12 April 2014

8 Riders to watch for Paris Roubaix

Fabian Cancellara- the name on everyone's lips this week?   Fabian Cancellara is definitely the favorite after his commanding victory in The Tour of Flanders last week.  He also won last years race as well as Paris Roubaix in 2006 and 2010.  The only possible problem?  His team wasn't there to help him at the end of the race.  With strong teams from BMC and Omega, Fabian could find himself isolated at the end of the race. 

Tom Boonen- Always a favorite for Roubaix, Boonen has won the race 4 times and is going for a record 5 wins.  Unfortunately, he has had some personal issues he's been dealing with and he's crashed a couple of times this spring.  Last week in Flanders he struggled.  His Omega Pharma Quick Step team are always strong for this race. 
Sep Vanmarcke- The young Belgian has had some great results in the classics.  Last week he finished 3rd at the Tour of Flanders and the year before he finished 2nd in the Paris Roubaix.  He's young and would love to win his first cobbled trophy.   He's in excellent form this year! 
Greg Van Avermaet- Last week he finished 2nd at the Tour of Flanders after being off the front for a large part of the race.  His BMC team is strong for a race like Roubaix. 

Taylor Phinney- The young American had a great week last week.  He was away in a long break for much of the race.  In a strong team like BMC, he might be able to sneak away while the others watch Greg Van Avermaet.  He's won the U23 version of Roubaix 2 times!  

Peter Sagan-  Peter has struggled in major races this year.  His Cannondale team is often not present in the final moments of a race and the Slovak rider has been either tired or has started his sprint late.  Sagan's first ride at Roubaix was 2011 and he hasn't rode as well in this race as he has in others.  

Alexander Kristoff- After winning Milan San Remo three weeks ago, Kristoff's confidence seems to have grown.  He's been finishing well in other races and he seems to be in very good shape.  It's hard to imagine him winning the race this year but he could finish on the podium.  

Zdeněk Štybar- Last year Stybar crashed into a spectator's camera when he was in a good position to win Roubaix last year.  He lost precious momentum after the crash and eventually finished 6th in the race.  He's also the 2014 World Champion in Cyclocross.  He definitely has the bike handling skills for this race.

Others to watch- Evald Boasson Hagen is Norway's other favorite for the race.  He's expected to lead the Sky team. 
Niki Terpstra- Another strong rider from Omega, he could sneak away with a victory if the team plays it's cards right.
Johan Van Summeren- After a horrific crash last week, it would be hard to expect great things from Van Summeren, but he's won Roubaix before and is allegedly riding the race. 
Thor Hushovd- Thor has had some great results in Roubaix but his form has been lacking due to illness.
Bradley Wiggins- Never count a motivated Tour de France winner out of a race when they target it.
Sebastian Langeveld- Another strong rider for the Garmin team.  He's on great form this year.

I have been watching Paris Roubaix since 1985 when Marc Madiot won the race.  I thought it was weird that people would ride on cobbles.  I still think Roubaix is weird and I also love watching it.  
by Doug Duguay 

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