Mission impossible for Discovery
With George Hincapie taking his best ever result in the Hell of the North, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team assistant directeur-sportif Dirk Demol naturally said "the only issue was Boonen," calling their game plan "mission impossible".
"I'm happy on one side but also, second place is the worst place possible [to finish]," said Demol on ThePaceline.com. "I think we must be happy with our second place here today and for George's ride - he had a great day - but what can you say of Boonen? He was unbeatable. It was one of George's best days - he didn't do anything wrong on the bike. Usually afterwards, you say: 'Well, we could have done this or should have done that.' But [Sunday], he rode the perfect race.
Added Demol: "I think he [Hincapie] also realised it was like 'mission impossible' to beat Tom today. He looked great all day but he knew if he couldn't drop him, it would be tough in the final. Every kilometre closer to the finish, we kept thinking, 'How can we beat him?'"
With best-placed team CSC rider Lars Michaelsen finishing in fifth place yet again, the Dane said he dreamed of finishing higher up the results sheet, but is still "really satisfied" with both his efforts and result. "I felt like I was riding really well and my intuitions before the race proved correct," recalled Michaelsen on the team's website, www.team-csc.com.
"I could see where the race was going to be decided the first time and went immediately after Quick.Step when they took off. When Flecha increased the tempo at Carrefour de l'Arbre, I was perhaps a bit unfocused, but I was also at my limits. Even though I've gotten fifth place before, I'm really satisfied."
"Lars rode a splendid Paris-Roubaix," echoed his team manager Bjarne Riis. "He didn't make any mistakes and he deserves lots of credit for the way he rode the race.
"For a long time, he was only 200 meters behind when the trio accelerated, but unfortunately could not catch up. Before, he had been one of the most prominent riders in the race. I am really satisfied with our race today and with our performance on the cobblestones in general. We've lived up to the expectations we had and I think that we have gotten the most out of a team made up of both experienced riders and rookies," said Riis.