While some of their teammates were biting dust last weekend in Tuscany, Amy Pieters, Jolien d’Hoore and Christine Majerus went to France to meet the French cobbles of the final of Paris-Roubaix.
We spoke with Amy Pieters after this recon.
“This recon has been different if you compare it with the first time when went to the cobblestones of ‘Le Nord' ”, Pieters starts. “Due to the COVID-19 virus we didn’t had any races at that time, which was strange because at that moment I didn’t feel the excitement. But this recon was very successful! It’s useful to have the feeling with those cobbles again, as the first time was a big shock. You can’t imagine how bad some sectors are, in comparison with the cobbles of for example the Tour of Flanders. Now that we've been there again, we could adjust ourselves. And it was great fun together! I’ve learned so much from both Christine Majerus and Jolien D’Hoore. Christine is the expert and is playing with those cobbles”, she laughs.
Thanks to Specialized the riders of Team SD Worx can make use of a speficic bike, which is made for this kind of terrain. The Specialized Roubaix, on which Philippe Gilbert the Hell of the North of 2019 managed to win. “It’s a privilege to ride with such good materials”.
On behalf of the Netherlands, Pieters will be participating in the Madison at the track during the Olympic Games in Tokyo in August. But how does she experience the cobbles as a track cyclist? “Well, this is bumpier”, she jokes. “But yes, this is completely different than racing on the track. However, when I’m racing with Team SD Worx I can forget the track and focus on the races. I can see the two disciplines separately from each other”.
The last few weeks is the equality of women’s cycling a hot topic. How does Pieters think about the addition of Paris-Roubaix to the women’s calendar? “It’s nice that this race has been added to our calendar. It’s something special, so I can understand that some girls are very happy. But honestly, I think that we already have a calendar full of beautiful races. So, I wasn’t really missing this race. We have for example Trofeo Binda and the Ronde van Drenthe which are not on the men’s calendar”.
After the victories in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Anna van der Breggen) and Strade Bianche (Chantal Blaak) the media spoke about how strong the team is. What do you hope to achieve during Paris Roubaix? “I hope that we don’t have bad luck and mechanic problems and ride a strong race with the team. To reach the finish of this race is already a big achievement. When I watched the men’s race on the television, you can almost feel the atmosphere”.
“With the finish on the Velodrome in Roubaix perhaps my track experience will help me. So maybe isn’t it that strange, a track cyclist on the cobbles” she ends.