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Knaven looks for Sky to podium in Paris-Roubaix

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A focused Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky)

A focused Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) (Image credit:
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Servais Knaven won a very muddy race in 2001

Servais Knaven won a very muddy race in 2001 (Image credit: AFP)
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Classics man: Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Team Sky)

Classics man: Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Team Sky) (Image credit: Daniel Simms)

Team Sky's Servais Knaven is hopeful that Juan Antonio Flecha and Edvald Boasson Hagen can challenge for the Paris-Roubaix podium and end the British team's cobbled classics campaign on a high.

Knaven's contingent started with a bang in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in February, with Mark Cavendish taking the win. Bernhard Eisel went on to take third in Gent-Wevelgem but the team were shut out at the Tour of Flanders last weekend.

Roubaix offers the British team another opportunity and with Boasson Hagen confident and Flecha in surprisingly strong form despite a five-week injury lay-off, Knaven is hoping the team can rise for one last challenge before turning their attention to the Ardennes.

"We have a strong team," he told Cyclingnews.

"Of course Edvald and Flecha will get the most support but we have other riders who can be in the front."

"We are very happy with Flecha's form. Everybody was a bit surprised, even Flecha himself. He'd been training well but he'd missed racing. He was better than we'd all hoped for so let's hope he's a bit better tomorrow and that he's there tomorrow."

Knaven only became a team director at the start of 2011, having had a long career as a professional rider that included 16 starts and finishes in Roubaix. His last Roubaix came in 2010 but his most memorable was in 2001, when he soloed to the win after a late attack. During the late 90s and early 2000s he formed part of Patrick Lefevere's formidable line-up that included Johan Museeuw, Andrea Tafi and Wilfried Peters.

This weekend Knaven goes up against his old Mapei/Domo boss but the Dutchman knows that QuickStep aren't the only hurdle in the race.

"It's such an unpredictable race. Having numbers in front can be really important, even for the favourites it's important to have teammates around you. It's so hard to win the race on your own and in my eyes we have a really strong team. We already showed good form in recent weeks so we're aiming for a top three tomorrow. Why not try to win it."

"You never know how Lefevere and QuickStep will race. Everyone knows a little bit about the way of racing at QuickStep but it's a mistake to just concentrate on them. BMC are strong, Garmin are also strong. It's not going to be an easy race, not even for Tom Boonen. Look at what happened last year with Cancellara, he never made it to the front because of tactics of other teams.",

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Daniel Benson

 Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both and Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.