This year we have two rainbow jerseys racing in this already iconic race. Their jerseys might look the same, but the demeanours of the two world champions at their press conference yesterday couldn’t have been more different.
Lizzie Armitstead, looked cool and confident after a classy solo victory in last weekend’s Omloop, and will be pinning on the number two, behind her Boels Dolmans teammate and last year’s champion Megan Guarnier. While she confirmed that her team would be looking for a victory, she played down her own chances, saying that the season was long and she had her own goals – the Tour of Flanders and then the Olympics – but it’ll be a great race to ride and to watch.
Meanwhile, Peter Sagan, sitting next to Lizzie, gave the impression he’d rather be enduring a root canal treatment than having to do another press conference. Peter said the race was unique, much like Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and he liked it very much, particularly the gravelled sections (which suit his superb bike-handling skills). He obviously wants to go one better than his runner-up spots in 2013 and 2014 but it all depends on the state of his legs – although no one asked him if he’d shaved them yet. And, he admitted, it’s difficult to hide in the bunch while wearing the rainbow stripes!
So, in today’s women’s race, look out for a win for Boels Dolmans, while the men’s race could very well be a muddy crap shoot.