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Hoste thinks he can improve

Leif Hoste (Discovery Channel) wants to win Paris-Roubaix and improve on his second spot in last weekend's Ronde Van Vlaanderen. "Because Paris-Roubaix suits me even better," he was quoted in Het Volk . "Tom was good, strong and quicker. It's just that he is faster, that's the reality. We had grabbed each other by the neck already so hard during that long break, that neither he nor I could take off. When he took over after my attack, I had to bite my handlebars to keep on his wheel.

"It was the first time in the Ronde, that I shared team leadership with Hincapie. I have lived up to the expectations with that pressure on my shoulders. I have noticed once again that these are my races. You can say that when you finish second twice in four editions, and one year you're hindered in the Hell by a flag.

"I have never ridden Paris-Roubaix in the rain; it's the fourth time I am participating. I'm a good enough pilot, that is true, but in the rain it's not always your own fault. If it's dry, then you can afford to be in fifteenth position. If it's wet and dirty, everyone is less at ease. The order of the day is: not sitting too tense on your bike. Paris-Roubaix means blisters on the hands; I had those after the Ronde already. Pain in your wrists the day after; but the pain is inversely proportional to your ranking. The higher up you finish, the lesser the pain. Since I started training in November, I have been anticipating these two Sundays.

"Since January I have slept in my own bed for a maximum of one full week. All the tension has been building up for those two big goals. Paris-Roubaix, that is 260 km long, suffering each kilometre, but it flies by like it's nothing.

From Monday onwards I risk diving into a black hole. I even didn't want to talk about what will happen after this Sunday before the season started. I have looked forward to Paris-Roubaix as if it were my last race of the season."

And how does Leif plan to get rid of Boonen tomorrow? "That's simple," Hoste replied. "Tom will have to be not as good as me, otherwise it won't work. I love honest duels, like last Sunday. If he had punctured, they would have said forever that I had won the Ronde in which Boonen punctured. I'd rather go down fighting. The one who finishes second knows that one day he can win. But even if Tom has a lesser day, then we're not finished with Quick.Step yet."

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