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Special Paris-Roubaix Cycling News for April 14, 2007

Date published:
April 14, 2007, 1:00 BST
  • Fantasy Spring Classics game ready for Paris-Roubaix!

    Play this year's fantasy
    Article published:
    April 14, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet in Compiègne

    The provisional rider-list for the Paris-Roubaix race has been uploaded to the Fantasy Cyclingnews...

    Spring Classics Fantasy GameThe provisional rider-list for the Paris-Roubaix race has been uploaded to the Fantasy Cyclingnews Game site, and the game is ready to play! Pick your teams now! Keep in mind, teams may change overnight, so be sure to check in on Sunday for the final start list.. Don't miss out, enter your teams now and you too could win in tomorrow's Paris-Roubaix.

    Remember you don't need to have competed in all the previous races to stand a chance of winning the Spring Classic prize. You can just play for one race to win a pair of BBB glasses.

    If you have competed in all the races though here's a quick reminder of what's on offer:

    The Grand Prize is a Specialized S-Works Roubaix bicycle in Quick Step - Innergetic colors equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace components and S-Works FACT over-sized carbon cranks and bottom bracket worth $6000 USD! That's not all you could win in this year's Fantasy games. To celebrate our fifth year of Fantasy games the Spring Classics will also be featuring some top runner-up prizes.

    Runner-up Prizes

    The first runner-up prize this year is a Cycleops Powertap 2.4 (wireless) worth $1499 USD. Cycleops upgraded the world's most accurate, lightest power meter to be the world's first wireless meter, meaning you can easily switch it between bikes.

    A pair of BBB's "Winner Team" glasses are on offer for the highest scoring Fantasy team in every Classic. You don't have to take part in all seven races to stand a good chance of winning this prize. The highest score per classic wins a pair...

  • Pre-race quotes: Lancaster, Bäckstedt, Haussler & Vansevenant

    Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner)
    Article published:
    April 14, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet in Compiègne

    By Jean-François Quénet in Compiègne First Roubaix for an excited Lancaster Having raced for Pro...

    By Jean-François Quénet in Compiègne

    First Roubaix for an excited Lancaster

    Having raced for Pro Continental outfit Panaria for four years after debuting with iTeamNova, Milram's Brett Lancaster will make his first appearance in Paris-Roubaix, aged 27. "It's like a dream for me," he said. "I've always wanted to do this race, I'll give my best. For Milram, it can't be worse than it's been in the past few weeks. With all the crashes, we have lost Zabel, Velo, Sacchi... Petacchi crashed as well in Gent-Wevelgem. Yesterday, in training, we also lost Dyudya who crashed because his legs warmers got caught in his fork, he's going to have an operation to his chin."

    One year ago, the Australian Olympic champion for team pursuit broke his collarbone broken in four parts and was being treated in the hospital in Angers just a few rooms away from Saul Raisin, whose life was in danger. "I feel much better being here on the cobblestones," Lancaster added. "When I reconnoitred the course yesterday, my shoulder was a bit sore though, it was the first time since I recovered."

    As a result of the crashes that affected Milram, the Victorian will be a protected rider. "I have no clue of this race but I know it will be important to be up there in the forest. A few guys will be helping me. I was 27th at the Tour of Flanders and I was happy. I'm still happy with my form at the moment."

    Bäckstedt: different approach and better form than in 2004

    As planned, Magnus Bäckstedt abandoned in the Circuit de la Sarthe on Thursday after coming 3rd in the individual time trial. He wanted to save some energy for Paris-Roubaix, after having raced quite a lot. The Liquigas rider also did the Settimana Lombarda one week ago. "It's a totally different build-up than usual," he explained. "The other boys who want to win here have done the other classics before. It means they have spent some energy already. I...

  • Benna looking better

    Article published:
    April 14, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Gregor Brown in Compiègne

    By Gregor Brown in Compiègne Daniele Bennati of Lampre-Fondital was knocked out after last weekend's...

    By Gregor Brown in Compiègne

    Daniele Bennati of Lampre-Fondital was knocked out after last weekend's Ronde van Vlaanderen. The rider from Arezzo helped his teammate, Alessandro Ballan, to victory but shortly after the race started feeling ill.

    He spent two days without riding and was forced to miss the Gent-Wevelgem, a race where he would have been a favourite to win. "I had to take two days off because at one point I had a fever of 40°C," he said as the team was preparing for a ride on Saturday morning. "The symptoms were the same to what I had after Paris-Nice, with an upset stomach."

