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Flecha ready for anything at Paris-Roubaix

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I've got a feelin': Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) looking relaxed at the start

I've got a feelin': Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) looking relaxed at the start
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Sky riders share a joke during the press conference

Sky riders share a joke during the press conference
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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The Sky team line up for the press conference

The Sky team line up for the press conference
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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And relax: The riders were in good spirits this morning in Belgium

And relax: The riders were in good spirits this morning in Belgium
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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A team mechanic gets to work on the bikes ahead of Sunday's race

A team mechanic gets to work on the bikes ahead of Sunday's race
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Michael Barry's bike on display

Michael Barry's bike on display
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Pinarello's KOBH 60.1 bikes

Pinarello's KOBH 60.1 bikes
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Hayman and Thomas before a short morning ride

Hayman and Thomas before a short morning ride
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Flecha is a favourite for Roubaix but the stress isn't getting to him

Flecha is a favourite for Roubaix but the stress isn't getting to him
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Flecha and Barry chat before the Sky ride

Flecha and Barry chat before the Sky ride
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Can Juan Antonio Flecha claim the race he loves most?

Can Juan Antonio Flecha claim the race he loves most?
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Here's looking at you: Michael Barry in his new Oakleys

Here's looking at you: Michael Barry in his new Oakleys
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Kurt-Asle Arvesen (right) with former pro Dag Otto Lauritzen

Kurt-Asle Arvesen (right) with former pro Dag Otto Lauritzen
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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Geraint Thomas smiles for the paparazzi

Geraint Thomas smiles for the paparazzi
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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There was no Spanish media for Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) to talk to after his win at the Belgian race.

There was no Spanish media for Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) to talk to after his win at the Belgian race.
(Image credit: Tim Van Wichelen)

Juan Antonio Flecha knows he will have to beat Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara if he wants to win Pais-Roubaix on Sunday, yet the experienced Spaniard refuse to be overawed by his rivals and is ready for any race scenario on the cobbles on Sunday.

Flecha is always on form for the Spring Classics and especially Roubaix. He finished second in 2007, sixth last year and has other top five placings.

"I can remember every Roubaix I've ridden. I remember my first one and second one when I was in the front and from there all the big results started to come," the Team Sky rider said before going for a final training ride in Belgium and traveling to Compiègne on Friday.

"I think I love this race for the same reason as many other riders. It's because they're epical. There's a lot of adversity during the race. It defines me and all the 200 riders who will be on the start line on Sunday."

Flecha is considered one of the big favourites for Paris-Roubaix and will be absolute team leader at Team Sky after Edvald Boasson Hagen was sidelined by an Achilles heel injury. He was not quite as strong as Boonen and Cancellara in the Tour of Flanders and would struggle against Boonen in a sprint. Yet he rightly refuses the idea he cannot beat then both in any race scenario and his victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad backs up his claim.

"I rode perfect at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and it could happen again on Sunday. Why not? But it’s going to be about many factors, not only being strong," he said.

"I'm not going to think about the ways I can't win this race otherwise it'd be better if I don't even start the race. If there is only one way I can win that's wrong. At the start everyone has the same chance of winning."

"People say Cancellara is really strong and can win by a minute and Boonen is fast in the sprint, but I have to adapt to the situation of the race. If I'm there at the end, I have to try and see how I can beat them."

I want Hayman in the finale

Flecha answered question in front of his teammates. The banter was thick and fast but Flecha was serious in his praise of the team. He specifically called on Matt Hayman, who he raced with at Rabobank, to be up there with him in the finale of the race, perhaps as a way of countering the strength in depth of the Saxo Bank and Quick Step teams.

"I hope Matt will be with me in the finale. He's performing well. He always does a lot of work early and mid race but I want him at the end of the race and I've told him too," Flecha said.

"There was a lot of talk about the battle between Saxo Bank and Quick Step at Flanders. Saxo was perhaps the strongest team but we showed we had the numbers there, especially when the race really started."

"I don't think we have to focus on taking advantage of their team work. We can't follow another team and hope they bring us to the front. That would be wrong and would show our weakness. We're happy with how we rode last Sunday. The result was not as expected but the team will be our strength on Sunday."