VeloHuman chatted with some of the riders taking on the Tour of Flanders at the startline in Bruges to get some insider insight on the way the 2015 Ronde might play out.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin)
We finally have good weather today. Does that work in your favor?
I think it’s in my advantage and I like it when we don’t have super bad conditions. It’s good, I like it.
How does absence of Fabian Cancellara affect the way Giant-Alpecin will ride this race?
Fabian was always like an orientation point in the race, so it will not make it easier, for sure. For everybody, now we have to make our own race, and I’m actually pretty sad that he’s not here, and I hope he’s getting fine again.
Do you think you can beat Kristoff again if this comes down to a sprint?
I think so. That would be the perfect situation but we will see. It’s a hard race, it’s a long race, and it definitely won’t be a sprint like in Sanremo.
Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale)
How do you see the race playing out scenario-wise?
Well for sure it’s going to be a small group, maybe one, two, four, a group of ten guys maximum at the end. I think it’s more open because Cancellara and Boonen are not there. So it’s going to be an interesting race, and it’s going to be funny to see who is going to take control, and maybe a group can go a long way from the finish and stay ahead because you don’t have one team controlling.
How’s the AG2R Morale heading into this race?
It’s pretty good team morale. I think we’re all motivated and will try to do our best. We’re not the big contender but that makes us stress-free and we’ll try to get a result that will be good for us.
Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka)
How is the team holding up with Edvald Boasson Hagen sidelined by a collarbone injury?
You never want to see one of your teammates get hurt so that’s never good. He was really our leader for the Ronde and for Paris-Roubaix next weekend. It’s definitely a blow to the team’s strategy but that’s sport and we just have to deal with it and come up with a Plan B.
What is Plan B?
Today I think Gerald [Ciolek] is going really well. The last few races he’s really been climbing strong. We hope he’ll make the final selections and be in a small group that sprints for a podium or even the victory.
What’s your role today?
We’ll see. I don’t think I’m going bad either so I’ll try to stay pretty quiet early on and hide a bit, and try to be the backup guy today. And if we don’t need a backup guy, I’ll see if I can lend him a hand in the final hour of the race.
We finally have decent weather! Thoughts?
Finally! It makes me a lot happier. It’s been a pretty rough Classics weather-wise and that really changes the dynamics of the race. When you get those horrible days like we had last week, it becomes more of an attrition thing. When you have this good weather, people tend to race a bit more aggressively in the finale, so the race tends to be a bit more explosive I think.