Report: Team Sky
Photos: Team Sky
Team Sky have finalised their line-up for the 111th edition of Paris-Roubaix which takes place on Sunday 7 April.
The strong eight-man squad mirrors that of the Tour of Flanders a week earlier, with the team all motivated to bounce back from a race disrupted by illness and crashes.
Luke Rowe and Team Sky check out the Paris-Roubaix course
Picked from the team’s core Classics group, the squad blends years of experience on the cobbles with youth and promise.
The squad is as follows: Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Mathew Hayman, Salvatore Puccio, Gabriel Rasch, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas.
Meet the squad
Edvald Boasson Hagen has made no secret of his desire to excel in the ‘Hell of the North’ and will be going all out to achieve that goal in 2013. His ninth-placed finish at E3-Harelbeke and positioning in Flanders hinted his form is coming at just the right time.
Bernhard Eisel has enjoyed a strong Classics campaign so far with top-10 finishes at Milan-San Remo and Gent-Wevelgem. The Austrian is a proven performer at Roubaix, having claimed a top-five finish in 2006 and seventh in 2011.
Another rider who knows how it feels to seal a top-10 place in the famous Roubaix Velodrome, Mathew Hayman will be looking to bounce back from a Flanders performance hampered by illness. Third at Dwars Door Vlaanderen and a consistent campaign signals a rider in form.
The first member of the squad making his Roubaix debut, Salvatore Puccio has been an assured presence despite being just 23. The Italian is a former under-23 Tour of Flanders winner and is coming off a very strong ride last Sunday.
Also in the squad to take on his favourite race is Gabriel Rasch. A front-runner at Roubaix in the past, the Norwegian holds both power and experience and, after shaking off illness, will look to help the team make their mark in the monument.
The second rider making his Roubaix debut, Welshman Luke Rowe has slotted straight into the team’s Classics set-up and will have a key role to play on Sunday. A rider with a big future on the cobblestones, the 23-year-old will be looking forward to getting stuck in.
Tackling Roubaix in the colours of British national champion will be Ian Stannard, a rider the brutally tough parcours was seemingly designed for. With a rousing display at Milan-San Remo and a further top 10 at Dwars Door Vlaanderen already this year, Stannard is raring to go.
Forced to watch from the sidelines in 2012 as he chased his Olympic dream on the track, Geraint Thomas returns to Roubaix determined to stamp his authority on the race. A former winner of Roubaix as a junior, the Welshman is highly motivated after some bad luck this campaign.