Sep Vanmarcke: “I know I should be proud, but it’s so disappointing if you get so close”
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sep Vanmarcke: “I know I should be proud, but it’s so disappointing if you get so close”

by Ben Atkins at 6:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix
Belgian reflects on being outsprinted by Fabian Cancellara in Paris-Roubaix finish

Sep VanmarckeSep Vanmarcke (Blanco Pro Cycling) finished a very close second in Paris-Roubaix to Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) in a sprint that many thought he could have won. The 24-year-old Belgian, who managed to beat Tom Boonen to the line in last season’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - and was the only rider to deny the current Belgian champion in a cobbled Classic last year - maybe should have been quicker than the Swiss time trial powerhouse. At least, this is something that Vanmarcke himself felt as the two of them approached the Roubaix velodrome together.

“The further we got to the finish - the last kilometres - I really started to believe in the victory,” he told his post-race press conference. “I know that after a hard race, and after I’m strong in that race, that I have a strong finish too. I had a strong finish, but Fabian was a little bit stronger.”

Next to his Omloop victory, second place in Paris-Roubaix is by far the biggest result in the young Belgian’s career to date. This softens the blow of defeat a little, he admitted, as does the fact that four weeks ago he thought he might not get to ride the race at all.

“I know I should be proud,” he said. “First of all because I’m still young, and second because it’s always been a dream to be here in these races, and also because of my last weeks. In Tirreno I crashed on my knee and at first they were speaking about surgery; that wasn’t necessary, but all my goals for the Flanders classics were gone; we knew that the only possible goal was Paris-Roubaix.

“So I know I should be proud, but it’s so disappointing if you get so close,” he added. “And the problem is, if you start believing in the victory it makes it even harder.”

As Vanmarcke and Cancellara rode to the velodrome together - with their lead over a six-man chase group widening - they could be seen in discussion. This was little more than the Swiss rider sizing the Belgian up, however, as Vanmarcke admitted that he had little option but to try to stay with Cancellara to the finish.

“He asked me a couple of times how I felt, and I think the only answer that anyone could give was ‘I’m f***ed.’” he laughed. “At first I didn’t want to be dropped, and I wanted to get to the velodrome, and then I wanted to do a sprint.

“I knew I couldn’t attack - I couldn’t drop him,” he admitted. “I wasn’t strong enough for that, but I wanted to get to Roubaix and sprint for it; it was my only option.”


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