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Roubaix - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - VAN AVERMAET Greg (BEL) Rider of BMC RACING TEAM pictured during a training - reconnaisance of the cobblestones sections of the Paris-Roubaix 2017 Cycling race on April 05, 2017 in Roubaix, France - photo JdM/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

A very full EUROTRASH Thursday, but Paris-Roubaix takes top billing. Results, reports, quotes and video from the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and Scheldeprijs. Top Story and team news from Roubaix. In other cycling news: Giro del Belvedere, Leopold König out of Giro d’Italia, Eschborn-Frankfurt line-up and Specialized believe in Boonen.

TOP STORY: Is Paris-Roubaix that good?
People rave on about how exciting the ‘Hell of the North’ is in the same way they say the Tour de France is the best Grand Tour, but we know that from a sporting point of view the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España have more to offer. The Tour is the race with the biggest hype, it’s the race that the riders and journalists least enjoy… but have to attend. Is Roubaix the same? De Ronde van Vlaanderen has iconic cobbles and with hills and has a following to compare with any Italian Tifosi. Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Giro de Lombardia can equal Roubaix for excitement and the finalé of Milan-Sanremo can be phenomenal (just the first 200K can be dull). So why is Paris-Roubaix the Queen of the Classics? Anything can happen on those murderous cobbles, but no matter what, a King of the road always wins. There maybe surprises on the course, but there is never a surprise at the finish line.

Roubaix can be a bit of a lottery, but if you are fit and strong, you make your own luck. They say if you have the speed, you skim across the top of the cobbles, but if you lose momentum or slow down then that is when you crash or puncture and your race is over. Is that why we love the race to Roubaix? Who knows, but we will be glued to the TV on Sunday and some lucky fans will be roadside.

Bring it on!

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2017
The 57th edition of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco started in the capital city of Navarre, Pamplona under clear skies and no wind. Stage 1 covered 154km and favored the sprinters in the peloton with only three short climbs and a very tricky finish. The last 3km in Equesibar were flat, but in the last 300 meters the peloton had to take a 90 degree corner.

After some kilometers of racing a trio went up the road and built an ample gap of 3:50. At first the peloton wasn’t in hurry to catch them, but with 70km remaining the bunch set the pace to catch the escapees. Sunweb and Movistar took control over the pace. At the 21 km mark the race went on fire. The escapees were caught and the peloton started to form their lead-outs. Bora-Hansgrohe rider Jay McCarthy and his teammates took control over the pack and raised the pace. It was a thrilling duel with Sunweb. All the Bora-Hansgrohe boys did a good job, stayed together and pulled hard.

In the last 2 kilometers Jay McCarthy was still in front of the pack fighting for the final. He was first through the last corner at the 300meter mark. In a nail-breaking bunch sprint Michael Matthews launched his infamous explosive sprint, an effort that proved to be too strong for his opponents and he powered to victory taking his first win wearing Sunweb colors, McCarthy was second.

Sarriguren - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Michael James MATTHEWS (Australia / Team Sunweb) pictured duringstage - 1 of the 57th Vuelta al Pais Vasco (2.UWT) - from Eguesibar to Sarriguren (153.3k) photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner and overall leader, Michael Matthews (Sunweb): “Today was a perfect day and the team worked all day out the front on their own. The guys put me into the perfect position to win the stage and I can’t thank them enough for their help and support today. I am really happy I could take the win after all of their amazing work and dedication. The team did a very good job controlling the peloton all day, aiming towards a sprint for Michael,” said Team Sunweb coach Morten Bennekou (DEN). “When the early breakaway was caught with 20km to go we kept focused and positioned until the final. We are all especially happy because the victory was based on a strong team performance and an equally as strong individual performance. We are looking forward to riding with the yellow jersey tomorrow.”

2nd, Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a good day today and the team showed great teamwork. It wasn’t exactly our original plan. We were hoping to lead out Michael Schwarzmann. I went from 400 meters to go hoping I had Schwarzi on my wheel as we knew being in the top one or two in the last corner was in important. I am happy with the result for the team and I am sure if the team keeps showing this kind of teamwork the top of the podium is not fair away.”

Lluis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “It was always going to be difficult today, we knew that from the start. The peloton was controlling the break and we never got more than 4 minutes. It was impossible for the breakaway to succeed today. There are very few stages here for the sprinters teams so they have to make the most of the opening, flatter stages. But I’m going really well.I needed to get up there today for my confidence and to feel like a bike rider again after my crash. Today was just the warm-up, tomorrow even better.”

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 1 Result:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb in 3:45:07
2. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-Scott
4. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
8. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ
9. Ben Swift (GB) UAE Team Emirates
10. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe.

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Overall After Stage 1:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb in 3:45:07
2. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-Scott
4. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac
8. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ
9. Ben Swift (GB) UAE Team Emirates
10. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe.

Stage 1:

Swiss star Michael Albasini claimed an incredible sprint victory for Orica-Scott on the Stage 2 of Vuelta al Pais Vasco from Pamplona to Eltziego over 173km with two categorized climbs and another tricky final. Last year’s Leige-Bastogne-Leige runner up showed his power and experience to launch out from the wheels with 300 meters to go and hold on all the way to the finish line to take the stage victory into Eltziego.

Fresh from an impressive ride on Sunday in the Vuelta la Rioja, where Albasini spent the day in the breakaway and still sprinted to second place, the win today gives the 36-year-old confidence in his current form. With the final six kilometers of the stage predominately downhill, the team worked hard to position both Gerrans and Albasini but also bearing in mind the position of their general classification hopeful Simon Yates.

The stage started much like stage 1 with a breakaway forming in the first 10 kilometers. Two riders, Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Luis Maté (Cofidis), quickly establish a sizeable advantage of three minutes and remained out front for the majority of the stage. The current race leaders, Team Sunweb, set the initial pace on the front of the peloton, gradually reeling in the duo before making the catch with just 14 kilometers remaining.

Orica-Scott remained in good position at the head of the peloton keeping Gerrans and Albasini in the front position ahead of the frantic, fast dash for the line. A late effort with around 500 meters to go saw Albasini move up to the front and launch from out of the wheels, successfully powering all the way to the line, to claim his first victory of the season.

Eltziego - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Michael Albasini (ORICA-Scott) - Ariel Maximiliano Richeze †(Quick-Step Floors) - Sean DE BIE (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) - Michael James MATTHEWS (Australia / Team Sunweb) pictured duringstage - 1 of the 57th Vuelta al Pais Vasco (2.UWT) - from Pamplona  to  Eltziego   (173.4k) - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott): “I actually didn’t feel so great during the stage, we had big chain rings on which I am not really used to riding but it was downhill and very fast in the end and it actually worked out very well. We decided around 25 kilometers to go that I would try the sprint today. I was looking before the race on the satellite pictures and for me it was pretty clear that we wouldn’t change position much in the final 300-400 meters. When the guys attacked in the final I went straight away and we didn’t change position much so that was the key to winning today. I feel good at the moment, I had two good weeks of training after Milan-San Remo and already in La Rioja on Sunday I felt really good and was able to pull out a result. Even yesterday I was able to do a good job for Simon Gerrans to lead him out so it is actually really good to win today. It gives me a lot of confidence for the upcoming races.”

