Mapei Riders’ React to Roubaix
– Reported by Mapei –
Andrea Tafi crossed the finish line in 17th place exhausted after having suffered with bronchitis and a subsequent cough for almost a week. “During the race – explains the winner of 5 World Cup trials – I was having difficulty in breathing due to the catarrh and cough. The race finished for me when it started raining. I decided to hang in and finish the race hoping to acquire a few World Cup points. Tomorrow (Monday) I shall be having a medical check to see if I’ll be able to take part in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege”. Andrea’s wife Gloria and his children Greta and Tommaso were waiting for him at the finish line – they all left for Italy last night.
Daniele Nardello, one of the most awaited protagonists of the race, was very unlucky being forced to pull-out of the race after 7 falls (two of which took place during the first section of cobbles). “During the first fall – says the Italian Champion – I violently banged my left knee on the handlebars, however I carried on with the race; everyone knows how important the Roubaix is for me. The last time I fell, at approximately 40 kilometres from the finish line, I hit my face on the ground. Immediately my head started aching and I had a tingling sensation in my nose. This led to my withdrawal from the race. To be honest, I really didn’t want to risk jeopardising the rest of the season as there are still lots of races to take part in from here to October”.
Stefano Zanini had an unsuccessful day. “Right from the beginning I realised that I wasn’t on best form and then I was held up by the rain. I immediately felt the cold also because I have just come back from a week at the Giro dei Paesi Baschi where the weather was also dreadful”.
Robert Hunter who along with Horrillo and Bodrogi formed part of the day’s first breakaway, also had a series of falls (4) and mechanical incidents that jeopardised his final result. “When Musseuw and Hincapie started their critical break, two riders fell in front of me as I was coming out of a corner during a cobblestone section. In trying to avoid them I also ended-up slipping onto the grass and lost my rhythm. I am still proud at having finished such a gruelling race”.
Paolo Fornaciari, Tafi and Nardello’s right hand man at this race, was also victim of a fall during the first cobblestone section, a fall that forced him to abandon the race. “Everything was going perfectly during the first 100 kilometres – underlines ‘Forna’. I was in excellent condition and found it easy to close the gap and make my way up the group. When I started the first cobblestone section, as I was making my way to the head of the group, I rode straight into a pothole that caused me to fall and violently hit my head. The race doctors decided that I had to get into the ambulance and be checked over. I was very disappointed but at the end of the day I feel I was also quite lucky. After seeing the state of my bike that was practically destroyed, I realised that things could have been worse. Now I am going to be concentrating on my first appearance at the Freccia-Vallone race.
Fabien De Waele didn’t finish the race. “I was supposed to work for the team today – explains the winner of the Freccia del Brabante. I tried as best as I could to help my teammates, but a fall and the cold put me out of play”.
Pedro Horrillo who was in a breakaway right from the start, also had an unlucky day falling 3 times. During one of these falls he got a deep cut just under his left knee. Even so, the Spanish rider carried on and finished the race.”.
Laszlo Bodrogi demonstrated his confidence at riding on the cobblestones. “Straightaway I formed part of the day’s first breakaway with Hunter and Horrillo. I was feeling confident but as the kilometres passed by I realised that I was paying for my effort and strain. I also had to stop a few times for mechanical reasons. Then, during the final I fell spraining my left wrist. Let’s hope it isn’t anything too serious”. Laszlo valiantly finished the race outside the maximum time limit. “This is the only way that you realise how much you have to suffer and if one day maybe you will be able to win this race.