Traditionally Paris-Roubaix has kicked off with a team presentation in the centre of Compiegne a day before the race, and this year was no different. The market square outside the Place du Palais was awash with cycling fans as the team buses arrived on Saturday afternoon and with sunny skies above the atmosphere was a mix of excitement.
Tomorrow's race is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the entire season. It wasn’t just the fans that were caught up in the events, with many of the riders taking time to pose for photographs, sign caps and jerseys, and wax lyrical as to why Paris-Roubaix is such a special date in cycling's calendar.
Adam Blythe (Omega Pharma-Lotto) First year professional enjoying his first year in the top ranks of the sport
"I did Flanders last week, and that was the biggest race of my life, it was brilliant so I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll be looking after Hoste and trying to keep him out of trouble. It's a Belgian team so it's almost as big as the worlds to ride in these types of races for these guys so for me to be in the team and be part of it is special. I'll do my job and hope to finish."
George Hincapie (BMC) Perennial Roubaix contender has five spare bikes for tomorrow and won’t let Ballan’s situation distract him
"Ballan was a great teammate and a great guy so we're missing him already. I'm focused on the event and I've got so many things going on in my life that if I let that every event distract me, then it could be hard. Obviously it's a disappointment for the team but they're doing what they think is right. There's nothing that saying he's guilty, they just want him to work things out in his own time. We all respect that."
Robbie McEwen (Katusha) drafted in to help the team’s position in the team caravan. He hasn't ridden Robaix since the 90s.
"I've ridden Paris Roubaix a couple of times but that was a long time ago. I've quite enjoyed it but since then I've had some real leaders in teams and I've focussed on other things but I'm here this year and I'm going to enjoy it and see how far I get. Getting into each section is like a sprint and I don't ride too badly over the stones."
Rolf Sorenen (former pro) Last time McEwen rode Roubaix it was in support of Sorensen, who has finished in the top 10 on numerous occasions.
"Being here always brings back so many memories. It's the most spectacular race in so many way. It's the race shown on television more than any other race other than the Tour. I was leading the World Cup a few times and the ASO asked me to come and it was a real honour. Before then I wasn't really a specialist in this race but since then I’ve been coming more and more. I won liege and Flanders but winning Roubaix would have also been special. It's the atmosphere it’s everything."
Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Transitions) finished in the top 10 last year and is hoping to carry the team’s good form into Sunday’s race
"I’m ready. I’ve trained a lot I’ve done everything. My form is good, and I’ll give it everything. Hopefully no crashes and spins like last year. Everyone thought I did that spin on purpose last year but it was only because a rider caught my arm. No crashes, no rain. That’s what I want for tomorrow.
David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) His second start in Roubaix but one of the most excited riders in Compiegne
"Being a fan of the sport is the essence of what I am. Being here last year as a fam made me realise I have to do this is. I’m excited, nervously obviously but very glad the weather is going to hold out. We've got four guys that will be protected and we'll see how it turns out in the end. This is such a historical race, a monuemt of the sport."
Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo) Domestique for Thor Hushovd in tomorrow's race
"It's the best one-day race in the world, the race that everyone wants to win. You get a lot of luck you never know what will happen. I never used to watch races when I as growing up but I used to read about them and this was one that was very special. I leant all about this race and how special it is in my last year as an amateur."
Nicco Mattan (Aqua Saponi) Director Sportif hoping his team leader is fit to start in tomorrow's race
"Tomorrow you can't look past Cancellara, Boonen and Breschel. Paolini crashed this morning but he can go top 10."