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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

First Edition News for April 12, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones & Chris Henry

Lefevere's recipe for Roubaix success

Quick.Step-Davitamon
Photo © AFP
Click for larger image

Aside from Roger de Vlaeminck and his four victories in Paris-Roubaix, there is another "Mr. Paris-Roubaix", and that man's name is Patrick Lefevere. As manager over the years of the Mapei, Domo-Farm Frites, and now Quick.Step-Davitamon teams, Lefevere has guided his riders to victory in seven editions of the Hell of the North, including four clean sweeps of the podium. Lefevere revealed to l'Equipe his 'recipe for success' on the eve of the 2003 Paris-Roubaix.

First, explains Lefevere, he can't have just one leader. "If we only had Museeuw as a leader, it would be easy for the others. They wouldn't let him go. But with Museeuw, Boonen, Vandenbroucke, and Paolini, it's much more difficult."

Second, "I like to have an aggressive team," Lefevere said. "In a course like Paris-Roubaix, when you attack with the weather conditions, the mud, attack from a long way out, this is my thing."

Third, "It's necessary to make the others suffer, and also why not dare to make a little bluff, put four or five riders in front so that the competitors lower their ears a little?"

Fourth, "When I make decisions, I rely a lot on my instinct. Now, my intuition has rarely betrayed me when making the right decision."

Fifth, Lefevere believes in landing the knockout punch at the right moment. "If the main part of the team is in front of the peloton and you reach a section of pavé, your first opponent who is located in 9th position has to pass eight riders before he can get in front. This is not obvious, even if he feels good. In a pavé sector, every rider is spaced at least a metre from the next one, without counting the fact that to ride on the pavé is very hard. Personally, I like boxing a lot. Now, when a boxer lands an uppercut on the chin of his opponent for the first time, he has a chance that the first blow is the good one."

Sixth, "It's necessary to know how to interpret the right moment. For example, two years ago, I was not even in the car. I was doing live coverage for RTBF. There were three new sectors, very bad, after about one hundred kilometres of racing. I saw them on television. Then, I took my mobile phone immediately and told my directeur sportif Marc Sergeant, who was driving: "Ride!".

"He responded, 'It's a long way.' I said, 'No, the race is finished.'

"I had seen the crashes, the panic, the holdups. Then, of course, when you're in front, you suffers, you must work a lot, but think about those who have to come back. Therefore, I confirmed by an SMS and I wrote to Marc Sergeant three times in Flemish: "Rijden! Rijden! Rijden!

"And they did it. The others never came back."

Seventh, "I'm a nervous type, highly strung, often with surges of adrenaline. This is especially true in the period when I was driving the car in the races. Since my heart attack in 200, I have left my place as a directeur sportif. But, strangely, the harder the race gets, the calmer I get. That's my advantage. I won't explain why."

Finally, can anyone beat Quick.Step? "Yes, there are more chances to lose than to win, this is true. In theory, there are eight chances in 200 to take it. But we will sell our skins dearly."

Quick.Step-Davitamon for Paris-Roubaix: Tom Boonen, Davide Bramati, Wilfried Cretskens, Andrei Kashechkin, Servais Knaven, Johan Museeuw, Bram Tankink, and Frank Vandenbroucke.

Pieri's ready

Although he didn't quite play his cards right at the Tour of Flanders, Saeco's Italian classics specialist Dario Pieri is ready for the challenge of Paris-Roubaix. "To me this is the most fascinating race in the world, the dream of a lifetime," Pieri told Italian news agency Datasport. "I'm convinced I can win a big race. I'm in extraordinary form right now, perhaps the best of my professional career."

Pieri isn't too concerned about his defeat in Flanders, and neither is team manager Claudio Corti. "Flanders isn't really Pieri's race," he said. "He's more cut out for Roubaix."

Saeco for Paris-Roubaix: Giosuè Bonomi (Ita), Salvatore Commesso (Ita), Paolo Fornaciari (Ita), Jörg Ludewig (Ger), Cristian Pepoli (Ita), Ivan Quaranta (Ita), Stefano Zanini (Ita).

Team Coast go in with fresh troops

Team Coast will line up with a largely fresh squad for Sunday's Paris-Roubaix, save for Sven Teutenberg and Steffen Radochla, who have already raced this week at Sarthe, and Christoph von Kleinsorgen, who has just recovered from a illness and will probably not finish. Team Coast hopes to repeat its good performance of last year, and is relying particularly on Rafael Schweda, who finished 11th in the 2002 edition of Paris-Roubaix.

