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“We are all motivated by the thought of this race.  Last year, I managed to get into the early break.  That is the best way to avoid the stress that results from our first approach to the entrance of the pavé sections...

Photo: Sirotti

ALEKSEJS SARAMOTINS

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HEINRICH HAUSSLER

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IAM CYCLING

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JONAS VANGENECHTEN

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MARTIN ELMIGER

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MATTHIAS BRÄNDLE

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PARIS - ROUBAIX

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RETO HOLLENSTEIN

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ROGER KLUGE

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VICENTE REYNES

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07.04.2016 @ 14:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

IAM Cycling wrote a beautiful page in its young history as a member of the professional peloton during the 2015 Paris-Roubaix where Aleksejs Saramotins remained in the lead for over 210 km before still managing to finish in 13th place. Meanwhile, Martin Elmiger held his own with the eventual winner, John Degenkolb, and finished in 5th place in the sprint for the victory at the Roubaix velodrome.

 

“I love the cobblestones,” Aleksejs Saramotins enthusiastically declared when talking about the northern classic that he has raced half a dozen times since becoming a professional.  “I’m not a masochist, but I had a lot of fun in my first Paris-Roubaix.  I managed to tame them a little, and I am already looking forward to our recon of them that my teammates and I have planned for Friday.”

 

Having taken a strong 13th place in the 2015 edition of Paris-Roubaix, Saramotins, who is the Latvian road race champion, has not forgotten the events of that April 12th.

 

“We are all motivated by the thought of this race.  Last year, I managed to get into the early break.  That is the best way to avoid the stress that results from our first approach to the entrance of the pavé sections.  I stayed at the front for over 200 kilometers without incident.  I even managed to be the first out of the Arenberg forest.  It was just crazy because I heard the shouts and excitement from the fans at the side of the road.  But I was too focused on negotiating my bike through that difficult cobbled section to be able to enjoy the honor fully.”

 

“I don’t remember an early breakaway going to the finish for many years past,” explained Eddy Seigneur, directeur sportif for IAM Cycling. "But nothing ventured nothing gained, especially this year where conditions might change the situation.

 

“The less you rub elbows, the less you risk.  Or if you can’t get away early, you have to wait for the difficult Mons-en-Pévèle sector, which is 3000 meters long and causes a big selection some 50 kilometers from the line.”

 

The 2016 vintage will be nothing like that of 2015 for the affable 37 year old Swiss rider Elmiger.  Last year he managed to take an impressive 10th place in the Tour of Flanders, and then followed up that performance with a 5th place in the velodrome among the Roubaix leaders.  Unfortunately, Elmiger suffered a crash in the 100th edition of De Ronde this past Sunday, which left the IAM Cycling road captain off the Roubaix team with a broken left scaphoid.

 

Between Compiègne, the starting place of "The Queen of the Classics", and the Roubaix velodrome, the ASO (Amaury Sport Organization) organizers of the race have managed to find 27 cobbled sectors that will combine to make up 52.8 kilometers of the 257.5 total kilometers to be raced.  One new addition is a sector that scales a hill for 1700 meters, with a 400 meter passage that tips to a 7% gradient. This sector is situated just before Hameau du Buat.

 

This year’s forecast is set to include anything but a dust bowl for the giants of the cobbles.  For the first time in several years, the pavés could certainly turn into the “Hell of the North” on account of intermittent rain showers that are expected for the end of the week.

 

Line-up

Matthias Brändle (Aut)

Heinrich Haussler (Aus)

Reto Hollenstein (S)

Roger Kluge (All)

Oliver Naesen (Bel)

Vicente Reynes (Esp)

Aleksejs Saramotins (Let)

Jonas Van Genechten (Bel)

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