Having won the opening stage on the way to the overall title in the recent Circuit Franco-Belge, Jürgen Roelandts says he’s got the condition to win Paris-Tours, or at least finish on the podium. Roelandts will lead his Lotto Belisol team during the 235.5km race which is held on Sunday 7 October.
Roelandts endured a difficult start to the year after a dramatic fall in his opening race of the year in stage 1 at Tour Down Under but has since shown he’s one of Lotto Belisol’s best lead-out men for teammate Andre Greipel. The Belgian was part of the train that lead Greipel to three stage wins at this year’s Tour de France.
"After my serious fall in the Tour Down Under I out for four months and I was cross about missing the classics. It was a very difficult period," Roelandts told Het Laatste Nieuws.
"Now I end the season in the best conditions. The contrast with the beginning of 2012 could not be greater. Next Sunday I want to stand on podium in Paris-Tours. I won the competition already in the promises [U-23]. After four good days in this stage race, I'm very motivated to make something of it. At the world championships, I have indeed shown that my legs are capable of racing more than 250km," he said.
Roelandts was part of Philippe Gilbert’s winning team at the recent UCI Road World Championships and finished a respectable 35th, just 17 seconds down on his Belgian teammate won took the victory.
Teammate Greipel was happy to repay Roelandts at Franco-Belge and duly worked to protect the overall lead throughout the four-stage race. At the competition of the final stage, the German expressed his thanks to Roelandts and spoke of his expectations ahead of Paris-Tours.
"Before the race, I told Jürgen that I wanted to be in his service, to thank him for everything he has done for me throughout the year. He has done very well in this leadership role by winning the first stage and the final ranking," said Greipel to Het Laatste Nieuws.
"Roelandts is very strong right now, said Greipel. "I will not make Paris-Tours, but Jürgen will win this classic."