Canadian national champion Will Routley has grabbed an exciting result as he finished second to Europcar's Vincent Jérôme at the Tro Bro Leon - the Breton version of Paris-Roubaix in the west of France featuring 32 kilometres of gravelled roads in the middle of farmland and alongside the coast of the English Channel.
"This is an awesome race", Routley reacted to Cyclingnews. "I've loved it! The first time I had heard of what this race is about was from a 50-year-old fun rider a couple of days ago when I was training near Carcassonne, where we have our team base", explained the 27-year-old from Spidertech.
"I switched from mountain biking to road racing only at the age of 21", he continued. "So I felt comfortable on the dirt, even when I've had to chase back after two flats."
His big regret was to not have conducted the final two-man sprint smartly against Frenchman Jérôme. Routley opened the sprint with more than 300 metres to go in a slightly uphill finale.
"I'll be reviewing this sprint a few times", said the rider from British Colombia. "I had a little bit of cramp, that's why I lost confidence and sprinting too early. I should have waited until the last minute. Canadians are known to be too nice guys… When I won the national championship last year in Edmonton, it was also a two-man sprint with Andrew Rendell, who is now my team-mate but he wasn't at the time. It was a similar finish as today but I sprinted much better."
"I'm still learning as a pro cyclist", he added. "I enjoy short and steep climbs but I suffer in the high mountains. I like the kind of cycling we practised today. It was difficult all day and I kept going. I'm sort of a rouleur, but maybe I'm too small for a rouleur. What I love to do on a bike is a six-hour solo ride. I also enjoy doing this job because it makes me travel the world and discover new places."
Routley will have a lot to enjoy next week as he'll take part in the Presidential Tour of Turkey starting on April 24. "My favourite fruits are dates and figs, so I think I'll have a lot of them in Turkey", he smiled. "It seems to be a very interesting country to visit. Turkey has a rapidly growing economy. I'm looking forward to see what it's all about. This race is also perfect for our preparation for the Tour of California."