Road

What they expect: Start-line quotes from men’s road worlds

No one seemed to know what to expect at the start of the men's road race, but everyone agreed it should be a challenging day on the bike

RICHMOND, Va. (VN) — Here are reactions Sunday morning from some of the top protagonists at the start line at the University of Richmond:

Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium): “We have three guys who can go for the win. The parcours is harder than we thought. The climbs will make it selective. We can expect a hard race. We hope someone from Belgium will win. I wouldn’t mind if it was me, but it’s been a long season. Let’s see how the legs are.”

Michael Matthews (Australia): “We did a bit of recon last week and the climbs are really short and punchy, which sort of suits my style of racing. With the cobbles I think it’s going to make it a bit more interesting, but I think it’s going to be a really exciting race for us, and a really exciting race for everyone else to watch.”

Lars Boom (Netherlands): “I feel good, and the course is good for me. It’s going to be a hard race. There are a thousand scenarios, so it’s impossible to guess what will happen. If it rains, it will make the race a little easier, because people will be more cautious, and take less risks.”

Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic): “I think the shape is good. I think I had a very good period of training and racing, so, why not? I will definitely try something. We have a good team here. We will try something.”

Matti Breschel (Denmark): “It’s a good course for us, and it’s more difficult than we thought. It will be a hard race. Of course, I dream of winning, but it will be hard. There are many strong riders here. We are outsiders, so we cannot be expected to control the race. I think it will be a small group. I hope to have the legs in the end.”

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway): “We have [Alexander] Kristoff for the sprint, and I will work to help him. The course is harder than people think, and I think it will be a very hard race. Kristoff is our captain. I think it will be a small group, but it will be hard to predict what will happen.”

Juan José Lobato (Spain): “Alejandro [Valverde] is the first card to play. If it comes down to a reduced sprint, I’m the sprinter.”

Brett Bookwalter (USA): “Being in Richmond is awesome. It puts cycling at another level in the U.S. It’s cool to showcase the sport to the fans. Physically, I am feeling good late in the season. Today is very different than racing in Colorado. This is rock ’em, sock ’em, full-on classics-style racing. We don’t have a big classics guy here. As much as I’d like to be firing up Libby Hill on the front, we need to be a little more conservative, and save our bullets for the last few laps.”

Manuel Quinziato (Italy): “We are not the big favorites like we have been in other years, so we will not have the same responsibility. I am feeling good, but I am here to work for the team. We have a few guys who can be there in the end. I expect a small group to fight for the victory.”