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"I don’t think I am between the favourites. I just hope that I can get there in a good position and to stay with the favourites and make as good as possible result"

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele






12.04.2014 @ 15:16 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Zdenek Stybar has a score to settle with Paris-Roubaix after an untimely incident with a spectator last year denied him the chance to ride into the Roubaix veldrome with Fabian Cancellara and Sep Vanmarcke, two men who Stybar is notably faster than in a sprint. Many people were left wondering what might have been for the 28 year old Czech on the Omega Pharma-Quick Step squad.


Once again he enters as one of the favourites and rightly so as, along with Vanmarcke, he is the only man to have been able to match Cancellara stride for stride when he makes a big attack on the Cobbles in the last 3 Monuments- Stybar managed it in Roubaix and Vanmarcke at both Roubaix and last week’s Tour of Flanders. But Stybar himself is not considering himself as a favourite.


"I don’t think I am between the favourites. I just hope that I can get there in a good position and to stay with the favourites and make as good as possible result," he told reporters at the Omega Pharma-QuickStep press conference, ahead of Paris-Roubaix. "I never really like to talk about winning. As I said, it’s only the second time for me, but I really believe as a team that we can win the race."


Quick Step have one of if not the strongest squads at the race with Stybar who was 6th last year, Niki Terpstra (3rd last year), Tom Boonen (4 times a winner) and Stijn Vandenbergh (strong last year before being taken out by a spectator and 4th last week in Flanders). But they must face up to three of the best Classics riders in Fabian Cancellara, Vanmarcke and Greg van Avermaet, as well as Peter Sagan, who has only finished Roubaix once in 2011 but cannot be counted out due to his supreme talent.


"I think, for sure, on paper that we can do it but it’s always difficult to finalise it and to make it. I think that Tom will be better than on Sunday, so I think that he will be there in the final," said Stybar.


Stbar skipped the Scheldeprijs on Wednesday to prepare for this weekend and he hopes to remain in good form.


"I think I was not too bad (at Flanders). I think that the shape was there pretty good, but in the end maybe we could do some different moves. After the race it is pretty easy to say it’s in the war of the race and after 240km it is difficult to think wisely and to take the right decisions."


The team needs a podium and Stybar says the team has a simple plan.


"It’s very easy just be there on the track with the best guys, which is Tom who can make a really good sprint. Then he just has to out sprint the other guys or do it alone like he did in 2012," he joked.


Despite his stong 2013, Stybar still thinks he has a lot to learn but he took so much from last year that he will race with more confidence than ever tomorrow.


"First of all, you can really panic during the race. Sometimes it can look so bad that you enter some of the sections really far back, but you can always improve and move up and of course that the spectators have a big part to play."


Quick Step have many cards to play but Roubaix can be a cruel dealer and when the race comes down to its finale, Stybar may once again be the ace that prevents the Omega Pharma- Quick Step hand from folding.




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