Orica-Scott DS, Neil Stephens: “The plan both today and yesterday was to try and get both Albasini and Gerrans into a position where they could go for the stage. They are both quick riders and today the guys spoke out on the road around 25 kilometers to go and decided to have a go with Albasini. We were really conscious that the final six kilometers were downhill. It was meant to be a bit of a stronger wind and the rest of the teams had the same thing in mind. For some of our riders it had to be their finishing line to get these guys into good position into the final kilometers of the race. From there on it was a case of staying in a good place. Even Simon Yates went up to the front and once he was there, we knew he was ok and that he wouldn’t really lose position, so all the guys did a really good job. In the final part it was a bit of surfing for position and that is what Albasini did really well. He isn’t afraid to hit out early and that is what he did and it paid off for him today.”

Break rider, Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “It was always going to be tough out there in the wind with just two guys.There are some breaks that work and others that don’t. This breakaway helped my teammate Lluis Mas secure the intermediate sprints classification for another day at least, so it was not it vain by any means. Now the objective will be to recover well and live to fight another day.”

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 2 Result:
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott in 4:35:22
2. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
3. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
5. Paul Martens (Ger) LottoNl-Jumbo
6. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Team UAE Emirates
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
8. Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ
9. Manuele Mori (Ita) Team UAE Emirates
10. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky.

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Overall After Stage 2:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb in 8:20:29
2. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
3. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
6. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
7. Matej Mohoric (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
8. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
10. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.

Stage 2:

Stage 3 of Vuelta al Pais Vasco was an eventful one, bringing spectacle, drama and a reshuffle of the general classification, after two straight days which ended up in a bunch sprint. Starting from Gasteiz, the 160.5km-long stage took the riders over six ranked climbs, last of which featured just a few kilometers before the finish in San Sebastian, a city renowned worldwide for its gastronomy, cultural events and also for being home of Spain’s only World Tour one-day event.

Sensing the impact the day could have on the overall standings, the peloton kept on a leash all the riders who tried to go clear in the first hour. Eventually, nine men got green light and opened a gap, Quick-Step Floors’ Eros Capecchi being one of them. The maximum advantage fell short of the three-minute mark, as several of the GC contenders’ teams weren’t keen on the idea of letting the escapees take a comfortable margin.

Inside the last 50 kilometers, Julian Alaphilippe was involved in a crash as the bunch was passing through the feedzone, but fortunately he didn’t suffer any injuries and could continue the stage, albeit behind the pack, who was two minutes ahead by the time the best young rider of Paris-Nice remounted.

With around 20 kilometers left, the breakaway got reabsorbed by the peloton, who put the hammer down and accelerated in an attempt to shake off race leader Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb). Inside the final 15 kilometers, as the riders were climbing on the day’s sixth classified ascent, Mikael Cherel (AG2R) attacked and David De La Cruz responded. Seeing the two of them crafted a gap, the 27-year-old Spaniard pushed clear, distanced the Frenchman and by the time he crested the climb already had a 16-second lead.

Behind, the chase was on, but David took advantage of the narrow and twisty roads taking him to San Sebastian, fighting for every second and making sure he’ll take on the final three flat kilometers of the stage with a gap which will keep his hopes of nabbing the win alive. Movistar and Sky pulled hard to reel in the Quick-Step Floors rider, but all they could do was to reduce the deficit as David crossed the line victorious for the second time this season, following the closing stage of Paris-Nice.

Stage winner and overall leader, David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors): “This morning, during the team briefing, we talked about trying something on the last climb. As we arrived at the bottom, I remained attentive and when Cherel went I took his wheel and worked with him to build an advantage. Knowing there was an organized chase behind, I then decided to go alone and ride full gas until the finish. The yellow jersey came as a bonus today. I’m very happy to top the rankings here and I want to enjoy this beautiful day. I’m not thinking of the GC yet, because we still have Arrate and a hard individual time trial left, but I want to assure everyone that I’ll give it my all to bring other good results to the team, who did so much for me and helped me improve gradually since joining them.”

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was great team effort today, I am thankful that the team gave me the chance to sprint again for a good result. The boys made a great lead-out. Tomorrow will be a tough stage for sure I will give my best but I think we will have a good option with Patrick, who is in good shape.”

5th, Giovani Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): “Not a bad day for us. We were few riders in the front. I tried to sprint and I finished in 5th place. I am happy with my condition and I am happy today for Ion, he was very strong today.”

Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “It was a strong breakaway, but the bunch wasn’t giving us much of a gap behind so it was always going to be complicated for the break to succeed. At least I was able to get the teams jersey up there and show that we are very serious about this race”

Jaime Roson (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “I said from this morning that I was going to attack on the last climb and thats what I did. I put my cards on the table today and will be ready to do the same on Friday’s tough stage. The form is pretty good and I showed that again today”

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 3 Result:
1. David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors in 3:54:25
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:03
3. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
5. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6. Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Sunweb.

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Overall After Stage 3:
1. David De La Cruz (Spa) Quick-Step Floors in 12:14:54
2. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:03
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
5. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Rudy Molard (Fra) FDJ
7. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar.

Stage 3:

Scheldeprijs 2017
Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) was unstoppable at the 105th edition of the Scheldeprijs, which marked Tom Boonen’s final pro race in front of his home supporters of Belgium. The 36-year-old Belgian, who will retire after Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, was prominent at the front during the entire race – which left from Mol, his birthplace, and passed through his hometown of Balen – and guided the bunch inside the closing stages of the event, before a big crash split the peloton with four kilometers remaining, leaving around 20 riders to fight for victory in Schoten.

Launched by Matteo Trentin, who picked up lead-out duties after Fabio Sabatini hit the ground, Kittel opened his sprint with 250 meters remaining and held off the charge of Elia Viviani (Sky) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) to take his fifth Scheldeprijs win and extend his record at Flanders’ oldest classic, where he first triumphed in 2012.

