Paris-Roubaix concluded the cobblestone season Sunday afternoon in a dusty and fast affair, where the favorites waited relatively long to open up the race. Tinkoff-Saxo fell short of the team ambitions, as a bike change and stomach issues for team captain Peter Sagan made for a tough day at the office. Sagan finished 23rd, part of the big second group coming in behind race winner John Degenkolb.
After the race conclusion in the famed velodrome of Roubaix, Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Lars Michaelsen notes that despite a dedicated effort, the team ended up with a minor result.
“As always Paris-Roubaix is a really special race and not least a hard race. Today was definitely no exception. In the finale, we were of course focused on Sagan and he was focused on Carrefour de l’Arbre. But here an unknown issue with his shifters meant that he couldn’t move up to the big chainring to make a move, and when the guys started attacking after Carrefour de l’Arbre, he wasn’t able to respond. So we had to change bike in the very finale and we ended up with close to nothing if you look at the pure result”, says Lars Michaelsen.
The 253.5 kilometers from Compiègne to Roubaix contained 52.7km of cobblestone sectors and for this 113th edition presented the riders with clear skies, multiple parts of cross- and headwind and a dusty road surface. After a fast start with the usual and numerous crashes, the main bunch slowly thinned out until the big favorites split the group of main contenders into chunks deep into the finale.
Ultimately, it was John Degenkolb (TGA) who proved the fastest in a seven-man sprint. Peter Sagan came in with the second group of favorites finishing 23rd, while Michael Mørkøv came in just after as 29th. Lars Michaelsen explains Tinkoff-Saxo’s race.
“Due to good weather conditions we expected a fast race, which also happened to be the case. The guys did great in the first part of the race keeping themselves out of trouble. Then before moving into Haveluy and Arenberg, which is a key point of the race, Peter unfortunately had some stomach problems so he had to stop. But with a good team effort especially from Pavel Brutt he made it back to the front of the pack before Arenberg and he was where he should be in the forest and sections afterwards”.
“Towards the end we still had Sagan, Bodnar, Breschel, Mørkøv and Brutt in the main group. Five riders in a group of 50 is a good count, so we were pretty happy with the situation at around km 200. However, then Breschel crashed and hurt his hand or wrist. He was in pain but wanted to keep going, so we managed to get him back on a new bike and he could finish the race. Now, we will wait for the medical examination and see if it reveals any injury or fracture”, concludes Lars Michaelsen.
For Tinkoff-Saxo, the 2015 season goes on following a mixed stint at the cobblestone races. The team looks forward to important races such as the Ardennes Classics and Giro d’Italia, which await the team in the near future.