Thor Hushovd says he expects full backing from his new BMC squad next season in his quest to win Paris-Roubaix.
Hushovd also said he foresees no problems next season with the arrival of Philippe Gilbert. Both will be focusing on the classics, but Hushovd will take aim at the cobblestones while Gilbert will return to the Ardennes.
“It’s true that I have a special relationship with Philippe,” Hushovd told the Belgian daily L’Avenir. “It’s not because we both live in Monaco, but because we take the same approach to being professional. We both like working hard, but also have fun doing it, so that spirit will help us next season at BMC.”
Hushovd said Gilbert’s strengths will play into his hands in certain situations.
“We have a team that can win in all terrain, from the classics to the grand tours,” he said. “I don’t think this will be a problem. For example, we all know that Gilbert can try to win Milan-San Remo with an attack on the Poggio. And if that does not work out, I will be there for the sprint. Gilbert is equally capable of winning Flanders, and I will be there to help.”
Hushovd said that he’s recently returned to training full time in preparation for the spring classics.
Hunting an elusive Paris-Roubaix title will be his main goal next season.
“I think I can win Roubaix,” Hushovd continued. “I think I could have won this year if (Johan) Van Summeren had not been up the road. Next year, I will start with the full sport of the team working for me, but that does not necessarily guarantee that I will be able to win in the velodrome.”
On Monday, the 2010 world champion received a prize from the cycling journalists’ association as being the most accessible figure to the media.
Last season, Hushovd certainly did not hold back his frustration over how Paris-Roubaix played out, with Garmin-Cervélo betting on Johan Van Summeren and putting Hushovd on Fabian Cancellara’s wheel.
Peter Van Petegem, who helped orchestrate Garmin’s winning strategy last year at Roubaix, says he believes that Hushovd will get his Roubaix.
“I can say that Thor will win at least one Roubaix,” Van Petegem said. “He has the talent and the experience to do it.”