Schoten - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Marcel KITTEL (Germanu / Team Quick Step - Floors) - Elia VIVIANI (Italy / Team Sky) - Nacer BOUHANNI (France / Team Cofidis) pictured during the UCI Europe Tour 105th Scheldeprijs cycling race with start in Mol and finish in Schoten on April 05, 2017 in Schoten, Belgium - photo GvG/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Scheldeprijs winner, Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors): “It was some pressure to win, being the defending champion, and I’m happy I could finish off the great job of my teammates. It was an important day also because Tom rode for the last time in Belgium. He was incredible during the race, sacrificing himself for the team and for a good result, despite having his big goal of the season on Sunday. He showed again what a great rider he is and I’m happy to end my relationship with him in such a way. I hope he will have reasons to smile after Paris-Roubaix, where I wish him all the best in his attempt to bring a fifth cobble-shaped trophy home. The mood in the team is fantastic, we are winning everywhere and that gives us all a huge motivation to keep going like that. You could see that also today, when everyone was involved in the chase, from Tim to Zdenek and from Saba, who unfortunately crashed, to Tom. I’m grateful to all of them! Can’t say how happy I am to win again this race, which I really like a lot. I’ll now take a break before returning to action at the Tour of California. It will be only my second time there, but I’m looking forward to this race, because it’s very well-organized and the atmosphere is great.”

4th, Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal): “It was a miracle that André Greipel wasn’t involved in the big crash at four kilometers from the finish. However, his rear wheel was hit so he couldn’t compete for the victory. It was up to me to sprint but it wasn’t easy to change the plan in full finale. I had also spilled my energy in the sprint preparation, but I tried my best. I chose the wheel of Kittel but ended up being pinched close to the barriers and couldn’t get myself free. The fourth place is a good result, especially if you see the quality of the sprinters who finished in front of me. I’m disappointed that due to bad luck we couldn’t fairly defend our chances.”

Two-time winner of Scheldeprijs, Tom Boonen, waved goodbye to his countrymen, who came in huge numbers to cheer for him, in both Mol and Schoten: “Today was unbelievable! I was touched by the warm welcome I received and by the huge support I got from the fans. I would never have dreamed of such incredible moments. I want to thank everyone for turning out and to the organizers for moving the start to Mol, making it a day I will never forget!”

5th, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The team did brilliant work today and managed to place me in a very good position for the final sprint. The plan we had in the morning was for Matteo Pelucchi to go for the sprint, but we changed it after the first lap. I tried to go on Kittel’s wheel, but another rider got in between. I think my timing for the sprint was very good, but it was a bit long for me and couldn’t hold the pace to the finish line. It was extremely positive today to have Peter Sagan working for the squad. He was advising us when and where to move and in essence organized the lead-out. It certainly is a great feeling to have the world champion working for his teammates and giving his invaluable advice. That gives you confidence in your own work and further motivation.

World champion, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I’m happy the day ended safely, avoiding any incidents during the race. I don’t feel very well at the moment and hope my form gets better for Paris-Roubaix.”

Mark Renshaw fractured the Talus bone in his right ankle after crashing out of the Scheldeprijs. A crash at 4km saw the Australian sprinter hit the deck along with Dimension Data teammates Youcef Reguigui and Jay Thomson. While Reguigui and Thomson could finish the race, it was clear Renshaw would be unable to continue. After further examination, it was found that Renshaw had sustained a fracture to the Talus bone in his right ankle. Renshaw is already on his way to Cologne where team doctor, Dr Dirk Tenner, will perform the necessary surgery.

Dr Dirk Tenner – Team Doctor: “Mark Renshaw will undergo surgery because of a fractured Talus bone in his right ankle. The surgery will be done in Cologne and Mark will spend two additional nights in hospital under observation before being able to return home. Without any complications, we expect that Mark will be able to start training in two weeks.”

Scheldeprijs Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors in 4:35:25
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
4. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Rudy Barbier (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data
8. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ
9. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Sunweb
10. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Cofidis.

Scheldeprijs ’17:

Paris-Roubaix 2017
The Queen of the Classics is fought out in France between Compiègne and Roubaix, but the wildest race on the calendar also has a Belgian soul. The number of victories speaks for itself, with 56 wins for Belgian riders. There will be two huge favorites at the start line for the 2017 edition who grew up in the purest of Flandrian traditions. But while Greg van Avermaet is still pedaling after his first win on one of cycling’s monuments, Tom Boonen will try to ride off into the sunset with an eighth triumph, which would put him in a league of his own with a fifth triumph on the cobblestones. Both have shown strong form recently, with the Rio Olympics champion taking the advantage with a runner-up result on the Tour of Flandres where “Tommeke” fell out of contention with a chain issue. The Belgian troops will not be led by their national champion, Philippe Gilbert, who beat van Avermaet last Sunday on De Ronde. But there are a few Belgian outsiders in their ranks such as Oliver Naesen and Jasper Stuyven.

Van Avermaet and Boonen will have to deal with the hungry as a wolf appetite of the world champion, who has had as many hardships as successes. Last year, Peter Sagan avoided the fall of Fabian Cancellara that threw a monkey wrench into the chase effort, devastating his hopes for victory. Last Sunday, he went down when he rode too close to a spectator in the waning kilometers of the race. Only one opportunity remains for the Slovakian to win a major classic this spring season, after Kwiatkowski edged him out by mere centimeters on Milan-San Remo. Perhaps just as threatening for the Belgian clan as the man in the rainbow jersey, Alexander Kristoff has slightly better results on the major races than John Degenkolb: 4th on San Remo and 5th on the Tour of Flandres, while the German finished 7th on each. Both could play an important role in the outcome.

The designated leader among the French riders is, as is often the case, found in the ranks of FDJ. Off his game on the Tour of Flandres (56th), Arnaud Démare finished 6th on the “Primavera” and will be a serious candidate for the title if it comes down to a sprint finish in the Vélodrome. However, his former teammate Yoann Offredo who now rides for Wanty-Gobert showed strong form on the Tour of Flandres (14th), as did the tireless 37-year-old veteran, Sylvain Chavanel.

Key points:
Ø The 115th edition of Paris-Roubaix will be the last for four-time winner Tom Boonen who will have to create a small miracle to hang up his helmet on a victory, because fellow Belgian Greg van Avermaet is the pre-race favourite.
Ø Peter Sagan is another favourite starving for success who will look to improve his personal best 6th place result at Roubaix (2014) in thinking only of the place on par with his world championship rainbow jersey!
Ø Alexander Kristoff and John Degenkolb, amongst others, also cannot be overlooked. Arnaud Démare and Sylvain Chavanel top the list of French hopefuls.

Read the PEZ Roubaix Preview HERE.

