As expected, 2005 Paris-Roubaix champion Tom Boonen has been named to lead the Quickstep-Innergetic team in the 'Hell of the North' this Sunday. Boonen will have the help of a strong team, including 2003 winner Peter Van Petegem and Gert Steegmans. Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown caught up with Steegmans after the pre-ride, and he indicated that the 2007 edition will be most unusual.
"It will be dusty in the race," he noted, still cleaning the dirt from the corners of his eyes. "Today, it was okay because there were only eight riders." The weather is expected to be hot, near 26°C. The lack of rain recently has made the pavé very dry and dusty, which, on Sunday, will create a huge dust-storm atmosphere around the groups of riders.
"I don't remember a Roubaix like this," summarised Steegmans, as he sat in the shade of the team bus. "It is really hot and that will make a strange Paris-Roubaix; I have never done one like this. It feels like summer." He then added his own personal forecast for the race; he believes there will be strong winds. "I think it will be a headwind on Sunday, which will make for a hard race. We will have to wait for Sunday to see how it goes."
Quickstep-Innergetic Paris-Roubaix roster: Tom Boonen, Steven De Jongh, Sebastien Rosseler, Gert Steegmans, Matteo Tosatto, Kevin Van Impe, Peter Van Petegem and Wouter Weylandt.
For the full interview with Gert Steegmans, click here.