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ROUBAIX, France (VN) – If Ineos Grenadiers is an all-new classics-crushing machine, Ben Turner is the fire that keeps it burning.
The lanky cobble-bashing Brit hit his rookie classics campaign at full tilt this spring and didn’t take his foot off the accelerator in his Paris-Roubaix debut.
Turner looked a lifelong pro on the dry dusty pavé Sunday – until a spectacular crash on the always cruel Carrefour de l’Arbre brought him back down to earth.
“It was horrible but great at the same time. Then I crashed and then I was in a lot of pain. I thought I was 10th, but I got 11th, so I’m a bit gutted, but we won [with Dylan van Baarle] and that’s all that matters isn’t it? It’s phenomenal,” Turner told reporters of his race debut.
“I’ll definitely come back for more, but I’ll remember this one until the day I die. It was incredible.”
Ineos Grenadiers completed its classics makeover in Roubaix on Sunday. The foundations forged by Tom Pidcock last year were built high by riders like Turner, van Baarle, Michał Kwiatkowski, and American ace Magnus Sheffield this spring.
After victories at both Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold Race, Ineos Grenadiers hit the “Hell of the North” so high on confidence it blew the race apart before the cobblestones even got started.
Turner, van Baarle, Kwiatkowski, and Co. split the bunch in the tarmac introduction to the race with a move that wasn’t even premeditated.
“The crosswinds were there so we just took it on. We knew were the best team going into the race, we knew that. Our strength is the team and we rode as a team today,” Turner said.
“The original plan? To rip the race apart, in a nutshell. I think we did that. I can’t even think what we had to do. We had to do it in Arenberg and then we’d see. But Dylan was the best … that guy’s class isn’t he. To be part of the team, it’s just special. The way we rode, it’s incredible, really incredible.”
At just 22 years of age, Turner still has a lot of life in his legs.
A graduate of the Trinity team that rocketed Pidcock into the world’s view, Turner looks poised to become Pidcock’s wingman as he rides his way through a contract stretching through 2023.
So what is it making Turner tick?
“I’m just riding a lot of riding on spirit I guess, just riding with it, having fun,” he said. “That’s the main thing. At the end of the day, it’s just a bike race and I feel lucky to be part of it. To ride this is a dream, to ride Tour of Flanders was a dream.”
Reporters touted Turner as a future Roubaix champion as he stood basking in his rookie ride Sunday.
He’s not ruling it out.
“We’ll see eh? The future looks bright and I hope I live up to what people are saying about me.”