jay McCarthy von BORA – hansgrohe, Peter Sagan hingegen war zu diesem Zeitpunkt bereits distanziert. Vor allem Jay arbeitete nun in der Gruppe, um die Verfolgung zu organisieren. Nach der letzten Auffahrt zum Cauberg, versuchten immer wieder Fahrer sich aus dem verkleinerten Feld abzusetzen, bevor Max Schachmann zu einer Attacke ansetzte. An der Spitze schien das Rennen entschieden zu sein, hinter dem Führungsduo lagen noch zwei Fahrer vor Schachmann, der aber Sekunde um Sekunde aufholen konnte. Doch auch hinter Max blieb das Rennen spannend und M. Van der Poel wollte sich ebenfalls noch nicht geschlagen geben. Als Schachmann zu den Verfolgern zwei Kilometer vor dem Ziel aufschließen konnte, war plötzlich auch eine Gruppe um Van der Poel wieder in Schlagdistanz. Auf der Zielgeraden verpokerten sich die beiden Spitzenreiter, Schachmann wurde von Van der Poel eingeholt und klemmte sich in dessen Windschatten, als dieser auf den letzten 100 Metern noch zum Sieg sprintete. Nach einer unglaublichen Leistung auf den letzten 15 Kilometern reichte es für Max letztlich zu einem starken fünften Rang, bei einem Rennen, das zweifellos in die Radsportgeschichte eingehen wird.
Reaktionen im Ziel
„Vor dem Anstieg an dem Alaphilippe losgefahren ist, habe ich leider etwas die Position verloren. Ich war dann einfach zu weit hinten um mitzugehen. Wir waren dann eine kleine Gruppe dahinter, und haben versucht etwas Tempo zu fahren. Nach dem Cauberg habe ich attackiert, war aber nicht sicher ob das die richtige Entscheidung war. Ich bin zuerst mal mein Tempo gefahren, aber als ich näher an die Verfolger herankam, habe ich alles gegeben. In dem Moment als ich aufschließen konnte, attackierte zuerst Kwiatkowski, ich habe versucht mitzugehen, aber plötzlich war Van der Poel an meinem Rad. Er ist dann einen sehr langen Sprint gefahren, und ich konnte mich in seinen Windschatten hängen. Aber nach 15 km Soloflucht und 260 km in den Beinen, hatte ich kaum noch Körner übrig. Daher bin ich mit dem fünften Rang heute auch zufrieden.“ – Maximilian Schachmann

„Am Beginn des Rennens haben wir uns darauf konzentriert keine große Gruppe wegzulassen. Das hat gut geklappt. An der entscheidenden Stelle waren wir mit Patrick, Max und Jay gut vertreten, leider konnte Peter dort aber dem Tempo nicht mehr folgen. Max hat dann eine unglaublich starke Leistung gezeigt und sich alleine auf die Verfolgung gemacht. Leider kam in dem Moment, als er zu den Verfolgern aufgeschlossen hat, auch die Gruppe dahinter wieder heran. Aber Max hat auch im Sprint noch alles richtig gemacht und einen sehr guten fünften Rang für uns eingefahren. Damit können wir sicher zufrieden sein, auch wenn wir mit Peter um den Sieg fahren wollten. Aber unsere jungen Fahrer haben heute die Kohlen aus dem Feuer geholt.“ – Enrico Poitschke, sportlicher Leiter
@BORA

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