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Exclusive interview Koen de Kort (Skil-Shimano) the day before Paris-Roubaix 2011

Added: sunday 10 April 2011 at 1:50:00
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    Exclusive interview Koen de Kort (Skil-Shimano) the day before Paris-Roubaix 2011This afternoon the team presentations of Paris-Roubaix 2011 took place in Compiègne (see the photos). The Dutch rider Koen de Kort (Skil-Shimano) (one of the 13 Dutch riders in this 109th edition of Paris-Roubaix) explained www.velowire.com what he thinks of this Hell of the North the day before the race!

    Koen de Kort, what have you seen in the recon trips?
    We started with the new 5 starred paved zone (number 21, from Aulnoy-lez-Valenciennes to Famars). It really is a zone which deserves its 5 stars, it's really hard.
    We especially watched how to get into the zones, especially towards Wallers and the different zones which follow it, because in this race the important thing is to be ahead at the right moment, maybe even more important than the zone itself.

    Koen de KortThis is not your first Paris-Roubaix, you correctly say that several things have changed, what do you think this means for the development of the race?
    I think that, since there's a new paved zone not far after Wallers, this makes the race more difficult because there were often riders who came back after Wallers. I think it's important to get out of there among the first. It will indeed be difficult to get back later on.

    You ended the Tour of Flanders in 100th position, how's your shape?
    I think I was in good shape before Flanders but a knee problem caused me a lot of trouble in the past few weeks and this also had an important impact on my shape. I just had one full week without any pain, so I hope to have made this step which I needed to make to get back on the level I lost before Flanders. I hope to be able to show something. When I'm happy with the way it goes, I'll see what place in the classification goes with that.

    Koen de KortFor a "small" team like Skil-Shimano, what are your ambitions?
    We have two guys who have won Paris-Roubaix espoirs and last year Tom Veelers managed to stay ahead with the best for a long time. I fell quite badly pretty early in the race last year and had to give up. I hope that we can continue as long as possible with two or maybe even three guys of the team. I don't think that we can hope to win, but if we really do our best, I think we can well have two or maybe even three riders somewhere between the 8th and 20th place.

    We're standing under a shining sun and a blue sky: Paris-Roubaix is either with rain and mud or with a blue sky and dust, what weather do you prefer?
    When I won with the Espoirs, it was with rain, so I would like to do it once again with rain, I've never done that since I became a pro, I think it's been good weather for at least 6 years now. It would be really nice to do that once again, but on the other hand, these high temperatures and this much sun are often too much for Classics riders while I support that pretty well, so it could also be an advantage for me.

    Listen to the complete interview (in Dutch) below:

    I would like to wish Koen good luck for this 109th Paris-Roubaix and hope to see him back, probably under a tiny layer of dust, at the end of the afternoon in the Vélodrome of Roubaix!

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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