Teams are finalizing their rosters for Sunday's Paris-Roubaix, with Deceuninck-QuickStep, Groupama-FDJ, Team BikeExchange and Bahrain Victorious naming the riders who will support their leaders: Tour of Flanders winner Kasper Asgreen, 2016 Milan-San Remo winner Arnaud Démare, Luke Durbridge and new European Champion Sonny Colbrelli, respectively.
Paris-Roubaix was last held in April of 2019 and, after postponement and cancellation in 2020 and another date change this season, it finally will go ahead on October 3 amid forecasts for rain.
Deceuninck-QuickStep director Tom Steels says weather could play a key role. "We are happy that Paris-Roubaix is finally back. It will be an interesting edition because being held in October means that the weather could play an important role in the outcome. If the riders will have to race in rain here after almost two decades, it will completely change the scenario."
Together with Asgreen is two-time runner up Zdenek Štybar, Florian Sénéchal, Davide Ballerini, Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq and Bert Van Lerberghe.
"We have a strong team, with many riders fresh off the World Championships. It's obvious we hold several cards to play and we'll try to do our best to get a good result," Steels said.
Deceuninck-QuickStep for Paris-Roubaix 2021
- Kasper Asgreen
- Davide Ballerini
- Tim Declercq
- Yves Lampaert
- Florian Sénéchal
- Zdenek Štybar
- Bert Van Lerberghe
Team BikeExchange is putting its weight behind rouler Luke Durbridge and New Zealand's Jack Bauer, the team's most experienced Classics men. Durbridge had his best result in Paris-Roubaix in 2016 when he finished 18th.
"Paris-Roubaix is always an exciting race for me. It's going to be my seventh time and I want to give it my best shot this year," Durbridge said. "I haven't done Roubaix since 2018 and I am happy we are back here. Everybody knows the race is really unpredictable, anything can happen, and you always need to be focused.
"We have a strong line-up, with a good combination of experienced riders and younger ones, who can hopefully learn for the future. Our aim is to be part of the game at any time. We have been working hard all year long, but we can't hide it has been a tough season for us so far.
"The aim is to keep pushing and giving our best, we will do the same this weekend and look to turn things around and bring home a strong result for the team."
Director Mat Hayman, the winner of Paris-Roubaix in 2016, hopes his riders can pull off the kind of historic upset that made his victory so memorable.
"Nobody has raced here since 2019, so it will be good to have a mix of experienced riders who can also lead the younger guys. We will look to animate the race as much as possible, it's always a hard race and any moment can be important. We will need to be focused and ready to be aggressive."
Team BikeExchange for Paris-Roubaix 2021
- Jack Bauer
- Sam Bewley
- Luke Durbridge
- Chris Juul-Jensen
- Alexander Konychev
- Barnabás Peák
- Robert Stannard
Sonny Colbrelli will get his first taste of Paris-Roubaix mayhem on Sunday, making his debut in his new European champion's jersey. At his side will be experienced Classics racer Heinrich Haussler, who will be starting the race for the 14th time. The last rainy edition was in 2002, before he turned pro, and Haussler said a rainy race would be "next level".
"I'm not saying I wish for it, but it's something I'd like to have sooner or later - a real wet, muddy race. Get into the velodrome completely full of mud and dirt, belongs to the race and its history. For me, Paris-Roubaix is, without doubt, by far the hardest race on the calendar, and that's why it means so much to me. It's so brutal as you push your body to the absolute limit. I love this hardness of the race. It really motivates me. The best approach is to have a fighting spirit and never give up."
Marcel Sieberg will bring his career to a close after taking his 17th start in Paris-Roubaix. "At his last race before retirement, Sieberg wants to show what he's capable of doing and can be the key helper towards the finale for positioning the team," says director Rolf Aldag.
"As a team, we can ride offensively, we can try to anticipate the race. We can also try to get into groups, because it will be much easier if you are in the leading small group to enter the cobbles, rather than having a big group sprinting to the pavé sector. All riders are in perfect shape and could join an attack. The goal will be to take a strong result."
Bahrain Victorious for Paris-Roubaix 2021
- Sonny Colbrelli
- Marco Haller
- Heinrich Haussler
- Jonathan Milan
- Matej Mohorič
- Marcel Sieberg
- Fred Wright
Arnaud Démare and Stefan Küng will head up Groupama-FDJ's assault on the cobbles. The French sprinter's best finish was sixth in 2017 while the Swiss rider finished 11th in the race's last edition.
"We have seven very motivated riders at the start. We hope to do the best possible result," says director Frédéric Guesdon. "Our key riders are Arnaud Démare and Stefan Küng but we have other guys who worked very well in the last races like Clément Davy and Olivier Le Gac.
"Jake Stewart is still young, he is here to learn but everything is possible, he can become a leader depending on the race. We're going out to do a recon tomorrow, the weather is forecast to be rainy, as it could be on Sunday, which will allow us to get used to the conditions. Roubaix in the rain has nothing to do with it, rain on the road is one thing, on the cobblestones, it is another!"
Groupama-FDJ for Paris-Roubaix 2021
- Clément Davy
- Arnaud Démare
- Stefan Küng
- Olivier le Gac
- Fabian Lienhard
- Ramon Sinkeldam
- Jake Stewart
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