VeloHuman spoke with a few of the riders at the Paris-Roubaix startline in Compiègne to get the inside scoop on how the Queen of the Classics might play out.
Hayden Roulston (Trek Factory Racing)
How are the legs?
I’m okay. This is the last race for a lot of people here today so it’s always a full-gas race and it’s always a stressful race but it’s one of the most beautiful races of the year.
Is the team feeling strong coming in?
Yeah obviously we lost Fabian and it’s a big, big loss, you can’t replace him, but you know we’ve got Devolder, Stuyven, we’ve still got some good young riders and you know, we’re here to fight and like every other team here, we’re here with a shot.
Are there any specific sections of cobbles you’ve got your eyes on?
The first section is always a very nervous section. It’s not the hardest section but it’s always a very nervous section. And then you’ve got the section before Arenberg, that’s a very important section, and obviously Arenberg, and then you know later on you’ve got Pévèle and you’ve also got Carrefour de l’Arbre and they’re obviously crunch sections but the race is sort of . . . well before then, normally.
Top rivals you’re watching?
We don’t have our eyes on anyone. Kristoff is definitely on a hot streak but this is the most open race on the calendar in my opinion, especially missing Boonen and Fabian, there’s a lot of guys that could win today.
Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Garmin)
Are you feeling recovered and ready to go?
I’m feeling good. We didn’t do much from Thursday on, just rested and kept the tank full so yeah, ready to go.
What did you learn as a team at Flanders that you might be able to use here?
Mentally, I was a bit different in Flanders than I am now. I was coming back from an injury and now the body feels ready to go again, so I want to go for a result today.
Is there any particular place that you have circled along the route as maybe a good place to go for it?
No, I think it’s hard to pick a spot. I think the last 70 kilometers, it can happen everywhere. . . . And also, like last week it’s going to be an open race, there are a couple of big top favorites but behind them there’s a group of riders who can go alone or in a group to the velodrome. I think it’s going to be a really fast race, where you need to keep your eyes open and not be afraid to go in moves.
Daniel Oss (BMC Racing Team)
Will there be relief getting to the velodrome after all these cobbled races?
Yeah, the race is difficult—but in the final we’ll be there. We have the legs. We have the team, we have a lot of motivation, we really want to arrive in front to play with a win.
You’ve been very aggressive in the Cobbled Classics so far as a team. Sometimes this race is about aggression, other times it’s just about attrition. Do you plan to try to keep launching attacks here or will you maybe try to stay patient?
That’s a big point, because until Flanders, we were really aggressive but in Flanders we waited a little bit and we took the podium. So maybe in this kind of race, it is really important to conserve the energy for the final and go the best in the final sector, in the final kilometers. But the team has to be there in the heavy attack, in the heavy moments, anything can happen.
You’ve been riding very well these past few races. How do you feel about your form?
Yeah. I’m really good I think! I’m in the best shape of my career until now, and I’m looking forward to staying in this condition in the next few years.