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James Murdoch and Brailsford traveled as guests with Bernard Hinault
News Corp Chairman watches the race from a VIP car with Brailsford and Hinault
James Murdoch was a special guest at Paris-Roubaix and watched the race with Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford and French cycling legend Bernard Hinault in a VIP car.
Murdoch is the Chairman and Chief Executive of News Corporation in Europe and Asia, the parent company of Sky, which sponsors the new British team. He is also keen cyclist and flew to France overnight from New York to be at the start in Compiegne.
"This is the first time I've been able to follow a major race like this. It should be fun," he told Cyclingnews just a few minutes before the start.
"It's a huge day, it's one of the great days on the cycling calendar for any fan and also for the team. They're looking forward to this and it's going to be really exciting."
"It's also the first time I got to see the Team Sky bus. I said to Dave [Brailsford], I'd been hearing about the darn bus all the time. But it's a good one and the guys seem to like it."
The best team in the world
Murdoch talked to Juan Antonio Flecha and the other Team Sky riders on the bus before the start of Paris-Roubaix. He said Sky is happy with the results of the team but has set them the goal of being the best team in the world.
"They all seem ready to race and are pumped up for this," he said.
"I can say from Sky's perspective that we're very happy with the results so far. We're really proud to be associated with a team like this. We're trying to make the best cycling team in the world. We're trying to push the envelope. It's early days, but so far, so good. Dave and everyone in the team are doing a tremendous job. They're juggling a busy calendar but have really high goals. That's what you need to have. I think the guys are progressing really well. Cycling is a complicated sport and it's a big programme but we're getting there."
Murdoch rode the Maratona dles Dolomites sportif in Italy last summer. His late arrival in Compiegne meant he was unable to ride on the cobbles and admitted he is a little behind with his training for a second ride at the Maratona.
"I'm not as fit as I should be because I've been traveling too much but I'm getting they're," he said. "I'm riding the Maratona again in May and maybe the Etape in the Tour de France. Unfortunately my training calendar hasn't been quite as intense as it should have been."