Etixx – Quick-Step race kit: Tom Boonen for Paris-Roubaix
How do our riders dress for a race? What do they eat and what do they take with them during the race? You can discover all these from our newest blog series.
People think that riders are different when they choose what to wear during a race, but in the end it all comes down to one thing: your kit, the arm and leg warmers, and a jacket in case it's cold or raining. But, of course, we each have our own particularities, and mine is that I don't like to tape my hands before a race. If you watch closely, you can see that many pros do it, but for me it's something that never sticked, because I like to feel my hands free, I love to feel the wind during the race, it's like that way I'm even more connected to the race and get its pulse better.
Another thing I don't dig is having on me things for good luck. I must admit, in the past, when I was younger, I used to have all kinds of bracelets and stuff to remind me of my family, but as time goes by you lose them and start to feel bad, so now I keep all these nice memories in my head. When racing, I make sure that I never run out of bottles and food, and that's why I stuff my pockets with rice cakes and the lemon and raspberry flavoured Etixx power bars, which are my favourites.
Am I ready for Paris-Roubaix? As I said on Friday's press conference, I'm going into the race at the best possible level for me at this moment, and this makes me more relaxed. I am happy with how I am feeling and with the way the training has gone so far, which is one of the keys ahead of such a race as Paris-Roubaix. Although it's the 13th time I will be riding it, it's still very special to be here and to take on the cobbles again. It's very important to understand the cobbles and respect them in order to earn their respect. I've been doing that for more than a decade, and now I'm ready to give it my all one more time and see how things go.
Photo credit: ©BrakeThrough Media