Paris-Roubaix: Dimension Data underdogs in search of luck

Boasson Hagen leads injury hit squad

Ravaged by injuries to several high-profile riders, and without a clear favourite, Dimension Data head into Paris-Roubaix hoping that fortune will be on their side.

The team are missing Mark Cavendish, Bernhard Eisel, and Scott Thwaites through injury, while perennial Classics hope, Edvald Boasson Hagen, is still searching for his best from having had his spleen removed during the off-season.

The Norwegian claimed fourth in Dwars door Vlaanderen before finishing 19th at the Tour of Flanders, and having finished fifth in Paris-Roubaix two seasons ago, will be looking for a strong performance. Julian Vermote dislocated his shoulder in the Tour of Flanders but is scheduled to race this Sunday.

For directeur sportif, Rolf Aldag, the weather for Paris-Roubaix will be a significant factor. Although rain is not scheduled for Sunday the recent wet weather has left several sectors of cobbles covered in thick mud.

"I'm not a weatherman so I can't predict what it will be like on race day but as far as our recon was concerned on Thursday, I've never seen conditions like that before," Aldag said.

Aldag was one of the few riders to race and finish the last truly wet Paris-Roubaix back in 2002, finishing 25th on a day that saw less than 45 riders make it to the velodrome.

"We can only hope for nice fast conditions on race day but we will deal with whatever is presented to us. Hell of the North is always a battle no matter what and it will be a big fight. History can be made at Roubaix, at Lombardy or Liege-Bastogne-Liege you are not going to win if you are not the strongest but here, out of different tactical scenarios, good luck or even bad luck to others, you always have a fair chance and I think that motivates guys to come back year after year to give Roubaix a shot. We are little in that situation, the underdogs on Sunday."

With injuries ruling out Cavendish, Eisel, and Thwaites, the team has handed Paris-Roubaix debuts to Jaco Venter and Johann van Zyl.

Dimension Data for Paris-Roubaix: Edvald Boasson Hagen, Julien Vermote, Ryan Gibbons, Nic Dougall, Jaco Venter, Jay Thomson and Johann van Zyl.

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