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108th Paris-Roubaix - Team & Rider Reactions
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 4/11/2010
108th Paris-Roubaix - Team & Rider Reactions

108th Paris-Roubaix - Team & Rider Reactions
Teams & Riders comments: Saxo Bank, Cervélo TestTeam, SKY & BMC's George Hincapie weigh in on the 2010 Queen of the Classics...

Team Saxo Bank
Fabian Cancellara Won An Unforgettable Paris-Roubaix

Team Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara crushed everyone in today's Paris-Roubaix and secured Team Saxo Bank the "Classic Double" Tour of Flanders & Paris - Roubaix.

The "Queen of the Classics" was however invaded by 19 riders after 60 kilometers of foreplay and Team Saxo Bank was represented in the break by Dane, Kasper Klostergaard who also showed the Team Saxo Bank colors in last year's edition of the race.

The already violently hard course was made even tougher as a fierce headwind was blowing from Compiegne in France to the velodrome in Roubaix. But the weather conditions did not stop Team Saxo Bank from playing an important role in front of the peloton where Frank Høj, Gustav Larsson and Stuart O'Grady controlled the pace.

At the entrance of the forest in Arenberg, Team Saxo Banks Fabian Cancellara took over the pace of the peloton with the Danish national champion, Matti Breschel on his wheel. The powerful Swiss did not increase the pace but he wanted to take a favorable tactical position before entering the slippery cobbles in the forest.

60 kilometer from the finish line the big favorites, Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Team Saxo Bank's Fabian Cancellara initiated a battle amongst each other and took turns attacking on the cobble stone sections. And the Swiss national champion gave Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) an opportunity to practice teamwork as they now were chasing a lonely Team Saxo Bank rider in the lead of the race.

The quartet was soon transformed into eight riders who were chasing the strong Swiss but he simply kept increasing the gap all the way to the Velodrome in Roubaix where he crossed the finish line in solitude and celebrated an unforgettable victory of the Classic of all Classics, Paris-Roubaix after riding solo for 48 kilometers.

Fabian Cancellara after his impressive win...
”I launched an attack in a dead moment of the race where the riders in the group were trying to recover from multiple earlier attacks and when I noticed that no one was able to follow, I kept my head down and the legs going to the finish line. I know it's a historic victory as I already won Ronde van Vlaanderen and with Paris-Roubaix I took “The Double” which only a very few riders have done before me; and this title has been my biggest motivation throughout the week. The team did a fantastic job today and we were constantly ahead of the upcoming challenges.”

Saxo Bank Chain of Spring Victories
The victory is the culmination of a fantastic Spring for Team Saxo Bank with victories in the cobblestone races Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix and Round um Köln and stage wins in Tour of Andalusia and Tour of Catalonia. A spring that in its own quiet way responds to the skepticism regarding the future strength of the team that arose in the autumn and winter 2009 when a few riders left the team to seek other, 'greener' pastures.

Team owner Bjarne Riis after the epic battle
”Fabian launched his attack at the right time. He is clearly taking advantage of the fact that Boonen (Tom) has spent too much energy which made him vulnerable in terms of counter-attacks from Fabian. Before the race we actually discussed this spot on the course and we knew it would be a crucial one. Fabian demonstrated that with the right focus and determination, you can achieve your goals.”

Matti Breschel Abandons due to knee pains...
Unfortunately, Fabian Cancellara's teammate and favorite, Matti Breschel had to abandon the race due to knee pains:

"I am actually a bit worried about it since I have never experienced a pain like this. However, I am so happy for Fabian and for his excellent and historic win."

Cervélo TestTeam
Hushovd 2nd, Hammond 4th

Cervélo TestTeam’s Thor Hushovd (NOR) finished second today in the 108th edition of Paris Roubaix. Teammate Roger Hammond (GBR) came in fourth. The winner, Swiss champion Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) rode solo into the velodrome at Roubaix finishing two minutes ahead of Hushovd and Juan Flecha (ESP-Team Sky), who took third.

Roger Hammond...
“In the team meeting we agreed we needed someone in the break. There were four of our guys jumping around and they did a great job; and then Jeremy Hunt (GBR) got in the break and we were nice and relaxed except in the back of my mind this means we’re with the big guys and we have to go when they go. Fortunately with the help of all the other guys we were protected and that meant Thor and I were able to follow when they really went.

"Then I was hoping to open up the race early and make Boonen and Cancellara commit. But Cancellara was isolated, he was on his own basically in the front so I started attacking early but they also started following me really early. Cancellara was unbelievable, he was on a different planet, and we realized we had to ride for second directly. So we started racing for second once he was on his own. I mean to get second and fourth is not bad really, if you take Cancellara out of the equation we got first and third.”

