Jasper Stuyven says UCI should focus on safety, not changing spring classics calendar

A confident Mads Pedersen will co-lead Trek-Segrafredo and the team is racing to win Paris-Roubaix.

Photo: DIRK WAEM/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

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The Trek-Segafredo tandem of Jasper Stuyven and Mads Pedersen is racing to win Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

After a spring campaign filled with successes and setbacks, the duo hope to ride into the velodrome Sunday with victory for the team.

“Some results are not what we were hoping for, but some were OK. We also know that Sunday is the race that fits us the best,” Pedersen said in a Zoom call Friday. “We know we have the shape and we did our preparation. We are racing to win on Sunday.

“I am just hungry to win,” Pedersen continued. “I feel like I have pretty big chances. The shape is good, and after what I was doing the last couple of weeks. Even Flanders was still good for me, it’s a race of all the classics that fits me the least, and I was still quite OK. I believe I can be in the mix for the win on Sunday.”

“You need both,” the Dane said of luck and tactics. “If you just show up without a plan, you’re not going anywhere. If you’re not lucky or don’t have the skills, you’re also not going everywhere. You need everything.”

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Pedersen, 26, is on a roll this spring. Though he hasn’t won or hit a podium in one of the major one-day classics this spring, he’s won four of the five races the entire team has won so far in 2022.

Back for his fifth start at Roubaix, the former world champion expressed confidence ahead of Sunday’s rumble across the cobblestones.

“The most dominant team? Us. We are not looking much at what other teams are doing. We are only looking at ourselves,” Pedersen said. “We are trying to be best as possible with the group we have. The strength we have is to keep our focus on what we can do and what we can change. We will race our race and not race the other guy’s race.”

Stuyven is also hoping to punch through to the podium.

The 29-year-old Belgian has twice been in the top-5 in seven Roubaix starts, with fifth in 2018 and fourth the previous season. A winner at Milan-San Remo last year, the powerful classics star is also brimming with confidence after bouncing back from health issues that sidelined him for the Italian monument in March.

Fourth at Gent-Wevelgem and ninth at De Panne bode well for Sunday.

“We are trying to win the race as a team. Roubaix is a race where a lot of action is happening from very early on. It’s important that we don’t miss out, and hopefully we are both there in the final by following the right moves,” Stuyven said. “I think I am good enough to win, I don’t need to count on someone else’s favorite status to be good myself.

“We need to be ready to follow the right moves at the right times,” he said. “And when that will be, we will see on Sunday, and then we will decide if we want to make an action.”

Stuyven, Pedersen agree that the spring classics shouldn’t be tampered with

Mads Pedersen, shown here training for Paris-Roubaix, says the spring classics are fine where they are. (Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

Both of the Trek-Segafredo classics captains agreed that the idea of moving Paris-Roubaix and perhaps other major spring classics into the fall would be a bad idea.

“You take the two monuments and move them out of the spring, then you don’t have the spring classics anymore,” Pedersen said. “They should move other races instead of the classics. Basque Country could also be at the end of the season. For me, it would be a pity if that’s going to be the decision.”

The idea was floated by UCI president David Lappartient in an interview with Wielerflits on Thursday, with the Frenchman stating that the governing body and ASO – which runs Paris-Roubaix – were open to the idea of rescheduling two of the biggest one-day races in the calendar.

Stuyven had strong comments, suggesting that the UCI should continue to focus on more pressing matters rather than try to change the long-running spring classics calendar.

“I saw today at the Tour of Turkey, I think Lappartient, who is always claiming to care for our rider’s safety, that maybe he should focus on that instead of changing the calendar for maybe again worse weather,” said Stuyven, referring to recent crashes at the Turkey stage race. “I am not saying Roubaix in the rain should never happen again, but putting it there [October] is only making your advertising video nicer for the upcoming year.

“I am not saying that Roubaix is dangerous,” Stuyven continued. “The edition we had last year is on the limit. If it was any other race than Roubaix, I think every single rider would say it’s too dangerous. It’s not something that should be every year. Just racing or riding the cobbles is not necessarily dangerous.”

Both riders hope to stay upright and without mechanical issues Sunday, and ride deep into the race with the podium in play coming into the final hour of the race.

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