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After extensive examinations and approval by the medical staff, Wout van Aert is ready to participate in Paris-Roubaix. Merijn Zeeman provides more information about the decision to let the Belgian champion start. Mike Teunissen also looks ahead to 'the Hell of the North'.
Van Aert's participation in Paris-Roubaix was a deliberate decision. "After a covid infection, we are extremely careful with our riders' health", Merijn Zeeman says. "The medical staff has an important and decisive role in this. Together, we have monitored his situation intensively. A doctor has been with Wout for four days to monitor his body's reaction to the training. He also had very extensive examinations before he resumed training. At the beginning of this week, the medical staff determined that he is fully fit and can continue his efforts at top sporting level."
Van Aert was also checked during and after training, Team Jumbo Visma's sportive director says. "On the functioning of the heart, among other things. Wout's health is in excellent shape. But after a week of isolation, top form is no longer possible. His run-up to Roubaix is poor and he will miss the reconnaissance on Thursday. All in all, it is anything but an ideal preparation. However, a rider like Wout can still play a role in supporting Christophe Laporte, Mike Teunissen or Nathan Van Hooydonck."
For Mike Teunissen, Paris-Roubaix is one of his favourite races. "The race suits me well. I have very good memories of it. For Sunday, it is difficult to estimate what result I can expect. It also depends on how we race. Hopefully I can compete in the final, but we'll have to wait and see. I had hoped that my spring would go a little better. The level is very high, within the team and in the races. I could do what I was supposed to do, but I didn't bring something extra in most cases. Hopefully it will go a little better on Sunday. Then the world will look a lot different."
Paris-Roubaix is often said to be a race fought man-to-man, but the Dutchman sees it differently. "We have shown all spring that riding with a strong team is good. You can really make each other stronger. It is a man-to-man fight, but it is still nice to have good guys around you. That is always an extra advantage."
Teunissen expects a dusty 'Hell of the North'. "For Sunday, dry and relatively good weather is forecast. So it will be very different from last year."
The 119th edition of Paris-Roubaix means a return to racing in spring. Therefore, better weather is expected than last year's heroic edition. But whether it's raining or dry, the riders will still face a tough race. The course is 257 kilometres long, including 55 kilometres of cobblestones, spread over no less than 30 cobbled sections.
Wout van Aert
Nathan Van Hooydonck
Mick van Dijke