Yves Lampaert would love to walk onto the top step of the podium at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday afternoon, but the Belgian champion says that it doesn't matter who wins – provided that it's a Deceuninck-QuickStep rider.
Unusually, QuickStep is going into the race without a former champion in their line-up, but they're still not short of contenders. Alongside Lampaert is Zdenek Stybar, who has twice been on the podium, and Philippe Gilbert. They also have last weekend's Tour of Flanders runner-up Kasper Asgreen, who is making his debut at 'The Hell of the North'.
"We have good morale and we'll definitely try to win on Sunday. We're motivated," Lampaert said at the team's pre-race press conference. "We can all ride for each other, and the most important thing is that the team wins, and it doesn't matter who it is.
"Of course, if I can win, then I'll take my chance. It won't be easy, but I hope that I can do a good race and that I'll be there in the final."
Reigning Belgian road race champion Lampaert is a former top-10 finisher at Paris-Roubaix, taking seventh in 2015. He has predominantly raced as a domestique this spring, but there have been some solid results along the way, with top-10 finishes at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, and 11th at Strade Bianche.
He wasn't able to defend his Dwars door Vlaanderen title, but he believes that this is his best string of results at the Classics so far, and this weekend is a chance to add to that.
"In terms of results, I've had my best-ever Classics season. I haven't taken a victory, but maybe I can on Sunday," said Lampaert. "I've given a lot this season; I've been racing at a high level for a long time, so I hope my level is still the same."
During the press conference at the QuickStep headquarters on Thursday, it was said that Paris-Roubaix suited the team better, as a whole, compared to the Tour of Flanders. Lampaert said that that's down to the race's unpredictability and that having numbers matters – something that Deceuninck-QuickStep certainly have.
"It's less tactical during the race. It's more of an endurance race and about going hard. In the race, it's less predictable than the Tour of Flanders," explained Lampaert. "We make plans in the bus before we start, but the actual plan is made during the race. You can never say how the race will go. They're talking about a lot of wind in the race on Sunday, so an echelon might go, and you might not be in it.
"You can have 20 different tactics, but if you're not there, then your race is over," he said. "You have to watch out, be careful and make sure that you're at the front of the race."
Born in Ireland to a cycling family and later moved to the Isle of Man, so there was no surprise when I got into the sport. Studied sports journalism at university before going on to do a Masters in sports broadcast. After university I spent three months interning at Eurosport, where I covered the Tour de France. In 2012 I started at Procycling Magazine, before becoming the deputy editor of Procycling Week. I then joined Cyclingnews, in December 2013.
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