Servais Knaven Talks About Roubaix

Michele Tomasi reports on a 2001 Roubaix winner’s recent interview with Bicisport.

This year, there is a Dutch rider who awaits the classics with impatience as never in the past.
After a career spent helping his captains, the victory in the 2001 Paris-Roubaix changed his prospects.
BS-Was your victory unexpected?
SN-Every year of my carrer I did ever a bit better. Many people told me that sooner or later I would win a important race. But I thought it wasn’t true. Then it happened.

BS-How do you remember the final kilometers?
SN-I worked very much for my mates, but in the last 80 kms I had the possibility to recover because Peeters was in the escape. Energy which was useful in the last kms. All worked well that day for me.

BS-How did you understand which it was a great victory?
SN – With the fans who sent me many emails. It was fantastic to understand how many people watched me when I was winning, of how many people love cycling.

BS -Do you feel something is different now that you have won a Classic?
SN – Now I train to win another big race. There is a different: before I thought I could ride occasionally with the best, now I think I can win something important.

BS -How will you behave with Museeuw and Vainsteins? (Vainsteins won’t run the first part of season)
SN -If I must help them, I will do it as in the past. But I believe now I’ve more liberty to ride for myself.

BS -Will you be one leader?
SN -I don’t think to be a leader, you cannot become a leader when you are older. My team already has its leaders. For me, the most important thing will be to stay near them, and so I can do also my race.

BS -Is it good to run with 2 men as them, or is it a limit?
SN -It’s good. They are really strong, and it isn’t easy hold up their pace.
If in the final you are still with them that means soemthing as well: you must do it by your own force and I did it.
That means that in Roubaix I have been at their level.

BS -What did you do, and what are you doing to specifically train for this?
SN -In winter I constantly do cyclocross. In Holland it’s cold, and it’s difficult training with regularity on road. So I do off road for have more confidence with the tough conditions, rain, mud, what you can find at Roubaix. Anyway it’s good training for anyone for that type of race.

BS -For you 2001 has been a great season. But for Domo, not the best performances.
SN -At the start it was hard because we didn’t know each other. We needed to know what we should do for each other. Then after the Tour the team worked ever better. And I think the 2002 will be better, already from spring.

BS -There is also Virenque at full time.
SN -Virenque is already thinking at the Tour.

BS -Is he a good team mate?
SN – To say the truth, we didn’t train togther very much. But we know that it’s better to have into our team a rider like him. He is very motivated. He is a guy who makes the right atmosphere in the team. A leader.

BS -As you?
SN -Calm down please! We will talk about that after next Roubaix.