Paris-Roubaix Preview and Prediction
On Sunday, Fabian Cancellara (Trek) will have a chance to make history.
in Roubaix.” The Belgian pushed the Swiss hard last year, with Cancellara outdueling him on the track. Look for a similar battle this weekend.
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) finished second in the Tour of Flanders. He took charge of the race during its decisive stage, and it took a rare Cancellara sprint to beat him. The BMC man has the form to make the podium, and he, Vanmarcke, and Cancellara could be on the velodrome together this weekend. Pencil him in for third.
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) has won one classic (Milan-San Remo) and finished fifth at the Tour of Flanders. He has good form, and at his best he finishes powerfully. A top-five finish is not inconceivable for the Norwegian, and if the stars align properly, the Olympic bronze medalist might do much better.
Boonen’s record—three victories—say that he has the experience to win the race. The three-time champion’s form, however, is suspect. Since winning Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and two stages of the Tour of Qatar, the Belgian has been quiet. He finished seventh at the Tour of Flanders, a race that he has won three times. The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider might win Paris-Roubaix, but not much in his recent racing suggests that he will.
Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling Team) finished second in the junior Paris-Roubaix, but he has never impressed in the elite version of the race. The Slovak has immense talent, and he is only 24. He might simply need time to mature. However, he finished 16 th at the Tour of Flanders, which suggests that he lacks the form to win this weekend.
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky Pro Cycling) led Paris-Nice before crashing out, and he finished third at E3 Harelbeke. The Welshman has good form, but he will ride for Bradley Wiggins. If Thomas gets a green light to ride for himself, he could surprise.
This spring, Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) has taken a stage of the Tour of Qatar as well as the overall in Dwars door Vlaanderen. In addition, he has finished second at E3 Harelbeke, fourth in Three Days of De Panne, and sixth in the Tour of Flanders. He will not be a free agent, but he could surprise in support of Boonen. One overlooks him at one’s peril.
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