Lotto-Belisol unable to continue tactical savvy in Paris-Roubaix
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lotto-Belisol unable to continue tactical savvy in Paris-Roubaix

by Kyle Moore at 7:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Roubaix
Roelandts rendered ineffective after flat tire during Cancellara’s first move

Jurgen RoelandtsAfter utilizing aggressively smart tactics to animate the Tour of Flanders last Sunday, Lotto-Belisol was unable to keep the magic going in Paris-Roubaix. The aggression in Flanders helped net Jurgen Roelandts a third place finish, but poor luck in Paris-Roubaix meant that only three riders finished, with no one representing Lotto-Belisol colours in the top twenty.

Marcel Sieberg was the squad’s best placed man, in 24th. Roelandts came home 43rd, and André Greipel was 68th.

With such a successful Flanders in the books, Marc Sergeant’s squad put forth similar tactics this Sunday, sending Greipel up the road mid-race, looking to bridge to an earlier breakaway. In Flanders, Greipel had several riders who joined him and formed a strong group. But this week, Greipel had no such luck. With no one moving with him, the sprint star dangled off the front for several kilometres before being pulled back by the peloton.

Later in the race, Roelandts was still present with Sieberg and Greipel to help, when the 11th sector of cobblestones – Auchy-lez-Orchies – proved to be decisive. Eventual race winner Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Leopard) came to the front and set a hard tempo, forcing a selection that normally would not have troubled the in-form Roelandts.

But the Belgian flatted just as Cancellara accelerated. While he would eventually find a companion suffering from similar circumstances in Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Sharp), neither of the Belgians would see the front of the race again. As Roelandts explained, the problems continued to mount.

“Just before Fabian Cancellara attacked for the first time I had a flat tire. The whole field fell apart into different groups and each time I closed a gap I saw that others were riding in front of me,” Roelandts explained. “After Mons-en-Pévèle, my chain got between my frame and cogwheel, so I had to step off my bike. I had the same legs as in the Tour of Flanders and I think I could have played along today.

“Now there is a period without competition, and I will start racing again in the Tour de Picardie or in the Tour of Belgium. In this first half of the year I was very good, but in the E3 and Ghent-Wevelgem I had bad luck. In the final of Milan-Sanremo I crashed; I was probably a bit too energetic. My third place in the Ronde definitely is a reward.”

Sergeant admitted his squad’s failure to meet expectations for the race, but praised Cancellara and runner-up Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco).

“Marcel Sieberg was the first placed rider for Lotto Belisol with the 24th place, and that isn’t what we had hoped for or had expected,” Sergeant admitted. “Of course this is disappointing. We had bad luck three times in a row, two times with Jurgen and also André had a puncture. That’s why we got in a position in the back, and weren’t able to play along with the moves anymore. Because of the bad luck, Jurgen had to chase. Together with Johan Van Summeren, who had a puncture as well, he chased, but it was too late.

“The team wanted to give everything today, they were all together in the front at the beginning, but they didn’t get the chance to show what they’re worth. Cancellara was strong today. It was more difficult for him than last week in the Ronde, but he finished strong against Sep Vanmarcke, who did a great job today.”


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