Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is ready to take on the feared and famous cobblestone classic, Paris-Roubaix, on Sunday, April 9.
The prestigious French one-day race, also known as The Hell of the North, starts out in Compiègne at 10:55 local time. From here, no less than 257 km await the riders before they reach the finishing line in the iconic velodrome in Roubaix six hours later. What makes Paris-Roubaix so special are the 29 pavé sectors, which all have different length and difficulty. Some are short with even placed and smooth cobblestones, while others are kilometers long and resemble trenches of treacherous cobblestones: ragged and bulky like meteorites dropped randomly from the sky.
The first 5-star rated pavé sector, which indicates the top level of difficulty, is the Arenberg Forest with 95.5 km to go. This is usually where we see the first big selection among the favorites. Afterwards, several difficult sectors await the peloton before it’s time for the second 5-star sector, Mons-en-Pévèle, which is three kilometers long and always plays a key role in the race. The final one of the 5-star sectors is Carrefour de l’Arbre with just 17 km left to go. Three other, less difficult, sectors follow on the remaining kilometers before it all finishes with one and a half lap in the outdoor velodrome.
Edvald Boasson Hagen will lead Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in Paris-Roubaix after putting in an impressive performance last year where the strong Norwegian was part of the select group sprinting for the win. Boasson Hagen finished fifth on that occasion and now, he hopes to deliver another top result to finish off the first part of the spring classics in style.
Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Scott Thwaites, Tyler Farrar, Nic Dougall, Ryan Gibbons, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Jay Thomson.
Edvald Boasson Hagen:
“I think it’s going to be a hard and fast race on Sunday. I’m really looking forward to it. I feel my condition has been getting better for every race I’ve done in this spring campaign. Last year was really good but I didn’t win. Now, I’m ready to try again”.
Roger Hammond – Sports director:
“We are really excited to take on this race. Last year, we had a guy sprinting for the victory and that gives us a lot of hope and anticipation. There has been an amazing atmosphere at all the classics this year and we have seen some spectacular racing. It’s really an honor and a privilege to be here with the team. Right now, we are trying to work out how we can beat Sagan and Boonen and those guys. I think we definitely have one of the pre-race favorites and that gives us extra enthusiasm and energy for the race”.