“I’ve never seen such bad luck! ” These were the first words of Sporting Director Wilfried Peeters at the conclusion of the Paris Roubaix.
“In all our years racing we have never been so unlucky. We really weren’t ever able to express our full potential due to mechanical problems, flat tyres and falls. Boonen and Chavanel especially, but the other riders also were very unlucky, with lots of flats and accidents that put them out of play.”
Tom Boonen, forced to pull out of the race due to mechanical problems, had this to say about his Roubaix: “There’s not much to do when it comes to bad luck. In the Arenberg forest I had my first mechanical problem. My chain got stuck between the frame and the crankset and I had to wait almost two minutes for the flagship car. I changed bikes and I was able to come back. Then the incredible happened. I was catching up to the group of the favourites after a long chase when the vibrations from the cobbles shook my water bottle loose and it ended up between the back wheel and the frame. The wheel suddenly was blocked, and I lost control of the bike. At that moment Maarten Wynants was coming up on me. He couldn’t avoid me and I ended up on the ground, hitting my knees. At that point my race was over. In 10 years at the Roubaix I’d never had a flat and before this edition I’d only fallen twice, in 2003 and 2009. I was really unlucky. It’s too bad because I felt really good, and after my win at the Gent –Wevelgem and my 4th place in the Ronde, it would have been nice to have another positive result. It’s not up to me to say whether I could have won or not, but I was really having a good day. Honour goes to Vansummeren, who rode an extraordinary race.”
It was also an hard day for the other Quick-Step leader, Sylvain Chavanel. “I got two flat tyres, both at an important moment. I tried my best to get back in there both times. Then the fall definitely took me out. I fell hard in a left curve and did a cheese grater across the asphalt. I took up the chase again anyway, but at that point there was nothing more to do. This is also part of what the Roubaix is all about. You have to learn to accept these difficult times, too. Mentally I’m going to try and turn the page as fast as possible and concentrate on next Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race.”