Steels: We've had a good Classics campaign, no matter what happens at Paris-Roubaix
14 April 2019 01:41
Momentum and expectancy are two bywords that would have defined Deceuninck-QuickStep's spring until recent weeks. However, after failures to win Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders – although they were second in the latter – all eyes now turn to Sunday's Paris-Roubaix. Victory for the Belgian outfit would reinforce their dominance as the Classics team of the year, but a loss would possibly take the gloss off their entire Classics campaign. That may appear harsh for a team that ran away with both wins at Opening Weekend, that demolished the opposition at the E3 BinckBank Classic, and sewed their run together with victories at Scheldeprijs and Le Samyn, but such is the nature of the sport. A team is only as good as its last result, and in the last two major appointments at Gent-Wevelgem and Flanders, the team has missed out. High standards, of course, but this is the squad that sets the bar and has consistently raised it. Tom Steels, who sits in the Deceuninck-QuickStep team car these days, but was once, as a rider, an integral part of the team's Classics plans, explained that the team were focused on Sunday, but that their spring would still be viewed as a success once the dust had settled.ADVERTISEMENT "You still start with the eagerness to win, and with all the qualities that your riders have. You want to win, but it's only afterwards that you can sit there and say, 'Fuck – we didn't win, but at least we won the other races.' But for now we'll just focus on Sunday," he told Cyclingnews as his riders walked towards the stage in Compiègne, France, for the teams' presentation on Saturday afternoon. "A lot of other teams will finish Roubaix and won't have won anything. They'll leave the first part of the spring Classics with a worse feeling than us. We can be proud of what we've done. We've had a very good spring, and have won a lot of different races. If we lose tomorrow because of a flat tyre or a technical problem, then of course we'll be disappointed. But after a week or so to reflect on it, we'll probably be able to say that we did a good job." Steels' riders arrive in Compiègne with Zdenek Štybar and Philippe Gilbert both on the mend after recent illness. The pair were unable to contest the finale in Flanders, but young Dane Kasper Asgreen flew the flag with a fine second place. It was an incredible result for a rider who had only moved into the WorldTour ranks last year, and further testament to the squad's deep pool of talent. On Friday, perennial rival Greg Van Averamaet (CCC Team) highlighted Asgreen's Flanders ride as proof of the quality of Classics riders this spring.
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