The Sunday in Hell could be the first wet one since 2002. Peter Sagan has experienced the Roubaix cobbles in wet and windy conditions during the 2014 Tour de France. He finished fifth in the last edition of the race in 2019 and with the points classification from the Giro under his belt and overall win at the Tour of Slovakia this month, he should be counted as one of the serious contenders.
“I have never ridden an edition of Paris-Roubaix in the rain,” Sagan told Belga. “Sometimes it’s wet on a few slivers from the rain in the days before but on the day itself, we never got any rain on us.
“I do remember the 2014 Roubaix ride. It was very special. Well, a Roubaix stage in the Tour is always different because the classification riders also have their interests. In the spring, you only see the classic riders, everyone is even more nervous [at] the Tour. I remember that then on the first stretch, everything fell apart and it went really fast, from the start in Ypres to the end.
“No, I’m not going to be afraid if it’s wet but I do know that it will be special. Anyway, you can’t compare those few lanes in a Roubaix stage at the Tour with the real Roubaix. That is a battle of attrition and rain makes it even more difficult. I know that from 2014.”
— Peter Sagan (@petosagan) September 29, 2021
The 31-year-old has moved to Team Total Energies for the 2022 season and will be looking to end his spell at Bora-Hansgrohe with a big bang. And Paris-Roubaix could provide just that. It is a special race and it is special to Peter Sagan as well.
“I actually have a love-hate relationship with that race. If you are lucky that day then Roubaix is a great race but if you are unlucky, Roubaix can be a very long and terrible race,” Sagan said. “Look at the honours list: there are many different winners. Either they win by luck or they have ‘top legs’ that day.
— Peter Sagan (@petosagan) September 26, 2021
“A thousand things can happen along the way. You can puncture at the wrong time or fall or be held up by a fall and that can play tricks on you for the rest of the race.
“You can lose a lot of energy in Paris-Roubaix at stupid moments and then you have to chase. Even if you are not the best in Roubaix, you can still win there. You see that in history too. Anyway, it’s certainly a nice course to watch on TV, I understand that.”
It certainly is. We can’t wait for it to start.