Previously second and fourth in Paris-Roubaix and last week third in the Tour of Flanders, Sep Vanmarcke is a danger man for today’s race.
The Belgian may sit one level below Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara in the list of tipped riders, but his past results and current form show that he could certainly win.
“I can live with being a favourite,” he said on Saturday. “I was in a good shape last week and did some good results. I hope to do it tomorrow as well. I am aiming for the podium, and trying to get the win.”
Vanmarcke was with Peter Sagan in the break in Flanders and after the Slovakian pushed ahead to take the victory, he worked with Cancellara to try to haul him back. They were unable to do so and he had to settle for third.
“I was really tired afterwards but I recovered well,” he said. “I have got a week since then and I feel good again.
“For Roubaix, you need to have a good feeling on the cobbles, have a good technique. Most of all, you need to have good condition.”
Asked if he was scared of other riders, he dismissed that. However he said that there were certainly some who needed to be respected.
“I think the most important guys to watch for are Sagan and Cancellara. They are, I think, the strongest. And the QuickStep team is also…they have so many who can ride well on cobbles, so they are also dangerous.”
Paris-Roubaix is so chaotic that it’s impossible to predict how things will unfold. However he made clear that he’s got a strong affection for the race and, were he to win it, it would be massive for him personally.
“I really like it,” he said. “The first time I did it, I felt good on the cobbles. It is a really hard and honest race.
“I always look forward to the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. The more cobbles there are, the better I like it…”