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"Nicki (Sørensen) was showing good form until he was involved in crash on cobblestone section before Arenberg and suffered not only a setback but also a nagging pain in his leg and was dropped before Carrefour De l'Arbre,&qu...

Photo: Sirotti








14.04.2014 @ 12:37 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

With Daniele Bennati and Matti Breschel both out due to injury, Tinkoff-Saxo lined up at yesterday's Paris-Roubaix as clear underdogs. The team put in a tenacious effort but as expected they came away empty-handed.


Yesterday Tinkoff-Saxo took on Paris-Roubaix, Hell of the North, the most prominent of cobblestone classics including 28 cobbled sections on the stretch from Compeigne to the legendary velodrome in Roubaix. Being underdogs in the race, Tinkoff-Saxo’s 21-year-old neo pro, Michael Kolar hit the morning breakaway and was the first to hit the mythical cobbles in the Arenberg Forest.
Behind the breakaway, the riders in the peloton struggled and practically sprinted for a favorable position going in on the Arenberg section where the moss-covered, treacherous surface caused havoc in the field with several pile-ups. Unfortunately, our young Kolar was dropped on the cobbles and swept up by the speeding and decimated peloton.
However, due to headwind, the peloton slowed down as no one wanted to waste energy in front of the pack, which provided the dropped riders the opportunity of regaining contact until there was a crash in the front of the field including race favorite, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Racing). This situation motivated Omega-Pharma Quick Step to pick up the pace in the chase group including Tinkoff-Saxo’s Chris Juul-Jensen, Michael Mørkøv while Nicki Sørensen and Nikolay Trusov were in the second chase group with Peter Sagan (Cannondale).
It was an unusual big group of favorites entering the final 70 kilometers where a series of attacks from among others a re-born Thor Hushovd (BMC) dominated this moment of the race. Nicki Sørensen rejoined the big group of favorites with 65 kilometers to go exactly as Tom Boonen (Omega-Pharma Quick Step) bridged a gap to a small group of chasers while Trek had no riders in front of the race. Soon after, the Boonen chase group bridged to the front group.
Being unsatisfied with the tempo in the group, Boonen it was all or nothing for the powerful Belgian and he put in a violent pace while a united peloton lead on by BMC and Belkin were chasing behind. As Thor Hushovd (BMC) bridged the gap, Cancellara decided to send a few soldiers to the front of the chase group to keep both of them on a short leash playing a poker game on the dusty cobbles.
As everyone waited for Cancellara to explode the field, Sepp VanMarcke (Belkin) launched a deadly punch forcing Cancellara to respond with Lars Boom (Belkin) on this wheel neutralizing the attack. A sudden counter-attack from Sagan stirred up the race for a while but he was caught with 25 kilometers again along with the Boonen group and the race could start all over with a minimized field including Tinkoff-Saxo’s Nikolay Trussov and Nicki Sørensen.
When the battle between the favourites started, however, Tinkoff-Saxo disappeared from the pointy end of the race, with Trussov being their best rider in 35th.

“Missing our two captains (Bennati & Breschel), I think we delivered a very good performance on the dusty cobbles," DS Lars Michaelse said. "Our tactics were to put a rider in the morning break and Michael Kolar managed to find the right moment to launch the attack. He’s now richer in experience and that’s important for the future.


"Nicki (Sørensen) was showing good form until he was involved in crash on cobblestone section before Arenberg and suffered not only a setback but also a nagging pain in his leg and was dropped before Carrefour De l'Arbre. We had Trusov and Juul-Jensen among the favorites far into the finale and I think they delivered a solid effort."



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