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Bad luck ruins chances for a strong Van Aert in Paris-Roubaix

Bad luck ruins chances for a strong Van Aert in Paris-Roubaix

A strong performance by Wout van Aert in Paris-Roubaix didn’t get rewarded with a top result. The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma managed to be in the winning breakaway, but had to pay the price in the final twenty kilometres of the race for the bad luck earlier in the race. Due to a mechanical problem and a crash around Trouee d’Arenberg in Wallers, the Belgian had to chase for a long time. These efforts took so much energy that he was not able to play a significant role in the final. Mike Teunissen also rode a great race. He sprinted to seventh place behind the favourites.

It was a fast race from the start. Apart from several attacks, including one with Danny van Poppel, the race remained together until Wallers. In Trouee d’Arenberg, fate struck for Van Aert. He had to change bikes due to a mechanical problem. Not much later, after having swapped back to his own bike, he crashed really hard. As a result, he couldn’t use his gears properly anymore. After a long chase, Van Aert managed to return to the front of the race. There, he attacked with Sagan, Lampaert, Politt, Vanmarcke and the later winner Gilbert. Just before the Carrefour de l’Arbre Van Aert had to pay the price for his previous efforts and had to let them go.

“I am completely empty. The last twenty kilometres were a hell. I had to dig very deep”, Van Aert said. “I wanted to go for sixth place, but I quickly lost all the energy in my legs and I knew the race was over. Due to my bad luck in Wallers and my subsequent crash, I wasted a lot of energy during my attempt to return to the front. And due to the crash, I had problems with using my gears. It’s a pity, but that’s cycling. I had very good legs and I really wanted to go for it. But I am feeling much better than last year after this race. I would have liked to have honoured Michael (Goolaerts) with a top result. But I will definitely come back to try and win this race.”

Mike Teunissen was happy with his top ten place. “It was a difficult race. It was very tough all day. I felt really good and I was able to follow in the wheel of others as Wout was in front. I tried to slow them down as much as possible for Wout. That went pretty well. I am happy to finish in the top ten here and my sprint was more than okay.”

Sports director Nico Verhoeven was proud of the fighting spirit of his team. “We gave it our all, but we realise that we could have achieved a lot more without the bad luck. It’s part of cycling and it is what it is. Due to the bad luck, Wout used up a lot of energy in the chase so that he could no longer play a significant role in the final. But it is commendable that he was still in the decisive breakaway after all.”

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