OPQS Paris-Roubaix Press Conference
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team met with the press on Friday, April 5th to talk about Paris-Roubaix, which takes place on Sunday, April 7th. Prior to the press conference, OPQS performed reconnaissance of the Paris-Roubaix parcour. Below are comments from riders Sylvain Chavanel, Niki Terpstra, and Zdenek Stybar, as well as CEO Patrick Lefevere.
On his goals for Paris-Roubaix
"I hope to be a protagonist of the race on Sunday after the last two editions where I was really unlucky," Chavanel said. "I love Paris-Roubaix as much as Tour de Flandres. The Ronde assured me about my condition. If we exclude Cancellara and Sagan, I was there with the best of the peloton. Then, at the end, it was only a story of places at the sprint. I really hope to do something good on Sunday because I love this race.
On the Roubaix tactics of OPQS
"I think we will have a lot of riders who will try to anticipate Cancellara and the other favorites," Chavanel said. "We have a good team that has a habit for these races and we are ready to fight. But sometimes Paris-Roubaix is also a question of luck. A flat tire in a bad moment can compromise the entire race. The presence of Tom would have been important tactically, but now this is the situation and we will do our best to make a great race with a strong team."
On his hopes given his 2012 performance
"I'm pretty confident about this race," Terpstra said. "Last year I was 5th and proved I can do well at Roubaix. At training I tested myself a little and did well, but training and racing is different. When we get to the cobble sectors that are two and a half kilometers long, after that I really hurt. Now it wasn't so painful, but Sunday it will get really painful. After the parcour recon I at least am prepared for what it will feel like in a couple days."
On the tactics without Tom Boonen as the leader at Paris-Roubaix
"Normally I'd be helping Tom, especially in the final, but now we have to do it ourselves. But this also gives a lot of opportunity for the whole team actually, because we are here with eight strong riders. If we can make a nice final, for sure there's an opportunity. The breakaway that contests the final, whether a favorite like Fabian Cancellara is there or not, is always the right one. If I have the legs for sure I will try my best to do something."
On Paris-Roubaix Reconnaissance
"This morning it was still a bit strange," Stybar said. "It was really the first time doing so many cobbled sections. You just need to get used to it I think. Even when you are doing it for 10 years, still a year later you go again on the cobbles and it's still exciting for everyone. I think for me through those sections I rode well, with good position, and it gave me a good feeling for Sunday."
On his first Paris-Roubaix
"It was always my dream to do Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix." Stybar said. "Now I am here and must make the best of it and really enjoy the race. How far I can get I don't know. It's difficult for me to say of course. I am someone who loves to win, but for a race like this I have to be patient and try to learn as much as possible."
On cyclo-cross riding compared to the cobbles of Roubaix
"You can't truly compare it," Stybar said. "Riding over the cobbles it's somewhat like riding over a frozen field or something. I have some experience with something like that, but still it's not so much the same. I think what I can use from cyclo-cross is my handling of the bike. Going from left to right and sometimes you have to unexpectedly change direction or brake. You know, when the bike is sliding, I don't panic and think that part is something I can really use to my advantage. But, I think what I need most is the power in my legs. I think at Tour of Flanders I had one of my best days on the bike and I hope to have the legs I had last week to get as far as possible."
On the chances of an OPQS victory on Sunday
"Everybody says it is difficult to win, but difficult is OK for me if we win," Lefevere said. "We are a team of specialists for these kinds of races. Tom is not here and for the team this is of course a handicap. But I think for the other riders, the roads are free now. So, I think all eight of them could do the final of Paris-Roubaix. I hope they will make something with it. I think all kinds of tactics are possible. If you can anticipate the group, and can go to the final without consuming too much energy, it's important for a chance in the final."