Boasson Hagen leads experienced Dimension Data team at Paris-Roubaix

Norwegian finished fifth in 2016, and will be supported by Eisel, Bak and Janse van Rensburg

Edvald Boasson Hagen will head up a strong and experienced Dimension Data team at this year's Paris-Roubaix in a determined bid to kickstart the African WorldTour team's slow start to the season.

The Norwegian will be looking to improve on his best finishing position of fifth at the 2016 race – the year when Australia's Mat Hayman took the top prize – and will start his eighth Roubaix in Compiègne, France, on Sunday.

On hand to assist him will be the vastly experienced Lars Bak and Bernie Eisel, who between them have ridden 'The Hell of the North' 27 times. Bak will be starting his 13th Roubaix, while Eisel has ridden – and finished – the race 15 times before, making Dimension Data one of the most experienced squads to be taking on the cobbles of northern France this weekend.

Boasson Hagen has taken one of only two wins for Dimension Data this season, with victory in the individual time trial at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February. The only other win came from Giacomo Nizzolo on the final stage of the Tour of Oman later that month.

Boasson Hagen tried again at Wednesday's Scheldeprijs, attacking with Wallonie Bruxelles' Lionel Taminiaux with 13km to go, before leaving the Belgian behind to go solo. However, the 31-year-old was caught just 3km from the finish, and the race came down to a bunch sprint, in which Deceuninck-QuickStep's Fabio Jakobsen won for the second year in a row.

"My form is certainly getting better, although I'm not where I was hoping to be this spring, having to play catch-up since getting sick," said Boasson Hagen on his team's website.

"But my plan earlier in the week was to try to attack at Scheldeprijs and see how far I could get. I didn't get to the finish line – well, I got there eventually, but not first – and I was happy to get through without any issues. So that's good, and I'm now looking forward to Sunday."

Like a number of other teams, the Dimension Data Roubaix squad trained on the cobbles on Thursday, just the day after Scheldeprijs.

"After the recon today, I can confirm that the cobbles are still bumpy, and that they haven't changed much," Boasson Hagen said. "But it's always good to test the equipment, to see how the sections are, and if there's anything new. The ride itself was still a bit hard after yesterday's exertions, but it was good.

"In terms of Sunday's race, luck does play quite a big factor. You need to have plenty of form, and you need to have a lot of luck, but you also need to try to stay in front and out of trouble," he said. "Then you have a good chance of having a good day."

Dimension Data sports director Jean-Pierre Heynderickx added that the race was given its 'Hell of the North' nickname for good reason.

"The 29 very hard cobblestone sections equal over 50 really hard kilometres – but which also makes it one of the most beautiful races to watch live, both on TV or out on the course itself," Heynderickx said.

"As a team, we have a couple of really strong riders, who we will be looking at to do well. Edvald, for instance, was fifth year a couple of years ago, so we're really looking forward to Sunday."

Dimension Data for the 2019 Paris-Roubaix: Lars Bak, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Julien Vermote, Jay Thomson, Rasmus Tiller

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