Paris-Roubaix: Headwind could be a factor
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Paris-Roubaix: Headwind could be a factor

by VeloNation Press at 1:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix

Tomorrow's edition of Paris-Roubaix is expected to be dry, which will make navigating the cobbled sections less of a challenge.  Despite the absence of mud, the weather forecast still suggests that Mother Nature will manage to play a decisive role in the race.  Winds of up to 25kph are threatening to stand the riders up as they make their way to Roubaix, which could neutralize attacks from riders like Saxo Bank's pre-race favorite Fabian Cancellara.

It seems that the Swiss rider has taken the weather into account, telling AFP: "If he [Tom Boonen (Quick Step)] is focused only on me, then he's making a big mistake."

Cancellara will have former Paris-Roubaix winner Stuart O'Grady along with Matti Breschel as part of a formidable Saxo Bank team.  Breschel was knocked out of last weekend's Tour of Flanders with a mechanical problem, but showed his strength by testing Boonen before the mishap took him out of contention.

"I won't be looking at him [Boonen], I will be looking ahead of me," said Cancellara.

If he takes the win tomorrow, it will be his second win in the "Queen of the Classics", and the Swiss will also join the exclusive club of riders have the done the Flanders-Roubaix double, with Boonen being the last rider to accomplish the feat back in 2005.  The man they call 'Spartacus' takes motivation from his ride in Belgium last week.

"I looked at what I did [last week at the Tour of Flanders] on television over and over, and I also looked at how the others raced and I was stunned by how perfect my race was," commented a motivated Cancellara.

Boonen appears ready to play off his main rival tomorrow, something that could neutralize both riders tactically.  "Since everyone thinks that Cancellara is the strongest right now, I'm going to try and stick to his wheel," said the Belgian.

"Thankfully for me, there's no Muur de Grammont, so hopefully that will give him less chance to drop me," he added.  But for the defending champion he's not concerend how the race is won, only that he is the winner:  "Whether I escape late, or win a bunch sprint it doesn't matter. As long as I win."

The American Garmin-Transitions team likes their chances in tomorrow's test.  With the presence of headwinds David Millar thinks it will open up the race, and make it more difficult for Cancellara to ride away like he did last Sunday.

"The Boonen and Cancellara thing...they're going to be firing shots at each other, no doubt," Millar commented.  "But if there's a headwind that's going to change tactics. Saxo Bank could send one of their guys ahead, that means Fabian's not going to ride and that will put all the responsibility on Quick Step [to chase them down].

"And then Tom might not ride... a headwind just makes it a very tactical race, which means it's not just going to be brute force like it was in Flanders [when Cancellara rode away]."

"It could lead to opportunities for guys who have moved up to the front as well, why not Stuart O'Grady -- those kinds of guys -- if the race behind them has been closed down."

Millar will have a strong team riding alongside him, ready to build on their strong performance at the Tour of Flanders.  Tyler Farrar's fifth place last weekend showed that he's come of age for the Classics, and both Martijn Maaskant and Johan Vansummeren are also capable of being a factor.


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