    But now, Bennati recovered and focused on helping his teammate on Sunday. "I want to start tomorrow to give Ballan a hand. He has a really good chance of winning and I will do what I can," he said, looking good but it will have to be seen how his legs react after his forced rest.

  • "One train can hide another"

    Boonen, Ballan and Flecha waited for the barriers to go up before crossing the tracks
    Article published:
    April 14, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Hedwig Kröner Un train peut en cacher un autre ("One train can hide another"), that is the French...

    By Hedwig Kröner

    Un train peut en cacher un autre ("One train can hide another"), that is the French standard security warning at railway crossings throughout the country. Last year at Paris-Roubaix, Leif Hoste, Peter Van Petegem and Vladimir Gusev did not obey the prohibition of crossing a railway when the barriers are down - the train was not yet in sight - and paid for it greatly, as the race commissaires disqualified them.

    The chasing Tom Boonen, Alessandro Ballan and Juan Antonio Flecha waited patiently until the train had passed, but technically they went through when the barriers were lowered, too, which caused some discussion after the race.

    This year, event organiser ASO has made contact with the SNCF French railroads company, which appointed a special coordinator to inform the race directors of the passing of freight trains, which are not subject to any particular schedule. There are nine railway crossing on the parcours from Compiègne to Roubaix, but it is impossible to avoid them when planning the race course, so incidents of the same kind could still happen on Sunday.

    In particular the railway crossing #142, located just before the Tranchée d'Arenberg cobble section, could be a problem: A train is scheduled to pass this point eight minutes before the fastest time schedule of the riders (14.54). As ASO's Paris-Roubaix parcours director Thierry Gouvenou explained, "How do you stop a 100-man peloton racing flat out to get to the cobble section in a good position? It was already hot last year, when the barriers were lifted 20 seconds before the first riders arrived..."

    And at the last railway crossing of the parcours, in Chéreng, fatal to Hoste, Van Petegem and Gusev in 2006, two trains are expected at 17.04 and 17.15, whilst the race is scheduled to cross this point between 16.55 and 17.33, depending on the average speed of the riders.

  • Going the distance

    Franzoi with his machine.
    Article published:
    April 14, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    24 year-old Enrico Franzoi did his lion's share in last Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen to help...

    24 year-old Enrico Franzoi did his lion's share in last Sunday's Ronde van Vlaanderen to help Lampre-Fondital teammate Alessandro Ballan achieve victory. The Italian cyclo-cross champion will form part of the eight-man team roster for Sunday's Paris-Roubaix. Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews spoke with Franzoi as he prepared for the day's training ride.

    "Last Sunday I used my strength to the fullest to help Alessandro [Ballan]," commented Franzoi Saturday morning in Compiègne. He had spent over 200 kilometres off the front in the Ronde as part of a three-man escape. The move enabled his team captain to 'relax' as the other teams worked to control the time limit of the escape.

    Franzoi explained that the day went well for him, even if he was not yet accustomed to riding such distances. "I spent 220 kilometres in the escape," he noted. "I felt good, even if in the finale I finished in the second group. I was happy with how my race went."

    The race came all together before the Muur. It was on that penultimate climb that Franzoi's teammates took over; first Daniele Bennati, marking the move of Tom Boonen, then Ballan, who attacked for the win.

    "My legs were over by the Muur," explained Franzoi with pride in his accomplishment. "We were hoping to make it over the climb before the group but it was fine all the same. I am really happy for Ballan; it is a really good feeling to see your work pay off. I felt like I worked well for my captain."

    Click here to read the full interview with Franzoi.

  • Discovery Channel's dark horses

    Vladimir Gusev
    Article published:
    April 14, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Discovery Channel will be starting Paris-Roubaix without their key man for the cobbles, George...

    Discovery Channel will be starting Paris-Roubaix without their key man for the cobbles, George Hincapie, who is out with a broken wrist. But the team has two lesser known prospects for Sunday's race: Russian muscleman Vladimir Gusev and the Lithuanian star Tomas Vaitkus.

    Both have their own strengths, with Gusev being more of a climber while Vaitkus has a fast sprint in his legs, and both have a passion for the cobbles, which is necessary to excel in Paris-Roubaix. Cyclingnews' Brecht Decaluwé caught up with the two at the team's hotel in Compiègne to find out more.

