Bernhard Eisel of T-Mobile was one of the favourites going into Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, but "two flat tires, a broken handlebar and a crash were just too much." Still, the Austrian sprinter wasn't disappointed with his 65th place finish, 12.21 minutes after winner Stuart O'Grady.
"First I had to give Marcus Burghardt my front wheel and catch back up with the field," he said in an interview with sport1.at. "I joined up with the big chase group after Arenberg. Then Boonen attacked, just at the moment that I was getting water bottles. At some point your oven goes out. I couldn't do any more."
Looking to the future, Eisel is sure of a place on T-Mobile's Tour de France team this year, but knows he has to deliver. "It's pretty sure that I'll be there," he said. "Gerald Ciolek is too young, Andre Greipel is still injured and has a lot of catching up to do, and Greg Henderson won't ride it. So I'm the only sprinter who is set. The Tour is my big goal, but it won't be easy. I have to win a stage, otherwise I will certainly not be there next year. Then 2007 would be my last Tour in a T-Mobile jersey."
Still, the Austrian isn't nervous. "My form is better than the results show," he concluded. "I don't have to learn anything more, just get stronger. I'm always there when it matters, when the race is decided. Nothing can surprise me any more. A little more luck wouldn't hurt. The rest will come. With success, my self-confidence will come back, and then it will happen."