Hoste on form just in time for Paris-Roubaix
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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hoste on form just in time for Paris-Roubaix

by Bjorn Haake at 4:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix
 

Leif Hoste is getting ready for Paris-Roubaix and seems to have found his legs just in time. While he was unable to be a factor in the decisive part of the Tour of Flanders, the Belgian managed to finish in a large chase group that sprinted for fifth place. Despite Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen seeming to be out of reach for anyone, the Omega Pharma-Lotto team puts all its trust into Hoste.

"With the result from the Tour of Flanders it doesn't look to be realistic," sports director Marc Sergeant told Sporza ahead of the classic in northern France. "But Paris-Roubaix is not a usual race, so we will go out and try. Leif is on form just in time and is accepting his role as the sole leader."

Hoste's preferred race is last week's Ronde van Vlaanderen, where he finished second three times so far (2004, 2006, 2007). Sergeant thinks that this could be as good as it ever will get for Hoste. "It may have to do with age. On the climbs of the Ronde, you have to be explosive. Here [in Paris-Roubaix], you can ride with a big gear," Sergeant said.

Which is something Hoste certainly knows how to do and thus could be a factor in today's race. While crashes and mechanicals have often produced interesting race situations, Sergeant is less optimistic that Cancellara and Boonen will tactically cancel each other out of competition. "I would love to say 'yes' to that, but both are riding really well. They also love to race way too much so they won't just try to make sure the other loses."

Sergeant is still optimistic that Hoste can improve on his two top ten finishes (fourth last year and sixth in 2008). "In training Leif has pushed it a few times and everyone could see that he is well made for riding over the cobbles fast."

An important part will be played by the team. "Leif should not be by himself too early. [Greg] van Avermaet and [Jürgen] Roelandts need to help him as long as possible. But Roubaix is unpredictable."

Sadly, Hoste will not be able to count on Wilfried Cretskens for help. A press release from the team before the race said that Cretskens' sister had died in the night before the race. Cretskens was immediately traveling home following the sad news.

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