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"Just before Fabian Cancellara attacked for the first time I had a flat tyre. The whole field fell apart into different groups and each time I closed a gap I saw that others were riding in front of me. After Mons-en-Pévèl...

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JURGEN ROELANDTS

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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PARIS - ROUBAIX

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08.04.2013 @ 11:00 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

With a 3rd place in the Tour of Flanders already in his pocket, Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol) lined up in the Paris-Roubaix with great ambitions. However, a number of mechanicals took him out of contention on a day where he felt the legs once again were strong enough to take a top result.

 

One of the most heavily discussed topics after the Tour of Flanders was the brilliant tactics by the Lotto-Belisol team. All day the Belgian team tried to put riders up the road who were supposed team captain Jurgen Roelandts when he anticipated the expected attack from Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack).

 

The plan was a successful one, and Roelandts was rewarded for his efforts with a podium place. Yesterday, the team tried to replicate the efforts in the Paris-Roubaix but this time there was no luck for the Belgian team.

 

Despite a number of attempts from Jens Debusschere the team failed to get into the day's early break, and a later attempt by Andre Greipel to close the gap to the 4-man group was also unsuccessful. Instead, it was up to Roelandts himself to follow the favourites when they accelerated on the paves.

 

Cancellara forced the first rough selection with around 50km remaining, and moments later Juan Antonio Flecha created the crucial 13-man group with an acceleration on the Mons-en-Pevele sector. However, Roelandts was nowhere to be seen and he ended up in43 position in the second large chase group 3.29 behind winner Cancellara.

 

According to the Belgian, his non-presence was not due to a lack of power but simply a matter of plenty of bad luck.

 

"Just before Fabian Cancellara attacked for the first time I had a flat tyre," he explained. "The whole field fell apart into different groups and each time I closed a gap I saw that others were riding in front of me. After Mons-en-Pévèle my chain got between my frame and cogwheel, so I had to step off my bike. I had the same legs as in the Tour of Flanders and I think I could have played along today."

 

With the cobbled classics now behind us, the first part of Roelandts's season has come to a close. With a podium place in his big home race, he has no reason to be disappointed at the outcome but he felt that it could have been even better.

 

"Now there is a period without competition," he told. "I start again in the Tour de Picardie or in the Tour of Belgium. In this first half of the year I was very good, but in the E3 and Ghent-Wevelgem I had bad luck. In the final of Milan-Sanremo I crashed; probably I was a bit too energetic. My third place in the Ronde is definitely a reward."

 

Sergeant disappointed

The team had expected much more in the Queen of the Classics and the disappointment of Roelandts was shared by team manager Marc Sergeant.

 

"Marcel Sieberg was the first rider of Lotto Belisol in the 24th place," he said. "That isn't what we had hoped for or had expected. Of course this is disappointing. We had bad luck three times in a row, two times with Jürgen and also André (Greipel, ed.) had a puncture. That's why we got in a position in the back, and weren't able to play along anymore. Because of the bad luck Jürgen Roelandts had to chase. Together with Johan Vansummeren, who had a puncture as well, he chased, but it was too late."

 

"The team wanted to give everything today, they were all together in the front at the beginning of the Forest of Wallers (Arenberg, ed.), but they didn't get the chance to show what they're worth. Cancellara was strong today. It was more difficult for him than last week in the Ronde, but he finished strongly against Sep Vanmarcke who did a great job today."

 

The team will now turn its attentions to the Ardennes classics in which Jelle Vanendert - who had to abandon the Tour of the Basque Country due to illness and will miss Wednesday's Brabantse Pijl - is expected to lead the team.

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