Team Coast for Paris-Roubaix: Stefan Adamsson (Swe), Bekim Christensen (Den), Christoph Von Kleinsorgen (Ger), Malte Urban (Ger), Andrè Korff (Ger), Rafael Schweda (Ger), Sven Teutenberg (Ger), Steffen Radochla (Ger)

Van Petegem: No benefit from World Cup jersey

Lotto-Domo's Peter Van Petegem will wear the white, vertically rainbow striped World Cup jersey going into Paris-Roubaix, after claiming it last weekend in the Ronde. However, he doesn't think it will necessarily inspire him to a great performance in Roubaix on Sunday. "As soon as I ride, I don't look at what colour jersey I'm wearing," he told Radio 1. "After my win in the Ronde I was pretty busy, but I've nevertheless been able to train well."

Lotto-Domo for Paris-Roubaix: Peter Van Petegem (Bel), Nico Eeckhout (Bel), Gorik Gardeyn (Bel), Leif Hoste (Bel), Leon Van Bon (Ned), Stefan Van Dijk (Ned), Wim Vansevenant (Bel), Aart Vierhouten (Ned).

FDJeux.com without Madiot?

Two-time Paris-Roubaix winner Marc Madiot, directeur sportif of the FDJeux.com team, may miss his beloved race this Sunday. Madiot has fallen ill and was unable to join the team in training Thursday, forced to remain in bed in Valenciennes in northern France. The team members spent Thursday testing themselves on several sections of pavé, including sector 13 at Hornaing.

"There's a little less pressure for us," commented one of the riders, who perhaps chose wisely to remain anonymous. "We're a bit more zen without Marc, but we'll give everything on Sunday to make him the happiest man alive."

FDJeux.com for Paris-Roubaix: Frédéric Guesdon (Fra), Jimmy Casper (Fra), David Derepas (Fra), Jacky Durand (Fra), Bernhard Eisel (Aut), Christophe Mengin (Fra), Bradley Wiggins (GBr), Matthew Wilson (Aus).

More Paris-Roubaix information

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Wilson and Cooke with early season health problems

By Jeff Jones

Matthew Wilson and Baden Cooke, who represent two thirds of FDJeux.com's Australian contingent, have not had an ideal run during the classics season, struggling to hold form in between bouts of sickness. Despite brief flashes of brilliance from each of them, both Wilson and Cooke are far from being 100 percent, and Cooke is facing a probable operation to remove a growth, which could put him out of action for longer.

Cyclingnews spoke with Matt Wilson at Gent-Wevelgem, and the Australian who came back from Hodgkin's Disease (cancer of the lymphatic system) to be a professional cyclist was hoping that the worst is now behind him this season. "After De Panne and through Flanders I've been recovering," he said. "I'm healthy now but I've been sick so I've got no form left."

"We've had a string of problems in the team - I've been sick three times and Baden's been sick three times and now he's got a big growth [a cyst]...same as the one he had during the Tour last year. He's going to Paris today and will probably get operated on this week, which means he'll be off the bike for about a month. It's not for sure yet but that's what we think is going to happen."

Despite these problems, Wilson said that "The team's been going really well. We're leading Circuit de la Sarthe at the moment [FDJeux's Carlos da Cruz won it today] and Jacky [Durand] has been getting in every break he's tried to."

Cor Vos defends photographers

The Dutch doyen of cycling photography, Cor Vos, has defended his colleagues in the wake of Tom Boonen's comments following his crash at the end of Gent-Wevelgem. After crossing the line in third place, Boonen collided head on with a photographer from Belga, ending up on the ground winded, but fortunately not seriously injuring himself (or the photographer).

Afterwards Boonen was angry, "I don't get how it is possible that the photographers stand only five metres after the finish line," said Boonen, who was bumped off course by second place Henk Vogels in the sprint.

In response to this, Cor Vos said in an interview with Gazet van Antwerpen, "Cycling photographers are no different to their colleagues in other sports: if an incident happens, it is part of their job to be there quickly. But it is never the intention to provoke an incident himself. The photographer from Belga has no blame in Tom Boonen's crash. That man stood where he had to stand."

"Boonen is mistaken. In Wevelgem we stood according to the regulations: 15 metres beyond the finish line on a road 7 metres or more wide. On a narrower road, it's 25 metres, with the current telephoto lenses, it can be that much. But 15 metres is enough, because we put ourselves in a sloping line so that none of us gets in the way of another."

"Normally nothing would have happened. But Vogels and Boonen touched each other with their shoulders. Tom was bumped off his line. He lost control of his bike. If that photographer hadn't stood there, Boonen would probably have hit the fence."

Tendonitis for Verbrugghe

Belgian Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto-Domo), who abandoned the morning stage of Vuelta al Pais Vasco Friday, is suffering from minor tendonitis. The abandon was more a precautionary measure than a necessity, and Verbrugghe expects to be in form for the upcoming Ardennes classics.

Courtesy: velo-club.net

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2003)