Sports Director, Jean-Paul van Poppel
"I think we cancelled the bad luck that we had last month and it as really nice to see the team performing like we know they can. We were already good at Milan -Sanremo. We had three targets for the classics, Milan San Remo, Flanders and Roubaix, and if I can be honest, though the team performed in all of them super well, I think this is the race that fits us best. Even without Andreas (GER-Klier) and Heinrich (Ger-Haussler) here, we still had a great team today."

"Everything went according to plan. What can you do about Cancellera? He had a super day again we saw him like this in the world championships time trial and other times and we expected him but we still are focused on the long race."

"At the start we wanted someone in the breakaway who could wait at the end and get these guys up and work with them, that was Jeremy, he is fantastic, he has a nose for this. He went with nineteen riders in the forest of Arenburg and is still with the nine that are left and after that he waited for our riders and helped them when they needed it. In the deep final we just had Thor and Roger and from Roger we had a great performance. Thor we knew he was coming."

"The past week was a bit unlucky but today he was there. I think he is almost 100% and second is a good place to get, I think he is happy with it. And you can see Roger got 4th, Jeremy got 18th and overall that makes us the most dominant team in the race and that makes us really proud."

Thor Hushovd
“I feel like I’m getting back to my old self,”
“Roger Hammond, Jeremy Hunt and the whole team did a fantastic job today keeping pace at the front. I was really, really tired at the end but I managed to edge out Flecha.”

Team Sky
Juan Antonio Flecha 3rd

Flecha extended his fantastic record in the Queen of the Classics with a third podium finish in the race, just being pipped for second by Thor Hushovd. The pair were exactly two minutes behind Cancellara who continued the dominant form which had seen him win the Tour of Flanders in breathtaking style a week earlier.

Afterwards Scott Sunderland, Team Sky's Senior Sports Director, said of Flecha's display: "It was an awesome ride. You couldn't ask for more - he did everything he could."

In a League of his own
Putting the winner's performance into context he added: "I was with Cancellara when he won his first Paris-Roubaix in 2006. He's got a really strong character and when he sets his mind on something he just goes for it 110%. And that's what he's done over the last couple of weeks - he's worked really hard over the winter and you can see the results of that. He was in a league of his own and was untouchable today."

Sunderland said that plans had to be changed once Cancellara opened up what looked a decisive lead, saying: "It was hovering at 25 or 30 seconds for a while and the peloton had to get him back at that point.But that didn't happen and it quickly went to 45 seconds, then a minute and shot upwards after that.

"We then realized that Flecha would soon be riding for second and I said to him 'you've got one more chance to go for it and try and bridge the gap but if that doesn't work out then we're riding for a place on the podium'. That was the reality. You have to accept that and readjust and that's what he did."

Flecha took the initiative in the chasing group, with Sunderland explaining: "He went out and attacked on sector six but they pulled him back so he attacked again on Carrefour de l'Arbre and though he didn't get away by himself, the move  proved decisive as he and Thor Hushovd opened up a gap on the rest and it was a good result."

Magnificent seven
Sunderland was also keen to applaud the other seven riders who worked tirelessly in support of Flecha.

He said: "Everybody did what they could, they worked superbly together and you can't ask for more than that. Kurt-Asle Arvesen did a good job. His role was to look after Flecha until after Carrefour de l'Arbre and he did that perfectly.

"CJ Sutton and Greg Henderson's role was to try and cover the moves and get in the breakaway and they both did exactly that.

"We asked Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas to be up there and see what they could do which is what they did. Unfortunately they just ran out of legs towards the end but they're still young and still have quite a few years ahead of them yet.

"And then there was Mathew Hayman and Michael Barry who were so good today. They were both riding above what they've ever done before in this race but then they both went and got flat tires.

"Talk about bad luck - they punctured out of the race. They were in the top 15 in their group and then got flat tyres within 5 km of each other and we couldn't get spares to them. CJ Sutton gave his wheel to Mat Hayman which helped but Michael wasn't so fortunate and they were never able to get back to that group which was a real shame.

"But for those flat tyres we'd have had two more riders right up there, getting the sort of finishing position their performances deserved."

BMC Racing Team
George Hincapie: ‘ItWasn’t My Day’

George Hincapie was the BMC Racing Team’s best finisher at Paris-Roubaix, but the U.S. national champion said he lacked the form that carried him to top 10 finishes at the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem.

Hincapie - 29th
“It wasn’t my day,” an exhausted Hincapie said after the 259 km race. “I was having a hard time following the accelerations and I basically ran out of fuel. I just wasn’t firing on all cylinders today. I didn’t feel as good as I have been feeling prior to this race, so it’s definitely a disappointment.” Hincapie finished 29th, 7:05 behind Fabian Cancellara (Team Saxo Bank), who attacked with more than 45 km to go and soloed to win his second Paris-Roubaix title.

More comments and Photos to come...

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