Prudhomme believes Chavanel can fight for the win in Paris-Roubaix
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Prudhomme believes Chavanel can fight for the win in Paris-Roubaix

by Conal Andrews at 2:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders
Hopes fellow Frenchman will have Flanders form in French race

Christian PrudhommeTour de France race director Christian Prudhomme expects to see a top performance from fellow Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel in Paris-Roubaix this Sunday.

The Quick Step rider was in superb form in the Tour of Flanders, going clear in a break in the second half of the race and then having enough in reserve to stay with Fabian Cancellara when the Swiss rider caught him before the Muur. The duo were reeled in by a group of chasers, yet Chavanel was strong enough to clip away near the end with Cancellara and Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank SunGard).

It looked like a win was possible but he twice went close to the barriers inside the final 100 metres, having to ease back on the pedals on both occasions. Nuyens edged him out by a handful of centimetres.

Prudhomme works with ASO, the company which organises the Tour and Paris-Roubaix. He’s hoping that Chavanel will have the same form next weekend and can chase victory in the cobblestone Classic.

“He said he had legs of fire, you could see that it was true. I hope he has the same force and the same form next Sunday,” he told L’Equipe.

“It’s been known that he can win this race for at least three years. He has already won two semi-Classics (A Travers les Flandres and Flèche Brabançonne) when he was still with Cofidis. He did a beautiful Tour of Flanders two years ago. He was remarkable on Sunday, you know it is a runner who dares [take risks]. In the first part of his career that was not often successful. In the last two to three years, that has changed.

“He is driven by a rare motivation, and it is heightened by his failure last Sunday. After his second place, someone who is always smiling had a grim face for ten minutes. It will be an additional motivation, he will do everything to be in front.”

The Quick Step team came in for some criticism after Flanders as Tom Boonen attacked behind while Chavanel was clear alone. The move gave Cancellara the springboard to go clear and bridge across to Boonen’s team-mate. Fortunately the Swiss rider ran out of steam, but Quick Step could have been left with egg all over its face had the Leopard Trek rider stayed away and won.

After Flanders, it was said that Chavanel should have got an equal billing. If he is given that on Sunday and if Boonen falters at all, the Frenchman will do everything he can to put the team on top of the podium.


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