Tom Boonen could ride Paris-Roubaix
Tom Boonen has apparently revealed that he will take part in the Etixx-Quickstep team’s reconnaissance of the Paris-Roubaix route next week and has even given himself a 1% chance of starting the race.
Marc Coucke, the owner of the Etixx company, revealed the news in a tweet during a party to celebrate a merger between Etixx and the American company Perrigo. However the Etixx-QuickStep team are yet to confirm the news.
Boonen was forced to miss all the spring Classics after injuring his shoulder during Paris-Nice. He underwent surgery on March 11 and was expected to need between six and eight weeks to make a full recovery. However, he has reportedly be doing training rides of up to four hours and could perhaps explain the secrets of the Paris-Roubaix route to his Etixx-QuickStep teammates during the route reconnaissance and the race. Boonen has won Paris-Roubaix four times.
“Breaking news on party #OmegaPerrigo: train flat out stated @tomboonen1, 1% chance he #ParisRoubaix gets!” Marc Coucke tweeted from the Etixx party, posting a photo of himself and Boonen together.
FDJ and LottoNL-Jumbo still looking for first win of 2015 season
The 2015 season is well under way, with a quarter of the racing already done, but two teams in the WorldTour, and several big teams in the Professional Continental ranks, have still to land their first success of the year.
Regular statistics drawn up by the inrng.com blog reveals that the Etixx-Quickstep team is the most successful team of the season so far, after winning 18 races. Team Sky is second with 16 victories and Movistar is third with 13. FDJ and LottoNL-Jumbo are the only teams in the WorldTour yet to win a race.
The troubled Tinkoff-Saxo team is close to the bottom of the list after only winning two races, while Cannondale-Garmin finally ended its dry spell at Criterium International thanks to Ben King winning the Saturday morning road stage.
FDJ team manager Marc Madiot has shrugged off the idea that pressure is growing on his team in l’Equipe and LottoNL-Jumbo do not seem too concerned after a series of good placings by Sep Vanmarcke in the Classics and by Wilco Kelderman at the Volta a Catalunya.
The MTN –Qhubeka team tops the list of Professional Continental teams with seven victories, including overall success at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali thanks to Louis Meintjes. Professional Continental teams still looking for a win in 2015 include Nacer Bouhanni’s Cofidis squad, Caja Rural, Colombia, UnitedHealthcare and Bardiani-CSF.
A weekend to forget for Degenkolb
John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) was confident about his chances in the spring Classics after his impressive victory at Milan-San Remo, however he came home with only 25th at E3 Harebeke and a DNF at Gent-Wevelgem.
“A weekend to forget. Check it off and look forward. I will now try to lick my wounds and recover,” Degenkolb wrote on his personal website. “Unlike the week before, I had a terrible weekend. First I crashed and bruised my knee and hip in the E3 Prijs and then this slaughter in Gent-Wevelgem."
“I am not looking for excuses for why I wasn’t near the front. I was affected by my bruised knee and hip from the crash. But I simply wanted not to crash again, rode in the wind more often in order to not have anyone around me, and then at some point your tank is empty. And then shortly before the Kemmelberg, I had a rear puncture. Then it was all over… And then my train had a two-hour delay.”
Degenkolb was one of the many riders who took off in the wind at Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem and was one of the majority that climbed off before the finish – with only 39 riders making it to the finish. Television pictures showed riders been blown from one side of the road to the other with some being forced into ditches. There were several calls for the day to be abandoned and the peloton even attempted a brief neutralisation early on.
“A race like that actually should not be held. Other sports cancel because of wind. It was not responsible of the organizer,” said Degenkolb. “It was like a battlefield. You had to brace yourself against the wind, rode at a title and if you lost the contact to the road at all, like at a pothole, then you were blown away, shot right across the street through the field, taking some of them with you."
“I have never before faced a race with conditions like that and such a strong wind.”
Porte continues to head WorldTour rankings
Richie Porte maintained his position at the top of the WorldTour rankings following his recent victory at the Volta a Catalunya. The Australian earned 105 points for his overall victory, bringing his total to 303 and extending the gap to his fellow Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas. The Welshman remains in second place after victory at E3 Harelbeke and a podium at Gent-Wevelgem. Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale) has jumped from 18th to third, pushing Alexander Kristoff (Katuhsa) down a spot.
WorldTour standings Top 10
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky||303||pts|
|2||Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky||184|
|3||Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale||136|
|4||Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha||133|
|5||Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step||133|
|6||Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team||114|
|7||Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo||114|
|8||Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team||106|
|9||John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin||102|
|10||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||98|