Hushovd ready for Paris-Roubaix: “I know that Cancellara is a difficult guy to beat, but everything is possible”
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Saturday, April 06, 2013

Hushovd ready for Paris-Roubaix: “I know that Cancellara is a difficult guy to beat, but everything is possible”

by Shane Stokes at 8:01 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix
 
2010 runner up says Roubaix course suits him well and should narrow gap

Thor HushovdAlthough he withdrew from last weekend’s Ronde van Vlaanderen due to breathing problems, Thor Hushovd has said that he remains convinced he can be a contender for tomorrow’s Paris-Roubaix.

The BMC Racing Team rider has finished second and third in the past and regards the race as his biggest objective left in the sport. Winning in the Roubaix velodrome would be a huge moment for him, and would likely mean as much as his 2010 world championship success, if not more.

“I really hope so,” he said at yesterday’s press conference, when asked if he thought he could fight for the win on Sunday. “I have been close…one year I was really close but I crashed. I just hope that everything works – that my legs are there, that my health is right. Then if I do a good race, I cannot complain.

“I would say it is the most important race of the year for me…I think it is the one day race that suits me best. The results also show that. So I am really focussed on Sunday.

“I had my little issues last week, but now I feel much better. Now my goal is to finish on the podium. I know that Cancellara is a difficult guy to beat, but everything is possible. So I will look forward to Sunday’s race…I also need a result.”

Hushovd will share leadership with the American rider Tayor Phinney. Although the latter is just 22 years of age, he’s twice won the under 23 version of the race and was a fine fifteenth last year in his debut in the pro edition.

Phinney said yesterday that he was feeling good after a recent knee injury, believing that he would be at 100 percent. In addition to his own good sensations, he’s also encouraged by the lineup of the BMC Racing Team, knowing that it has a strength in depth that many other squads lack.

“I think we come here with a really strong team, and a guy like Thor who is very passionate about this race,” he said. “And I’m very passionate about this race.”

Directeur sportif Fabio Baldato is clear on what he’d like the riders to achieve. “The goal is like all the other Classics – for sure, to try to be on the podium,” he said. “And after that we will see.”

It is clear that the team’s best chance of success is to use both Hushovd and Phinney as effectively as possible; for those two cards to be played, thus trying to use their strength in numbers to beat an individual rider such as Fabian Cancellara.

The effectiveness of that would depend on both riders being prepared to ride for the other, and to pass up their own chance of success if their team-mate is in a better position.

Phinney implied yesterday that a victory by Hushovd would be something that he could take satisfaction from. “Thor and I get along really well. He is someone I would call a good friend,” he said. “He has had his struggles unfortunately in the past year, year and a half.

“The whole team wants to see him at his best, as much as he wants to see himself at his best. Hopefully we can see that on Sunday and I will be there for him. We are hoping to be up there in the final, and to play our cards.”

Hushovd is hoping for the same thing too. He accepts that the Ronde van Vlaanderen winner is in very good form, but regards Paris-Roubaix as a new race, and that there is no way of knowing how things will play out.

“Cancellara is the big favourite for Sunday but anything can happen,” he insisted. “I know that on this kind of course I am not that far from him, so let’s hope that things work out.”

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