25 teams entered, the main contenders

South Africa
Team Dimension Data: Boasson-Hagen (Nor), Eisel (Aut), R. Janse van Rensburg (Zaf)

Team Sunweb: Arndt (Ger), Sinkeldam (Ned)
Bora-Hansgrohe: Sagan (Svk), Burghardt (Ger)

Orica-Scott: Hayman, Durbridge (Aus), Keukeleire (Bel)

Bahrain-Merida: Bonifazio (Ita), Božič (Svn)

Quick Step Floors: Boonen (Bel), Stybar (Cze), Terpstra (Ned)
Lotto-Soudal: Greipel (Ger), Gallopin (Fra), Roelandts, Debusschere (Bel)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise: Van Hecke (Bel)
Wanty-Groupe Gobert: Offredo (Fra)

United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates: Marcato, Bono, Guardini (Ita)

United States
BMC Racing Team: Van Avermaet (Bel), Oss, Quinziato (Ita), Drucker (Lux)
Cannondale Drapac Team: Phinney (Usa), Van Baarle (Ned)
Trek-Segafredo: Degenkolb (Ger), Stuyven, Theuns (Bel), De Kort (Ned)

Movistar Team: Bennati (Ita), Dowsett (Gbr)

AG2R La Mondiale: Gougeard (Fra), Naesen, Vandenbergh (Bel)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédit: Sénéchal, Laporte (Fra), Van Genechten (Bel)
Direct Energie: Chavanel, Petit (Fra)
FDJ: Démare, Le Gac (Fra), Guarnieri (Ita)
Delko Marseille Provence KTM: Martinez (Fra), Siskevicius (Lit)
Fortuneo-Vital Concept: McLay (Gbr), Mourey (Fra)

Great Britain
Team Sky: Stannard, Rowe (Gbr), Van Poppel (Bel)

Astana Pro Team: De Vreese (Bel), Minali (Ita)

Team Lotto NL-Jumbo: Boom, Leezer (Hol), Wynants (Bel)
Roompot-Nederlandse Loterijned: Ligthart (Ned)

Team Katusha: Kristoff (Nor), Martin (Ger), Haller (Aut)

Website: www.letour.fr.

Cobble Sections:
No. – Km – Name – Length
29 – 97 – Troisvilles to Inchy – 2,2
28 – 103,5 – Viesly to Quiévy – 1,8
27 – 106 – Quiévy to Saint-Python – 3,7
26 – 112,5 – Viesly to Briastre – 3
25 – 116 – Briastre à Solesmes – 0,8
24 – 124,5 – Vertain to Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon – 2,3
23 – 134,5 – Verchain-Maugré to Quérénaing – 1,6
22 – 137,5 – Quérénaing to Maing – 2,5
21 – 140,5- Maing to Monchaux-sur-Écaillon – 1,6
20 – 153,5 – Haveluy to Wallers – 2,5
19 – 161,5 – Trouée d’Arenberg – 2,4
18 – 168 – Wallers to Hélesmes – 1,6
17 – 174,5 – Hornaing to Wandignies – 3,7
16 – 182 – Warlaing to Brillon – 2,4
15 – 185,5 – Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières – 2,4
14 – 192 – Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies – 1,4
13 – 197 – Orchies – 1,7
12 – 203 – Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée – 2,7
11 – 208,5 – Mons-en-Pévèle – 3
10 – 214,5 – Mérignies to Avelin – 0,7
9 – 218 – Pont-Thibaut to Ennevelin – 1,4
8 – 224 – Templeuve (Moulin-de-Vertain) – 0,5
7 – 230,5 – Cysoing to Bourghelles – 1,3
6 – 233 – Bourghelles to Wannehain – 1,1
5 – 237,5 – Camphin-en-Pévèle – 1,8
4 – 240 – Carrefour de l’Arbre – 2,1
3 – 242,5 – Gruson – 1,1
2 – 249 – Willems to Hem – 1,4
1 – 256 – Roubaix (Espace Crupelandt) – 0,3
TOTAL – 55 km.

Wanty-Groupe Gobert: “Ready for a strong Paris-Roubaix”
Wanty-Groupe Gobert explored the final of Paris-Roubaix on Thursday. Six riders rode the last 100 kilometers of the Hell of the North: Frederik Backaert, Wesley Kreder, Mark McNally, Pieter Vanspeybrouck, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Frederik Veuchelen. Balance of the reconnaissance with sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren and Frederik Backaert.

Frederik Backaert:
“The recon is important to find a good feeling on the cobblestones and to discover the state of the stones. We were also able to test our tire pressure. We ride with Continental, which allows us to make a choice between profiles of 25 or 28 millimeters.”

“I expect a fast race as the wind is in the back. The early break could leave at kilometer zero, but it could also take over more than 90 kilometers to establish one. I expect Quick Step will control the race for Boonen. I had a good feeling in Scheldeprijs on Wednesday and during the recon today. It will be important to be part of the first 30 riders entering the Wallers Forest in the pack. But of course everyone wants to be in that position.”

Hilaire Van der Schueren (sports director):
“We all know the cobblestones, but it is important to explore to find the right track and memorize key points. The material is fine. Everyone is happy with the bike and the tires. We are ready for a good Paris-Roubaix.”

“We should be able to do as well as the Tour of Flanders. That means to have a rider in each group. McNally and Veuchelen will have the task to jump into the early break. But as the wind was blowing today the pack could remain together a long time. Perhaps even till the first cobbled section. Then Backaert and Vanspeybrouck have to anticipate. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, who skipped Scheldeprijs to rest, and Yoann Offredo will be allowed to safe themselves for the final. Then they have to ride like last week.”

Quick-Step Floors Team to Paris-Roubaix
Paris-Roubaix will run this year its 115th edition, one which will see the peloton take on 29 cobblestone sectors, including the iconic Trouée d’Arenberg (2400 meters), Mons-en-Pévèle (3000 meters) and Carrefour de l’Arbre (2100 meters), the latter set to feature on the route less than 20 kilometers from the finish, its positioning in such a key part of the race being synonym to one last opportunity for the attackers to shake up the race and go for a solo win on the famed André-Pétrieux Velodrome.

15 years after stealing the show in his first ever Paris-Roubaix with a spectacular ride – made even more impressive by the fact he was a neo-pro at that time – on the muddy and treacherous cobbles of the race which more experienced men couldn’t tame, Tom Boonen will bid farewell to the sport at the “Hell of the North”, where he’ll try to win his fifth trophy – following the ones of 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012 – in what is sure to be an emotional day for the Belgian legend and symbol of Quick-Step Floors.

Joining Tom Boonen in his final outing as a pro for the 257km-long race between Compiègne and Roubaix will be Tim Declercq, Iljo Keisse, Dwars door Vlaanderen winner Yves Lampaert, 2015 runner-up Zdenek Stybar, Niki Terpstra – who triumphed on the velodrome three years ago – Matteo Trentin and Julien Vermote, riders who between them have amassed nearly 30 participations in Paris-Roubaix.

09.04 Paris-Roubaix (FRA) 1.UWT

Tom Boonen (BEL), Tim Declercq (BEL), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Niki Terpstra (NED), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Julien Vermote (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA), Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Tom Steels (BEL), Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Sunweb for Paris-Roubaix
This Sunday sees the 115th edition of Paris-Roubaix get underway and the third Monument of the season. The course totals a grueling 257km and considered to be one of the calendar’s most difficult one-day races. 55km of cobbled sections are sure to shake up the strongest of the peloton before the finish in Roubaix Velodrome.

