Owain Doull's 2017 season preparations were hampered in January, when he was struck by appendicitis days before he was due to line up for Team Sky at the Tour Down Under and forced to withdraw. Despite this setback, Doull joined the team at the Abu Dhabi Tour and sees his future as a key part of the team's Classics squad after his debut Paris-Roubaix.
Cyclingnews spoke to Doull on the track in the Roubaix velodrome after he finished outside the time limit and the Welshman didn't hold back when describing his first 'Hell of the North'.
"It was manic, brutal. The break didn't go for a while, it took forever really, so it was manic through the first few sections of cobbles. Going into the first one, we were pretty well placed and from then on, it was chaos."
Owain Doull and his teammate Jonathan Dibben, also racing his first Paris-Roubaix, were caught out in an early crash, and spent the remainder of the afternoon chasing. Dibben eventually completed the race as the final rider across the line.
"I went down around twenty or thirty kilometers before Arenburg, then I had a mechanical and had to have a bike change. From then on it was chasing all day. I guess that's just Roubaix though, everyone's got a story like that."
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) claimed victory in what was the fastest-ever edition of Paris-Roubaix. The winning average speed was 45.2kph.
"Oh joy. That's a great statistic for your debut isn't it? That's just what you need. The heat was quite tough too, especially when you're that far behind," he said.
There were no zone hoppers [soigneurs] at the feed zones, so there's no water or drinks to grab. You're just grabbing whatever you can, a beer if you can take that, anything."
Doull's teammate Gianni Moscon finished the race in fifth place, and despite a disappointing Tour of Flanders, the team can be happy with their Classics season following Michal Kwiatkowski's Milan-San Remo victory. Kwiatkowski will be expected to be to the fore in the Ardennes Classics, as well as Wout Poels, who won Liege-Bastogne-Liege last year.
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