Prudhomme believes Paris-Roubaix win will change Van Summeren
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Prudhomme believes Paris-Roubaix win will change Van Summeren

by Conal Andrews at 7:21 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix
 
Praises effort of Garmin-Cervélo team

Christian PrudhommeTour de France race director Christian Prudhomme has applauded the performance of the Garmin-Cervélo team and Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Van Summeren, saying that the latter’s victory in Paris-Roubaix will make a big difference for him in the future.

“Winning Roubaix can change a career, but also a man and a rider,” he told France Bleu Nord. “Only the big riders can win Paris-Roubaix.”

Van Summeren was fifth two years ago but nobody listed him amongst the favourites yesterday. It was taken as a given that the team’s leader was Hushovd, with Tyler Farrar and Heinrich Haussler being also protected riders. Van Summeren’s objective was to help them in the race. As things turned out, his way of doing so was to infiltrate a dangerous break which went clear at Arenberg.

His presence up front helped shape the battle behind. Cancellara threw the hammer down and dragged Hushovd and others clear; the Norwegian refused to work as the team had a rider ahead, and also because he was wary of Cancellara’s strength. The Swiss rider became frustrated, but part of his dilemma was that the Leopard Trek team had nobody up the road, leaving him exposed and needing to work.

Prudhomme recognised that this was all part of the final outcome. “It [the win] is a surprise for the rider, but not necessarily for team since a team-mate of the world champion Thor Hushovd is who has won,” he said. “Hushovd said for months that he wanted to win Paris-Roubaix with the rainbow jersey. He was ideally placed in a group with Cancellara, but it was his team-mate who was in front. It is the team game that helped Vansummeren win.”

Once he attacked, the Belgian showed great strength in holding off the chasers behind and soloing to victory. His performance wasn’t a fluke; one aided by tactics, perhaps, but he still had to have the reserves to make the split prior to his solo move. As Prudhomme suggests, it is a win which could change the rider. It’s also something he said shows that his team has recovered from recent disappointment.

“He is a nice rider, although it was certainly not expected. We feel that this is a great collective victory of Garmin and Jonathan Vaughters. While they missed out on the Tour of Flanders, they have rebounded.”

Next up, the Ardennes Classics. The team will field a different group of riders there, and hopes to continue its upward bounce in Amstel Gold, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

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