“Paris-Roubaix sees the last cobbled classic of this spring season,” said Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED) ahead of the race. “We have some specialists in the team with Ramon and Bert who were up there last year in the final. Mike and Ramon are also both winners of the U23 edition in the past. From the Arenberg we have to stick together and ride aggressively in order to be there with as many guys in the final where we hope to deliver Ramon in as fresh as possible condition.”

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Nikias Arndt (GER), Bert De Backer (BEL), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Mike Teunissen (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL), Max Walscheid (GER).
Coach: Marc Reef.

Søren Kragh Andersen:
Oudenaarde - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Soren Kragh ANDERSEN (Danmark / Team Sunweb) pictured during the of Flanders Classics UCI WorldTour 101st Ronde van Vlaanderen cycling race with start in Antwerpen and finish in Oudenaarde on April 02, 2017 - foto PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Direct Energie for Paris-Roubaix
Romain Cardis, Sylvain Chavanel, Antoine Duchesne, Yohann Gene, Tony Hurel, Julien Morice, Adrien Petit and Alexandre Pichot.
Manager – Directeur Sportifs:
Jean-René Bernaudeau, Jimmy Engoulvent, Benoit Genauzeau and Lylian Lebreton.

Team Sky line-up for Paris-Roubaix

Team Sky’s line-up for Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix is:
Jon Dibben
GBR / Age 23 / 1st Paris-Roubaix
Owain Doull
GBR / Age 23 / 1st Paris-Roubaix
Christian Knees
GER / Age 36 / 6th Paris-Roubaix
Gianni Moscon
ITA / Age 22 / 2nd Paris-Roubaix
Luke Rowe
GBR / Age 27 / 5th Paris-Roubaix
Ian Stannard
GBR / Age 29 / 8th Paris–Roubaix
Elia Viviani
ITA / Age 28 / 2nd Paris-Roubaix
Lukas Wisniowski
POL / Age 25 / 1st Paris-Roubaix

Luke Rowe:

Almost entirely Italian line-up for the UAE Team Emirates
After the hills of the Tour of Flanders, UAE Team Emirates is ready for the cobblestones of the Paris-Roubaix.

The Hell of the North will take place on Sunday 9th April, however on Friday 7th April the sports directors Scirea and Righi will be on the most demanding sectors of the race course with 8 riders, who are 7 Italian cyclists and 1 Slovenian cyclist: Matteo Bono, Roberto Ferrari, Andrea Guardini, Marko Kump, Marco Marcato, Sacha Modolo, Oliviero Troia and Federico Zurlo. The reconnaissance, 80 km of distance, will start from the Arenberg Forest and it will end on just after the cobbled sectors of Gruson.

One change in the line-up: Modolo took the place of Vegard Stake Laengen, who will rest after having recovered from the light concussion he suffered in a crash which occurred during the Tour of Flanders. The rider with more participations is Marcato (best result, 20th place in 2012) and he’ll be the most awaited cyclist from UAE Team Emirates, all the same in the line-up there will be other athletes who will have the opportunity to demonstrate their inclination for the cobblestones.

Oliviero Troia, who recently pedaled for almost 200 km in the main breakaway of the Tour of Flanders, is one of the young guns with the higher potentiality for the Hell of the North: “I had very good memories of the cobblestones and of the Velodrome in Roubaix: last year I was 4th in the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs and, most important, I gave my support to Ganna who won the races. I’m aware that the Paris-Roubaix of the pro is something different, however I’m really keen to test myself in this new challenge. I don’t want to fix specific goals, my debut in the Hell of the North will be useful to understand how does it feel to race this competition with the pro riders and if I’ll be able in the future to compete for a good result. It will be more or less as it happened in the Tour of Flanders: I’m facing this new challenges as tests about my skills.”

Federico Zurlo too demonstrated in youth categories his skills for the pavé: “In 2012, I obtained the 7° place in the Paris-Roubaix for Juniors: in that moment I realized that I like this race, I raced many cyclo-cross races and the Parigi-Roubaix is the one which is more similar to the cyclo-cross. Last year I was very excited to race the Hell of the North as a pro, unfortunately I crashed at 130 km to the arrival, when I was in the main group. This memory will give me extra-motivations, I really want to demonstrate that I can achieve a pretty good result in this race.”

Sacha Modolo, who was 6th in the Tour of Flanders, explained: “Paris-Roubaix is completely different from the Tour of Flanders: I have not good memories of my last participation, I crashed and I broke two ribs. Despite this, I’m happy to have the opportunity to race on Sunday, I’ll try to exploit my good form for supporting Marcato.”

Sacha Modolo:
Nakheel - Dubai - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Sacha Modolo (ITA - UAE Abu Dhabi)†  pictured during  stage - 1 of the Dubai Tour 2017 - 181 km - 31/01/2017 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

Van Avermaet Prepared for Paris-Roubaix Battle
Greg Van Avermaet will return to the cobbles this Sunday at Paris-Roubaix looking to continue his Classics success.

Sports Director Fabio Baldato said Van Avermaet will be supported largely by the same team that lined up at the Tour of Flanders.

“With the exception of Miles Scotson, who will replace Silvan Dillier and make his Paris-Roubaix debut, we have the same six riders lining up this Sunday to race for Greg Van Avermaet at Paris-Roubaix. We know we have a strong team and I think we can learn a lot from our Tour of Flanders performance to be even stronger at Paris-Roubaix,” Baldato explained.

“Paris-Roubaix is a different kind of race to the Tour of Flanders but I definitely think we can finish with a good result. We saw last week just how strong Greg is no matter what is thrown at him in the race, and having missed out on the victory at the Tour of Flanders, we are even more motivated for this Sunday’s race.”

After missing the 2016 edition due to injury, Van Avermaet is looking to repeat his 2015 podium result.

“When you line up at any race you line up to win, and Paris-Roubaix is no exception. It’s no secret that the Tour of Flanders was the big one for me but I want to win a Monument this year and I have another chance this Sunday. I know I can do a good race and get the result I want. The Tour of Flanders showed that anything can happen in these races, so if everything goes to plan at Paris-Roubaix there’s no reason why I can’t win,” Van Avermaet said.

Paris-Roubaix (9 April 2017)

Rider Roster:
Jempy Drucker (LUX), Martin Elmiger (SUI), Stefan Küng (SUI), Daniel Oss (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Miles Scotson (AUS), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP).
Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA).

