Paris-Roubaix: Lefevere says Chavanel out, Devolder in
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Monday, April 05, 2010

Paris-Roubaix: Lefevere says Chavanel out, Devolder in

by VeloNation Press at 11:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders
 

After Fabian Cancellara powered to victory over Tom Boonen in yesterday's Tour of Flanders, Quick Step team boss Patrick Lefevere has made his first tactical decision for next Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.  He's decided not to start last year's eighth place finisher Sylvain Chavanel, and instead count on Stijn Devolder to help Boonen to what would be a record equalling fourth win in the "Hell of the North".

Lefevere told L'Equipe, "He [Chavanel] must rest."  The Frenchman has raced his bike almost 20 times this season, with 13th place finishes in the overall of the Volta ao Algarve and stage four of Paris-Nice being his best results.  By this time last year he had already won a stage and the points classification in Paris-Nice and notched up several solid results and performances in support of the Quick Step team.

Now the Quick Step team boss says it's time for Devolder to step up and shine in Paris-Roubaix if he wants to remain with the team.  The two-time Tour of Flanders winner spent a lot of energy in yesterday's edition fighting his way up to the group of favorites, unable to make the same impression on the Ronde as he did when he secured his previous two victories.

Last year Devolder only managed 55th place by the time he reached the velodrome in Roubaix, while in front of him Boonen secured his third victory in the cobbled Classic.

This time around the pressure will be much greater for team Quick Step since they won't have that crucial win in the Tour of Flanders to build morale from.  In fact, the situation for a Belgian team in particular will be even more serious when considering that the country as a whole has been blanked from the win column through their early season Classics and semi-Classics.  It may just take Boonen rising up to Roger De Vlaeminck's Paris-Roubaix win record to calm the nerves of the Quick Step team and Belgian fans alike.

With Cancellara, who is also a former Paris-Roubaix winner, showing no signs of slowing down, next weekend's race will be one of the most difficult challenges Boonen has faced in his career.  After blowing away the Belgian in E3 Prijs and yesterday's Tour of Flanders, the Swiss rider will have the momentum, now it will simply be a question of how his recent successes will effect his motivation.

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