By Stéphanie Langlais, translation by Chris Henry
Two riders on the same team; great friends, but with contrasting personalities, riding styles and objectives. And as Stéphanie Langlais discovers shortly before Paris-Roubaix, Bouygues Telecom's Thomas Voeckler and Anthony Geslin have one more thing in common: they're both are motivated to make their mark in the peloton sooner rather than later.
Cyclingnews: We're in the heart of the classics season, are the classics a type of race you like?
Anthony Geslin: The big classics are a dream of mine, whether it's Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, or Paris-Roubaix.
Thomas Voeckler: I like these races too, because they carry a certain valour and sense of history. That gives them extra prestige. Emotionally, it's a strong feeling and very demanding when you race them. It's also very hard to play a role. You have to have a lot of reserves, experience, and of course, lots of strength. I do think that if fundamentally you're not a specialist, you can develop the qualities necessary through hard work and experience. For me, I'm not worried about finishing in the finale of any [of these] races in the coming years!
AG: For my part, I hope to specialise in the classics. I've got a good turn of speed, I can hold my position well, and I do OK on the small hills, whereas in the stage races, I'm limited by the mountains and the time trials. I haven't ridden a lot of classics yet in my career, but this is the year for me to start and you learn quickly, particularly when there's an expert on the team. Sébastien Chavanel lives in the area [in Tournai, Belgium-ed.]. He knows these roads by heart and helps us understand the strategic locations in the different parcours: the hills and the entrances to the pavé sections. That's important because it's in these spots that placement is critical and it's where the difference is made.
In any event, I'm satisfied with my races in Belgium and I'm going to try to prepare better from this point on. I finished 14th at Het Volk and 17th at the GP E3. At the Tour of Flanders, I was going well until about three or four climbs from the finish, then I got caught behind a split. It was really demanding, and for my first participation I was satisfied to have finished not too far behind the best riders [40th at 6'25 to Tom Boonen-ed.].