Greg Van Avermaet:
Oudenaarde - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Greg VAN AVERMAET (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Niki TERPSTRA (Netherlands / Team Quick Step - Floors)  pictured during  the Flanders Classics UCI WorldTour 101st Ronde van Vlaanderen cycling race with start in Antwerpen and finish in Oudenaarde on April 02, 2017 - foto PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Team recons Paris-Roubaix
Sunday, the last of the cobble Classics is scheduled: Paris-Roubaix. Almost one fifth of the course consists of cobblestones, divided over 29 sectors. After 257 kilometres, of which exactly 55 cobbled kilometres, the winner of the 115th edition of the Hell of the North can step on the podium at the velodrome of Roubaix.

It’s only after almost one hundred kilometres of racing, that the riders arrive at the first cobblestone sector of the day. From that point on there is not much time to relax. The eleventh section of the day is the famous Trouée d’Arenberg. This five-star sector of 2400 metres lies at about 95.5 kilometres from the finish. Then the riders continue their way towards among other Mons-en-Pévèle (3000 metres), the second five-star second of the day. Afterwards, the riders have still 45.5 kilometres ahead of them, including ten cobblestone sectors. When the riders enter the last twenty kilometres, they see the cobbles of Camphin-en-Pévèle (1800 metres). This four-star sector is immediately followed by Carrefour de l’Arbre (2100 metres), which was awarded five stars. Then only two sectors of over one kilometre are left. Just before the riders enter the velodrome of Roubaix they get the last cobbles of the day on the Espace Crupelandt (300 metres).

Lotto Soudal did a recon of Paris-Roubaix today. Unfortunately, Tony Gallopin crashed and hit his left knee again, just like in the crash at E3 Harelbeke. Jelle Wallays was also involved in the crash, he hurt his hand. At the moment Tony and Jelle remain part of the lotto Soudal line-up for Sunday.

Herman Frison, sports director Lotto Soudal: “Today there was a headwind. On Sunday the wind will come from the south, which means that the riders will have tailwind and that we can expect a fast race. It will be dry this weekend and twenty degrees on Sunday, so it will be a warm and dusty Paris-Roubaix. Tony Gallopin crashed during the recon and also Jelle Wallays hit the ground. We have to wait how Tony’s knee and Jelle’s hand will cure.”

“We stand at the start without a main leader. Unfortunately, because of the results of the past weeks, we can’t put one rider forward to do the job. We have several riders who have proven in the past that they can ride well over cobbles. Hopefully we can perform better as a team than previous races. The next days, we will determine our strategy and it’s up to us to follow that as well as possible. The past weeks, we often missed the decisive moment and we really have to avoid that on Sunday.”

Jens Debusschere: “Last year, I couldn’t ride Paris-Roubaix because of my crash in Gent-Wevelgem. I am happy to be back this year. Of all Classics Paris-Roubaix is probably the one that suits me best. Two years ago, I got ninth and in 2010 I got second at the U23 edition. The Hell was dusty today. I would like to ride a wet edition once, but I don’t mind the dust. I deliberately skipped the Scheldeprijs yesterday to be in the best form on Sunday. The next days I will take the necessary rest.”

“Up till now the spring didn’t turn out as we wanted for the team, but we can’t lose hope and definitely shouldn’t give up. Each time we focus on the next race. It is difficult to explain why it didn’t ran smoothly the past weeks. We hope that all goes well on Sunday. Roubaix is the last race of the spring for me.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Lars Bak, Jens Debusschere, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Nikolas Maes, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg and Jelle Wallays.
Sports directors: Herman Frison and Frederik Willems.

André Greipel looked strong in Flanders:
Oudenaarde - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Andre GREIPEL (Germany / Team Lotto Soudal)  pictured during the of Flanders Classics UCI WorldTour 101st Ronde van Vlaanderen cycling race with start in Antwerpen and finish in Oudenaarde on April 02, 2017 - foto Brian Hodes/Cor Vos © 2017

Lineup & Preview: Paris-Roubaix
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is ready to take on the feared and famous cobblestone classic, Paris-Roubaix, on Sunday, April 9.

The prestigious French one-day race, also known as The Hell of the North, starts out in Compiègne at 10:55 local time. From here, no less than 257 km await the riders before they reach the finishing line in the iconic velodrome in Roubaix six hours later. What makes Paris-Roubaix so special are the 29 pavé sectors, which all have different length and difficulty. Some are short with even placed and smooth cobblestones, while others are kilometers long and resemble trenches of treacherous cobblestones: ragged and bulky like meteorites dropped randomly from the sky.

The first 5-star rated pavé sector, which indicates the top level of difficulty, is the Arenberg Forest with 95.5 km to go. This is usually where we see the first big selection among the favorites. Afterwards, several difficult sectors await the peloton before it’s time for the second 5-star sector, Mons-en-Pévèle, which is three kilometers long and always plays a key role in the race. The final one of the 5-star sectors is Carrefour de l’Arbre with just 17 km left to go. Three other, less difficult, sectors follow on the remaining kilometers before it all finishes with one and a half lap in the outdoor velodrome.

Edvald Boasson Hagen will lead Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in Paris-Roubaix after putting in an impressive performance last year where the strong Norwegian was part of the select group sprinting for the win. Boasson Hagen finished fifth on that occasion and now, he hopes to deliver another top result to finish off the first part of the spring classics in style.

Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Scott Thwaites, Tyler Farrar, Nic Dougall, Ryan Gibbons, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Jay Thomson.

Edvald Boasson Hagen: “I think it’s going to be a hard and fast race on Sunday. I’m really looking forward to it. I feel my condition has been getting better for every race I’ve done in this spring campaign. Last year was really good but I didn’t win. Now, I’m ready to try again”.

Roger Hammond – Sports director: “We are really excited to take on this race. Last year, we had a guy sprinting for the victory and that gives us a lot of hope and anticipation. There has been an amazing atmosphere at all the classics this year and we have seen some spectacular racing. It’s really an honor and a privilege to be here with the team. Right now, we are trying to work out how we can beat Sagan and Boonen and those guys. I think we definitely have one of the pre-race favorites and that gives us extra enthusiasm and energy for the race”.

Vanmarcke out of Paris-Roubaix
The crash during the Tour of Flanders that forced Sep Vanmarcke to abandon De Ronde will also keep him from starting the next Monument on the calendar, Paris-Roubaix. Vanmarcke suffered heavy road rash in addition to the broken finger. The Belgian, who has three top 5s at Paris-Roubaix on his palmaès, made the decision mid-day Wednesday.

“My hands are the biggest problem,” Vanmarcke said. “The broken pinky on my right hand makes it impossible to put my hands on top of the bars. I can put them on the brakes, and I can brake with two fingers. But each time I hit a bump or anything, it’s painful. The larger problem is my left hand, because the skin is off every finger. I cannot brake with that hand — it’s just too painful to put the pressure on it. Also, my right knee is still a problem. It would make no sense to be at the start line. I lost a lot of skin off it.”

