The cancellation of this season’s rescheduled Paris-Roubaix – which was set to happen on October 25 – has come as an enormous disappointment to each followers and riders alike.
Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert stated that he was now “further motivated” to do properly on the Tour of Flanders, and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) was left disenchanted that he’ll now have to attend to make his Roubaix debut, whereas the injured Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal), who thought that it was a “pity” that the race will not occur, may put a constructive spin on the state of affairs in that he ought to now be capable of defend his title when the race returns to its April calendar slot in 2021.
“It’s, after all, an enormous disappointment, as Paris-Roubaix is considered one of my favourite races”, Van Aert stated in a video message revealed by his Jumbo-Visma staff, in keeping with Het Nieuwsblad on Friday.
“I’ve labored actually arduous to be good as much as Roubaix,” he stated. “Now the season will probably be every week shorter, and just a few targets stay – of which one is the Tour of Flanders [October 18], after all.
“For me, it is small comfort that I’ve already achieved plenty of nice victories and had a terrific season,” stated this yr’s Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo winner, who additionally received two levels on the Tour de France. “I am now further motivated to make one thing of the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem [on Sunday].
“Hopefully these races will go forward as deliberate, with good measures [against the coronavirus],” he stated. “Roubaix will probably be considered one of my huge targets once more in 2021.”
One other favorite for this yr’s race – regardless of having by no means ridden Roubaix earlier than – was three-time cyclo-cross world champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix).
“I was actually wanting ahead to lastly having the ability to end ‘The Hell of the North’ for the primary time,” Van der Poel stated, in keeping with Het Nieuwsblad, and we had deliberate to do a course reconnaissance with the staff subsequent Wednesday.
“Paris-Roubaix was after all considered one of my huge targets, and will have been my fifth Monument this season,” stated the 25-year-old, who’ll additionally line up for the Tour of Flanders on October 18. “It is a disgrace that I will not be capable of full that record [of all five Monuments], and must wait till 2021 to have the ability to experience this legendary race.
“Because of the cancellation, the significance of the upcoming races, with Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, respectively, will solely enhance. Alternatively, it seems that the selection so as to add Liège-Bastogne-Liège to my programme was the fitting one,” stated Van der Poel, who completed sixth at Liège final weekend.
The winner of the 2019 version of Paris-Roubaix, Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal), stated that he thought that it was a disgrace that the race could not be held, though he may additionally look on the intense facet, stating that it meant that he is prone to now be capable of try to defend his title subsequent yr.
The Belgian was pressured out of the opening stage of the Tour de France after a crash left him with a damaged kneecap, however he returned to racing motion on the Tour de Luxembourg simply over two weeks later, earlier than deciding that he’d miss the cobbled Classics after some knee ache returned, though he hasn’t dominated out beginning the rescheduled Vuelta a España on October 20.
“It is an actual pity that Paris-Roubaix has been cancelled,” Gilbert wrote on Twitter. “Rendez-vous subsequent yr on the cobbles of ‘The Hell of the North’. No less than I am going to have the prospect to defend my title in one of many hardest races on the calendar.”