Hayman took eighth at the 2012 edition and 10th the previous year. He could have followed that up last season but team tactics meant he had to stick with Ian Stannard. Now in a team where he can play out his own race, Hayman is looking to return to the top 10 at least.
“I’ve been in groups that have gone to the finish and every now and again, Roubaix throws up some strange podiums. It’s not always the traditional guys. I think it could be another year where Tom and Fabian ride away from everyone, but you’ve got to be in it to win it. So hopefully I’ll be there,” Hayman told Cyclingnews.
“We’ve had a bit of a bad run recently here. We haven’t really got the results that I would have liked or the team. It’s easy to say that you’re always unlucky, it’s a bit of a cop out sometimes but it would be nice to get a bit of luck in the next week. It’s a bit demoralising sometimes when you have guys crashing everywhere and not even getting a chance. You don’t mind if you get beaten by faster guys, but to...
Sky rider on imitating Museeuw and the hell of the opening 220 kilometres
For Bradley Wiggins, hell is other people. Or more specifically, hell is other people during the 100 miles that precede the entry to the Arenberg Forest at Paris-Roubaix, rather than the jagged sections of pavé that follow it.
On Sunday, Wiggins becomes the first past Tour de France winner to line up at the Hell of the North since Greg LeMond in 1992, and though confident that he has the physical attributes to perform on the cobbles themselves, he is concerned about the ecstasy of scrambling for positions that marks its opening four hours.
"If you could just drop out of a helicopter with 40k to go on [Fabian] Cancellara’s wheel and then see if you could hold it when he goes, that’s an ideal scenario," Wiggins said in Kortrijk on Friday. "But there’s 220k before that of little French guys coming underneath you, chopping you, calling you a wanker and all this. That’s the reality of it. I’ve got to get through all of that to get to that position to be able to potentially stay with those guys if they go."
Wiggins was speaking to reporters following his final reconnaissance of the parcours on Friday morning. Still in his kit as he drained a postprandial coffee, he seemed to view the cobblestones almost as something of a terrestrial paradise, describing his week in Sky’s classics base in Kortrijk in somewhat idyllic terms.
"It’s been the most enjoyable period I’ve spent with the team in the past couple of years, it’s a fantastic group," Wiggins said. "And the setting as well, there’s so much love for cycling. When you’re out training people are so respectful and happy to see you. It’s just really nice to be involved in this Classics period because it’s all about the racing."
Warming to his theme, Wiggins raised eyebrows when he...
Manxman likely to ride in California and Switzerland to prepare for the Tour de France
Omega Pharma-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere has hinted that Mark Cavendish will miss this year’s Giro d’Italia, although he told reporters that the full details of the Manxman’s build-up to the Tour de France will not be decided until they meet next week.
Cavendish has not missed the Giro d'Italia since 2010 and has made no secret of his affinity for the Italian race, but confessed that completing it last year had taken its toll ahead of the Tour de France. Cavendish won two stages but struggled to match Marcel Kittel's speed. The German won four stages including the final sprint on the Champs Elysees.
Lefevere acknowledged that the team also has a commercial interest in sending Cavendish to California, home of bike supplier Specialized, but said that he is more concerned about ensuring that his rider reaches the Tour de France on top form.
“When Mark starts a race, he very rarely abandons it. Last year he won five stages at the Giro because once he had a taste for winning he wanted to keep on going,” Lefevere said in Kortrijk.
“He went very deep last year to win those five stages and take the points jersey and so he didn’t recover well enough in time for the Tour. And we want to avoid that at all costs.”
Back in action at the Tour of Turkey
Cavendish has not raced since Milan-San Remo, where he finished fifth in the group sprint for the win. Since then, illness forced him out of Gent-Wevelgem and the Three Days of De Panne, while his team opted to hold him back from Scheldeprijs during the week.
“I was the one who told him to stay at home because if he’d gone to Scheldeprijs,...
Tour de France winner ready to accept an apology from Armstrong
Greg LeMond will attend this year's Paris-Roubaix as he begins a new role as a global cycling ambassador for Eurosport.
Bradley Wiggins will replace LeMond as the last Tour de France winner to ride Paris-Roubaix when he lines up in Compiegne on Sunday but LeMond was arguably the last Grand Tour winner to challenge for victory on every kind of terrain and throughout the season. He finished ninth in the 1992 edition of Paris-Roubaix and was fourth in 1985, when Marc Madiot won alone. Sean Kelly beat LeMond in a sprint on the velodrome to take third place on the podium.
After staying away from most major races for several year, LeMond is happy to share his opinions on Paris-Roubaix, look back at is own memories of the race and analyze the chances of this year's favourites. He also speaks about new UCI president Brian Cookson and reveals that he is ready to accept a sincere apology from Lance Armstrong
Cyclingnews: What does it feel like to be back at Paris-Roubaix?
Greg LeMond: It's exciting to be back. Paris-Roubaix is my favourite one-day race. It is the ultimate one-day race and it is going to be an incredibly intense competition on Sunday as there are a lot of exceptional riders that will show up in superior form, so it should be a really exciting race, perhaps even more so than last week's Tour of Flanders - which was a thriller.