Director Andreas Klier put it like this: “I didn’t ask him to ride intervals. I just asked him to try to put on his jersey. And I said, you’ll see it’s not going to be easy. And try to put on your race gloves. And just call me. Sep trained this morning and he didn’t call it training. It’s very difficult for him to even sit on the bike because of several different injuries. Knee, hands, shoulders, hip.”

The decision caps a spring season of discontent for Vanmarcke. He finished third on opening weekend at Omloop but ultimately suffered from crashes and stomach illness thereafter.

“I’m really, really disappointed. I start training for these races on the first of November. My focus is always on these races. Omloop went well, but from Strade Bianche I started to go wrong. A crash, the ribs, then I had the stomach problems, then this crash. So I’ve been fighting a lot, and always coming back,” Vanmarcke said. “It’s a disappointment. I was never on my top level, and I could never show what level I was at.”

American Taylor Phinney, who sustained a minor concussion during the Tour of Flanders, is still under consideration for Paris-Roubaix. The team will make a decision on its roster after it completes its reconnaissance training of the French pavé on Thursday. According to the team’s internal concussion protocols, Paris-Roubaix would be the first time Phinney is eligible to race again.

Flanders crash victim, Sep Vanmarcke:
Oudenaarde - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Sep VANMARCKE (Belgium / Cannondale Drapac Professsional Cycling Team) involved in the crash pictured during the of Flanders Classics UCI WorldTour 101st Ronde van Vlaanderen cycling race women with start in Antwerpen and finish in Oudenaarde on April 02, 2017 - foto Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

Phinney out of Paris-Roubaix
Cannondale-Drapac confirm Queen of the Classics line-up
American Taylor Phinney will not start Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, still feeling the effects of a concussion sustained in a fall during the Tour of Flanders.

“Until yesterday, I was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to ride Roubaix this weekend,” Phinney said. “I’d been feeling OK at the dinner table and hanging out. But then yesterday was my first ride outside. I started riding at got a little bit of a headache. Then it went away and I thought, ‘ok, I’ll be fine.’ But then it came back and I started experiencing some emotional ups and down that reminded me of the last concussion I had.”

Upon his return, Phinney and team management made the decision to skip Roubaix.

“With even the mildest of concussions, we sit the rider six days,” said team manager Jonathan Vaughters. “The rider may be able to train some in that period, but racing is out of the question. Normally we encourage training to occur on the Tacx. We evaluate the rider daily, and after six days he must take a cognitive test to make sure the effects of the concussion have subsided. At that point, they may or may not be able to resume competition.”

The omission of the classic most suited to Phinney stings, but he’s already looking forward to the Amgen Tour of California and the opening stage of the Tour de France.

“I’m frustrated. I’ve been nursing myself this whole classics season to get into these races and be with the guys,” Phinney said. “But this just happens. This happened my first season as a pro, but then I ended up having a pretty nice second part of the season. On the positive end, I’m more motivated. I feel more motivated than I have in a long time to put in effort for the summer. I look forward to the Tour of California and the first stage of the Tour de France. These things excite me.”

Van Baarle, Langeveld to lead charge
The team also lost Sep Vanmarcke — three times a top-five finisher in the Roubaix Velodrome — to injuries the Belgian suffered at Flanders, forcing late roster changes and a shuffling of strategy.

Paddy Bevin and Wouter Wippert got late call-ups, and will join Dylan van Baarle, Sebastian Langeveld, Will Clarke, Tom Scully, Tom Van Asbroeck and Ryan Mullen at the start. And although the losses of Vanmarcke and Phinney present challenges, the team isn’t lacking opportunity. Van Baarle finished fourth Sunday, and Langeveld displayed excellent form until a late mechanical.

“I think we proved last week with Dylan that we can do well regardless. Last week we raced for the podium, and it would have been the same with Sep,” sport director Ken Vanmarcke said. “This race suits Dylan maybe better than the Tour of Flanders. The same with Sebastian. He has so much experience and he’s in really good shape.”

For Van Baarle, Roubaix is another chance to build on a classics foundation he’s crafting stone by stone.

“We have to go with the same mindset as we did the other classics. We have still a very strong team and I think we can still do something in France,” Van Baarle said. “Normally I would say Flanders suits me better, but in Flanders on the steep climbs I struggled a little. Maybe this year Roubaix suits me better. Last year I felt good, but I was behind some crashes and I was always racing from the back. If that doesn’t happen this year, then we can have a good result I think.”

Langeveld will be making his tenth start at Paris-Roubaix, while Scully and Bevin make their debut. What’s Langeveld been telling the rookies?

“Go in there open minded. Tire pressure is a discussion or issue. They key thing is the same as all the classics — knowledge of the parcours, positioning at the right moment. That’s the most important thing for everybody,” Langeveld said. “Flanders is also an endurance race, but Roubaix… without bad luck and with a little bit of condition and form, everyone arrives where they belong. Without bad luck, it’s a really honest race.

“Missing Sep, it’s a big loss,” Langeveld admitted. “But we showed in Flanders that we are, as a team, we’re fit. Everybody made a big improvement compared to last year. I had a mechanical in Flanders. I was on a good day. So… I’m confident that Dylan and I will be up there. The way we’re going to race? We have to see what the wind does. It’s Boonen’s last Roubaix, that could be a factor on the strategy when you have a whole team riding for him like Quick-Step. But we’ve got to wait until Saturday to talk tactics.”

Cannondale-Drapac for Paris-Roubaix:
Paddy Bevin (NZL), Will Clarke (AUS), Tom Scully (NZL), Sebastian Langeveld (NDL), Ryan Mullen (IRL), Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL), Dylan Van Baarle (NDL), Wouter Wippert (NDL).

Mark Cavendish out of Roubaix
Overuse ankle injury prevents Manxman from starting Hell of the North.

Mark Cavendish will not take the start at the weekend’s Paris-Roubaix due to an overuse injury.

Cavendish, who last competed at the Milano-Sanremo for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, has been hampered by pain felt in his right ankle. The discomfort was first felt on the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in March and has hindered our sprint ace since.

With the Tour de France being the focus of the Manxman’s season this year, the goal is to ensure he is in peak condition come July. With this goal in mind and as a precautionary measure, our African Team will alter Cavendish’s race program accordingly so that a full recovery can take place before returning to action.

Dr Jarrad Van Zuydam – Team Doctor: “Mark sustained an overuse injury of his right ankle while competing at the Tirreno-Adriatico race. The injury was thought to be resolving but has unfortunately flared up again during training. Further investigation and treatment is necessary over the coming days to resolve the injury before Mark returns to racing. We are hopeful of a speedy recovery, though it would be premature to set a date for his return to racing at this stage.”

Mark Cavendish:

Patrick Muller goes for history at Giro del Belvedere
BMC Development Team’s Swiss aims for a historical “repeat” at the Easter Monday classic. In over 90 years of history, nobody has ever claimed consecutive wins.

