So I worked my backside off to get from a heap on the tarmac in Qatar to the hardest one day race in the world and be competitive there. With all the little bits in place for the race and a super motivated team to help me, I was as ready as I would ever be.
I got the best trip ever in Roubaix over the first 160 km thanks to my committed team mates. I was floating across the cobbles and feeling very, very good. Then I was taken to the very front of the race by Julian just before entering the Arenberg section.
One hundred meters in to that section, I heard a big bang underneath me. I knew straight away what had happened. Only carbon fiber makes that noise. Then a couple of hundred meters later I heard the same noise again. I looked down and the wheels were all over the place. I was going slower and slower at the same time as I was trying harder. By the time I got out of that section, the race was more or less over for me.
Some people might question my decision to ride carbon fiber wheels in this race. But it’s something that I have tested over and over again and never had a problem with. Me along with the guys from Zipp were very confident that it would work. But for some reason, it didn’t. Now, I rode standard wheels last year and broke a back wheel then. So there are no certainties whatsoever here. I hope that we can work something out that will be stronger for next year’s race.
Being stopped in your tracks due to mechanical issues is a very hard blow to take. But it’s a part of this race and I accept that. But in saying that I still felt like, “I worked so bloody hard for this day and now I don’t even get the chance to show how well I’m going.”
I must say, however, that the day was saved by Martijn who rode an awesome race and I was very happy for him. It made me remember how I felt when I finished 7th in my first Roubaix. So however bad the day turned out to be for me, it was still very nice to see my team mate up there.
And yes, I did have some pretty bad dreams Sunday night about my day in the ‘Hell of the North’.
Time to get back to work and find new goals for this season. Next stop Amstel and then the Giro.
See you out there on the road.