CN: What does it take to win Paris-Roubaix?
GL: It takes a lot of skill, tactics and massive amounts of experience. Each race you learn more and more. It is still a big advantage for the Dutch, Flemish and Belgian riders who grow up on those roads. My first taste of the cobbles was at 16-year-old racing in Belgium as a junior. I won four or five races with sections of cobbles on it and I was instantly hooked.
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) is only an outsider for Paris-Roubaix but the fact that he is the first Tour de France winner since Greg LeMond to tackle the cobbles of France has earned the Briton widespread admiration.
Many people and many of his rivals have dismissed Wiggins' chances on the rough cobbles of Northern France. However his form at last week's Tour of Flanders and his experience of riding Paris-Roubaix earlier in his career, means he could cause a surprise or at least play a vital role for his Team Sky teammates Edvald Boasson Thomas and Geraint Thomas.
In this Incycle video, Wiggins talks about his desire to do well in Paris-Roubaix as he takes a different path to the Tour de France.
"I'd love to compete well in something like Paris-Roubaix. I've been up there before in the mix, in that final part of race. Now the monkey's off my back with the Tour, its nice to have a different path to the tour this year and try some different things. Like the Tour, just to finish Paris-Roubaix, and come onto the velodrome, is quite something. I'm looking forward to trying to do that."
Wiggins also talk about the hard work he knows is needed to secure a place in the Team Sky squad for the Tour de France. He is naturally proud to be one of the corner stones of the British super team.
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Large crowds descended on the northern French town of Compiègne, for the team presentation of the 112th edition of Paris-Roubaix. The expectant fans were greeted with warm sunshine and hardly a cloud in the sky as they awaited their classics heroes. There was a party atmosphere in the main square with plenty of entertainment on show.
Race favourites Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) and Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) received the biggest cheers of the day, as they stepped out onto the large stage. French hopefuls Damien Gaudin and Sébastien Turgot (both AG2R-La Mondiale) also proved a favourite with the amassed fans.
The good weather is expected to continue for the weekend, making for a dry and dusty race. You can follow the whole race live tomorrow on Cyclingnews.
For a low-key American team like United Healthcare to be lining up at the start line of Paris-Roubaix in the cobbled Place du Général de Gaulle of Compiègne on Sunday morning is an extra-ordinary feat. The young Pro Continental team led by Mike Tamayo managed to secure a wild card for the Queen of the Classics and is hoping to pay the organizers back with a splendid performance on the cobbles on Sunday.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon it was clear that the nerves were frayed when the boys in blue-white showed up at the team presentation. Leading the nervous young riders was Martijn Maaskant and experienced sports directors Roberto Damiani and Hendrik Redant who were not overawed by the setting at the crowded square in Compiègne.
"Don't underestimate us," Redant told Cyclingnews. "I've noticed that someone like Brad White is super strong. He hasn't done this race but of course we've been riding the cobbles the last few days. They're all very motivated and that's very important in this race."
"It's our goal to be in the early breakaway. Our sole leader is Martijn because he has most experience in this race. His role will be to stay with the best riders and see how far he can go in the finale. It'll be hard to beat the likes of Cancellara and Boonen but you never know. He must try," Redant said.
Maaskant, a 30 year-old Dutch rider, finished fourth in his first Paris-Roubaix back in 2008, and fourth in the 2009 Ronde van Vlaanderen. After that he was never able to repeat his impressive exploits in the Spring classics. This year Maaskant was still in the dark regarding his form. "I was good until San Remo but then I got sick so I didn't go well in[3-days of] De Panne. The last few days I felt great and also the recon went much better but I don't know what that will deliver," Maaskant said.
While Maaskant has to focus on making it into the finale his team-mates have to focus on getting in the early...
Cannondale rider lines up for third tilt at Hell of the North
It's all but impossible for Peter Sagan to fly under the radar in the build-up to any race, but he certainly enters Paris-Roubaix without quite the same level of expectation or scrutiny that he faced in the build-up to Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders.
At the team presentation in Compiègne on Saturday afternoon, for instance, the biggest media scrums were reserved for the two doyens of the cobbles, Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen, while Sagan was able to slip through the mixed zone relatively hurriedly.
Sagan's disappointing 17th at the Tour of Flanders last weekend has reduced some of the external expectations and officially, at least, the word from Cannondale is that the Slovak is starting Paris-Roubaix for the first time since 2011 with the simple intention of gaining experience for future editions.
"It's my third time coming here. The first time I didn't finish and the second time I was just happy that I got to the finish. Now I'm here to take another experience and we'll see how it goes," Sagan told reporters in Compiègne
While that "other experience" of Paris-Roubaix undoubtedly encompasses staying with the likes of Cancellara and Boonen deep into the finale, Sagan was careful not to make any pronouncements as to his specific goals for the race.
He accepted, however, that while he is only the sixth favourite among the bookmakers, he will remain a marked man among his peers and will have little scope to try and anticipate Cancellara before the finale.
"I don't think the group will let me go in the breakaway so I just want to ride in the group and after I will see during the race," Sagan said. "After the Forest of Arenberg I will see how it's going.
"This race is very interesting for me and I want to do it...