It’s official: Patrick Muller will take part in the 79th Giro del Belvedere on Monday April 19th in Villa di Cordignano (Treviso, Northern Italy), with the goal of achieving his second win in a row. In over 90 years of history, nobody has ever claimed consecutive wins at the U23 Easter Monday international classic.

After the powerful sprint of the 2016 edition at the end of a perfect race, BMC Development Team’s 20-year-old rider will try to give Switzerland the third win in the last 5 editions: the Swiss escalation had started in the 2013 season with Stefan Kueng’s win. The 2015 Individual Pursuit World Champion went on to become one of the best TT specialists around.

Muller has started quietly his third year in the U23 category with a tenth place claimed at Gent-Wevelgem/Kattekoers-Ieper, after an excellent 2016 season, characterized by a good feeling with Italian races: in addition to Belvedere’s win, Muller finished second at Trofeo Piva and fourth at Piccolo Giro di Lombardia.

The Swiss prospect will be supported by a strong team in his repeat attempt at Giro del Belvedere: U23 ITT Swiss Champion Martin Schäppi may be another valuable option for BMC’s Team Manager Jens Blatter, as well as 19-year-old Reto Muller, bronze medal in the Junior road race at the 2016 Doha World Championships. Belgian Steff Cras and New Zealand Sam Dobbs will round out the BMC Development Team’s line-up.

In the 2017 Giro del Belvedere, the riders will face a 166,6 Km route, characterized by two different circuits: the first (12 Km to be repeated 11 times) including the Conche hill, whilst the final circuit (17,3 Km to be repeated twice) is characterized by the classic Montaner climb in Borgo Canalet and Via delle Longhe hill.

Patrick Muller receives the kiss of the podium girls at 2016 Giro del Belvedere:

Leopold König out of Giro d’Italia line-up
BORA – hansgrohe has to announce, that Leo König, who was supposed to be the team’s leader in this year’s Giro, will not be able to take on the fight for the pink jersey in the 100th edition of the race. Leo is suffering a knee irritation, that forces the Czech GC specialist to take a rest and start a new build up for the second part of the season.

After hard and intense efforts from both, Leo and the team, it has been decided that Leo won’t ride this year’s Giro d’Italia. Leo can train at low intensity, but whenever he pushed himself more to the limit, knee-pain occurs. This problem has also been an issue last season, therefore the medical department of the team, together with the sports directors and Leo, took the decision to take a period of rest now, without any bike riding, to fully recover his knee irritation.

“I really tried everything in the last weeks. I don’t feel it on easy rides, that’s why I kept training and hoping. But whenever we started with intervals I felt pain and we had to take it easy again. So, we ended up making new plans week after week, which makes at some point no sense any more. I will take a rest now to fully recover and then start building up again for the second part of the season. For sure I am disappointed, not only for myself, but also for the team. They did everything to build a strong line-up around me. Now I hope they still can do a good race in Italy without me, maybe it’s even a good opportunity for the young guys to take their own chances and show their potential.”Leopold König.

“We have to take care about the health of our riders, that’s one of the main priorities. At the point we are now, there was no other option than to give Leo the time he needs to fully recover, even if this means a big regression to our Giro campaign. I am confident that he will come back even stronger in the second half of the season.”Enrico Poitschke, sports director.

Leopold König:

Eschborn-Frankfurt – Rund um den Finanzplatz Teams Selection
With the 56th edition of the cycling classic Eschborn-Frankfurt – Rund um den Finanzplatz looming on the horizon, a very competitive selection of teams is due to take part in the race. For its first edition under the responsibility of A.S.O. and as part of the WorldTour category, the organizers have managed to attract an unprecedented number of 11 WorldTeams to the race this year, all of which will be eager to battle it out in a high-stakes race on May 1st on the roads around Eschborn and Frankfurt-am-Main. After the start and a first passage through Germany’s financial capital of Germany, the route will head towards the Taunus region, including the ascent of the Feldberg (10.8km at 5%) as well as several circuits including 4 grueling ascents over the famous Mammolshain climb (1km of length with a maximum of 23%). Finally, the Opernplatz and the Frankfurt Opera will serve as iconic backgrounds for the final city-centre loop of 3km. The peloton will be completed by 8 highly competitive Continental Pro Teams as well as a German National Team, which will surely be aiming to provide the numerous local crowds something to cheer for alongside the 17 side events to be held simultaneously and on the same roads as the elite (sportive, U23, kids races, juniors…).

11 UCI WorldTeams:
AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Bora-hansgrohe (ALL)
Cannondale Drapac(USA)
Lotto-Soudal (BEL)
Quick-Step Floors (BEL)
Team Sunweb (GER)
Team Katusha Alpecin (SUI)
Team Lotto NL-Jumbo (NED)
Trek-Segafredo (USA)
UAE Team Emirates (UAE)

8 UCI Professional Continental Teams:
Aqua Blue Sport (IRL)
CCC Sprandi Polkowice (POL)
Gazprom-RusVelo (RUS)
Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij (NED)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise (BEL)
Veranda’s Willems-Crelan (BEL)
Wanty-Groupe Gobert (BEL)
WB Veranclassic Aquality Protect (BEL).

Plus: German National Team.

Alexander Kristoff in 2016:
ROT  //      Sieger Alexander KRISTOFF (Norwegen / Team Katusha) vor Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE (Argentinien / Team Etixx - Quick Step) und Sam BENNETT (Irland / Team Bora Argon 18)  - Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn Frankfurt 2016 - "Eschborn-Frankfurt" - © Roth-Foto -  Roth & Roth (Markus und Michael Roth) - www.Roth-Foto.de - Weitere Fotos in der Bilddatenbank www.Roth-Foto.de ,  NUR DEUTSCHLAND - *** Local Caption ***  - copyright by: Roth & Roth - Rosenhof 15 - 50226 Frechen - Abdruck + jede Verwendung honorarpflichtig. Honorar ist MwSt-pflichtig: + 7% MwSt. Veroeffentlichung ausschliesslich fuer journalistisch-publizistische Zwecke. Verwendung bedingt das Einverstaendniss unserer AGBs: AGBs unter: www.Roth-Foto.de

Specialized – We Believe in Boonen
Here, every crack tells a story. Every cobble’s etched with the prose of races past. Triumph, defeat, broken bones and losses—It’s a story Tom Boonen knows by heart. It’s a story, after all, where four chapters start with the words “Tom” and “Boonen.” But there are four chapters beginning with “Roger De Vlaeminck,” and no disciple of this race’s story can let this stand while they still have fight left in their legs. This year, for one last time, Tom and his Roubaix will have a go at rewriting Paris-Roubaix’s dusty story. This year, they’ll aim to make it five.

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