    Vladimir Gusev crossed the line in the 2006 edition of the 'Hell of the North' in fourth place, but you won't find his name on the results. Gusev was one of the riders - together with Leif Hoste and Peter Van Petegem - who were chasing the lead group when a train crossing's barriers closed down in front of them, signalling an oncoming freighter. The trio crossed the closed barriers and were subsequently disqualified, a harsh decision. The Russian 24 year-old doesn't like to look back on that race. "People saw everything, they saw what we encountered," Gusev said to Cyclingnews.

    On Sunday Gusev will be one of the outsiders for the win, but he has been doing well throughout the current season, with a fifth place in the Ronde van Vlaanderen as highlight. "I am not the big favourite but for sure, I have good legs so I'll keep going," Gusev said. Gusev picks the same favourites as the bookmakers have chosen. "It would be a good experience to beat Boonen and Cancellara."

    Click here to read the full interview with Gusev and Vaitkus.

  • Boonen fighting with equal weapons again

    Tom Boonen faces the press.
    Article published:
    April 14, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    It's starting to become something of a tradition, Quick.Step-Innergetic meeting the press in a...

    It's starting to become something of a tradition, Quick.Step-Innergetic meeting the press in a grubby backroom of the old-fashioned Bar Tabac L'Allumette in Bouvines after their reconnaissance of the Paris-Roubaix cobbles. Brecht Decaluwé was there once more for Cyclingnews.

    It could be me, but I had the impression things were different this year, although I couldn't figure out what had changed. First of all, there was much more sun, making it feel somewhat like a Tour de France rest day. Probably because of the good weather, there were more local people at the Bar Tabac. And why not pay a visit to cycling's prominent figurehead Tom 'Tornado' Boonen? The Quick.Step riders arrived from their reconnaissance ride, freshened up, and team leader Boonen strolled into L'Allumette.

    Last year, Boonen was surprised to see so many people, saying the place was getting too small - journalists responded by saying that he was getting too big. This year, Boonen entered, sat down and looked somewhat bored with yet another press conference on his plate. A journalist asked why riders did the reconnaissance ride and Boonen answered rather tersely: "Only because you guys want us here."

    Luckily, for the assembled press at least, Boonen soon livened up, making it an interesting brainstorm session. "Of course it's always interesting to see the new sectors," noted the Belgian. "Sector 13 is very bad, it won't be deciding for the race, it's just bad; they decided to throw some cobbles on the ground there," he added, in his typical ironic style. Manager Wilfried Peeters then explained that there's now less time for riders to recuperate, as in the past this section was ridden on the main road.

    The weather report for Sunday forecasts 26 degrees in the afternoon and today was a nice preparation for those unseasonably warm conditions. "It was very hot, I drank nine bidons of water; the heat will cause breathing problems and crashes,"...

  • A breakdown of Hell: The pavé of Paris-Roubaix

    It begins.
    Article published:
    April 14, 2007, 1:00 BST
    By:
    Hedwig Kröner

    This coming Sunday, the roads of northeastern France will once again play host to the biggest...

    This coming Sunday, the roads of northeastern France will once again play host to the biggest one-day bike race in the world, Paris-Roubaix. But these are no ordinary roads, as Cyclingnews' resident pavé basher Ben Atkins finds out.

    Unlike Flanders, the secteurs (the French word for sectors) count you down to the finish, which in one way is good as it lets you know where you are in relation to the finish - but it also lets you know exactly how many more times your body is going to have to be put through this torment!

    Secteur 28 - Troisvilles à Inchy
    Length: 2.2 km
    Rating: ***
    Km from start: 98
    Km from finish: 161.5

    It begins.

    The route turns off the main road out of the picturesque village of Troisville on to a narrow track and first timers get a nice rude awakening as to why this race is so special. Sadly for the many riders here under sufferance, the feed zone is another 47km away - the Euskaltel team springs to mind here, now forced to ride under ProTour regulations, but teams like this have always taken part in order to curry favour with the organisers ASO, so that they could get a Tour de France invitation.

    Mercifully, this secteur is one of the more rideable ones, it has a gentle slope in the riders' favour and isn't too badly surfaced. Only when it takes a right angle left hander towards the village of Inchy does it start to rise gradually, but it's soon over and the course rejoins the modern world again.

    Click here to read the full feature on the cobbles that make up the 'Hell of the North'.