Sports Director Fabio Baldato is confident in Van Avermaet and the team lining up at the Hell of the North.
“Naturally, we are lining up at Paris-Roubaix with Greg Van Avermaet as our leader. Greg has proved that he is one of the strongest in the Classics and as the winner of the race in 2017, we know that it is a race suited to him. It would be a dream to win the race again. Of all the Classics, Paris-Roubaix is the most unpredictable which can be both a good and bad thing. With more than 50 kilometers of cobbles, it is a race that only the strongest of riders can win and we have a lot of confidence in Greg ahead of Sunday,” Baldato explained.
“We saw a great team performance at the Tour of Flanders, the best so far this Classics season. For this reason, we are lining up on Sunday with the same team so Greg will be supported by Kamil Gradek, Michael Schär, Gijs Van Hoecke, Nathan Van Hooydonck, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, and Łukasz Wiśniowski. I hope to see the same team effort that we saw last Sunday, in which case Greg will be well supported until the final.”
Van Avermaet, who bounced back from two mechanical problems and went on to win in 2017, will be hoping to repeat his previous success on the unforgiving terrain of northern France.
“I love Paris-Roubaix. Obviously, I make no secret of my desire to win the Tour of Flanders but Paris-Roubaix is a really special race for me. It was even before I won in 2017 and of course, since then it holds a special place in my career as my first and, so far, only Monument win. I would love to win it again,” Van Avermaet said.
“There is no race like Paris-Roubaix. Every one of those 29 sectors can make or break the race and often it’s completely out of your control. My form is something I can control and I’m really happy with how I have raced so far this season and my sensations, so I’m looking forward to Sunday. Unlike the Tour of Flanders, I don’t think we will see such a big group in the final so, I hope to race aggressively and be fighting for the win.”
Van Avermaet, who narrowly missed the podium in 2018 with fourth place, will line up at Paris-Roubaix for the tenth time on Sunday with four top ten results to his name.
Gradek will be the only CCC Team rider to make his debut at Paris-Roubaix, lining up alongside the experience of road captain Michael Schär who, like Van Avermaet, is set to line up for the tenth time.
Paris-Roubaix (14 April)
Rider roster: Kamil Gradek (POL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL).
Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA)
Photos: Chris Auld