OPQS Ronde van Vlaanderen Press Conference
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team met with the media at a Ronde van Vlaanderen press conference, held at Quick-Step Headquarters (UNILIN), on Friday. The room was packed with media wanting to speak with the team. Below are some quotes from riders Tom Boonen, Zdenek Stybar, and Niki Terpstra as they will participate in Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday.
On the key point of the race:
The key point will be the same. For the main favorites I think they will wait for the Kwaremont/Paterberg, like last year. But, a lot of things are possible on this final because it's so hard. I think a lot of people will be a little bit afraid to race on it. So a lot of things are possible and a breakaway between climbs is a very good possibility.
On his Specialized Roubaix
Your bike is the main contact point with the road, so the bike decides how fast you go. This edition of the race has more sections of cobblestones, so it will be important to have a strong, reliable bike like the Specialized Roubaix on this kind of parcours. Me and Zdenek ride with the Roubaix bike. It's a decision we can make on our own, it's not something Specialized puts us through. I think for this year the Specialized Roubaix will be the best bike for this race. I think this is the case especially because of, I think, the 30 kilometers of cobblestone sections in total. Plus, the bike saves you energy on the cobbles and these hard roads, so you will arrive at the finish line a little bit fresher.
On his chances at Ronde van Vlaanderen:
Given my circumstances the past two weeks I will be happy if I can arrive with the first group and I have a good sensation, and I still have next week at Paris-Roubaix. But, in my mind, I really want to win. But I never have stress. You get the sense that the race is approaching, but never stress. Of course, Ronde van Vlaanderen has become so important, there is a sort of heroism around it and everyone wants to win it.
On his readiness for Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Classics:
I have done everything I had to do. I haven't had to cancel any training, I could just train really well all winter long, and I did all the races I wanted to do. Since Paris-Nice I think I have been in very good shape and now I hope my best shape is coming for Sunday and next weekend.
On the weather:
It can play a factor a little bit. It will be a bit windier than it has been this past week and there may be a bit of showers, which can make the climbs more difficult especially the Koppenberg. But, the weather forecast has changed a few times. So, we'll wait and see.
On his favorite climb:
I really like the Koppenberg. I have very nice memories from Cyclocross. So that's maybe why I have a closer relationship with this climb.
On the pressure of the Spring Classics:
After four years with this team I know there is a lot of risks at Belgian races coming in these weeks. Belgians go crazy for it, especially Ronde van Vlaanderen. The pressure is there. I love the culture of it and I love these spring races, especially how the team works toward this race and all the other races in Flanders. I just love it and that's why I chose to race for this Belgian based team.
On the big day on Sunday:
The last weeks have gone really well for me. Even the last few days at Driedaagse De Panne I was in great shape. I am ready for Sunday. This makes me confident for sure, but also gives some pressure because I'd like to prove it isn't just one day I am good, but I am good the whole spring. This is the biggest one, at Flanders. So, I want to take advantage of my good shape.