After starting his Classics season with a crash, Max Walscheid is hoping to end it with a bang of a different kind at this weekend's Paris-Roubaix. The Team Sunweb rider showed that he is back on the right path after his fall three weeks ago in Nokere Koerse with second place on Wednesday at Scheldeprijs, and he is excited about his return to the Hell of the North.
Walscheid made his debut at the race last season, finishing a respectable 52nd at just under 13 minutes behind the winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). This weekend, he is hoping to push further into the race and take home a strong result.
"Not only my second place but the overall sporting performance was very nice," Walscheid told Cyclingnews of his performance at Scheldeprijs. "I had lots of fun today, and I am very much looking forward to Sunday.
"It's just my second start [at Paris-Roubaix], but I think that the race suits me, and I want to get as deep as possible into the final and we can see what we can do as a team."
Walscheid took a hefty tumble in his opening Belgian race of the season, Nokere Koerse. The German had been up towards the front when he touched wheels with Matteo Moschetti in the finale, spearing him across the road. He was able to finish on foot, but the injuries would hamper him at Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, his first big goal of the spring.
"For one week, I didn't feel very well because my body needed to improve from bruises and abrasions," he said. "Normally, I was very focused on the three days of De Panne, which have been a big goal, but at the race itself I was not very well recovered from the crash, but afterwards the Classics campaign continued strong and I was able to support my team well at E3 and Gent-Wevelgem and it was nice to be up there again."
It was not a straightforward day for the riders at Scheldeprijs with crosswinds battering the peloton almost from the very beginning. Walscheid managed to stay out of trouble and looked to be in the right place at the back of the Deceuninck-QuickStep train before he lost position in the final corner. He tried to go early, in the wheel of Marco Haller but had no answer as Fabio Jakobsen stormed past him to take the win.
"I think we managed to stay pretty calm and the whole team was super focused. I am happy with how we acted. In the final, we maybe lacked a few metres before the finish line but everybody gave their best and we came very close today," explained Walscheid.
"With 1.5k to go, I think I was very well positioned. In the last corner, there was a bit of a wave from the left side and I lost a lot of positions. Then, on the finish straight, I followed the wheel of Marco Haller but then I caught a bit too much wind. I went all out."