First Paris-Roubaix for Mathieu van der Poel
You saw the parcours today, it seemed to be slippery. How dangerous is it and is it an advantage for you as a cyclocross athlete?
I only did the part until „Wallers“ today. But the cobbles were actually dry except from one small part. There it was a bit muddy. I didn’t ride on the wet ones. But I can imagine ist very slippery when it starts raining.
What do you take out if it rains on Sunday?
I think it’ll be quite cool. It will be dangerous for sure and I can understand that they say if you could avoid a crash that already means a lot. But thats always the case in Roubaix and you have to be very attentive and try not to get a flat tire or a crash and when its wet it is even more the case.
Could wet cobbles be an advantage for you as a cyclocrosser compared to other riders?
This is difficult to say. When you ride in a bunch you also have to deal with other riders. So it is gonna be hectic as well. We will see. I think it helps if you could handle your bike but you have the cards in your own hands. When someone crashes in front of you it will be difficult to go around.
Will it be a different race or will other skills needed on Sunday?
I think so, but I haven’t done the race yet. Not in rain and not in dry condition, so it is difficult to have an opinion of course. But I think we saw it in the past as well that some riders could cope better with those kind of conditions. Staying in the front, trying to avoid crashes and flat tires is always a big part of the success.
They are also expecting tailwind on Sunday. What kind of race do you expect. Will the race start very early or will it be more conservative?
I think when there is a lot of tailwind and wet cobbles it can happen very quick. Then it is just a matter of staying out of trouble the whole day. So like the other riders say, if you can manage that it is already a first step towards riding a final.
You have Silvan Dillier as a teammate who already got second in the race. Is it an advantage to have someone like him next to you?
For sure he can give some advice. But riding on cobbles is something special as well. When he was second he came out of the breakaway so that is a bit different of racing for sure. But I think when you do a recon you already know what to do and I think the most important thing is trying not have some bad luck keep everything in your own hands of course.
We saw the Belgiums and especially Wout van Aert cracking under the pressure last Sunday. I was wondering, you’ve started in many races already as a big favorite. Do you ever feel that you have cracked under these pressure? How do you cope with that?
I dont really think that he has cracked under the pressure. I just think he didn’t have the legs that day. The pressure is always there and also for myself there is a pressure that I put on to me. I dont really mind what all the other people are saying.
Did you feel that you needed the World Championships last week to be completely ready for Paris-Roubaix, especially in case of the cobbles?
I hope so. But my first minger were the Worlds of course. I knew it is gonna be very difficult to be in top shape there. But I was just hoping, maybe with some luck in the final to try to get the rainbow jersey. It didn’t work out so I hope that the race added a little bit to my shape to race on Sunday in a nice way.
There were two questions before the world championships. First was how will my back hold up and the second how will my condition be. How is that now?
The world was quite descend. The shape was not 100%. Everybody who knows me a little bit could see that my racing was not with attacks like I usually do. But the shape was quite okay and I hope to do a little bit better on Sunday. But it is a different race.
Is it possible to fight for a victory?
I think so. There is a lot possible in a race like this. So I think it should be possible.