Monday, April 13, 2009

Joost at Paris-Roubaix -- an update

Update on yesterday's post.

Joost did well in Paris-Roubaix. He joined an early escape of ten men which stayed away most of the race. When the break was finally caught, he helped team-leader Flecha to stay at the front. Flecha was eventually one of five top men in the key move at the end, but crashed on a slippery turn and came in sixth. His job done, Joost fell back to 39th.

In an interview on his web site, he says he's happy with his performance. The pace of the lead group was very fast, but -- since his presence was tactically a defensive move (he wasn't his team's protected rider in this race) -- he theoretically had less work to do that others in the group. All the same, photos show him up at the front rather than sitting at the back as you might expect (as for example this one) where he's third in in line.

Still, being in that group kept him from the worst difficulties faced by the rest of the riders, particularly the dangerous high-speed jostling leading up to the narrow cobbled sections.

Asked about the problems caused by the crowds of spectators, he said that he small lead group wasn't bothered by them. Even on the cobbled sections where the crush of people was most dense it wasn't bad. He had to keep his attention on the cobbles themselves -- they're very uneven and can be slippery as well -- but he didn't feel threatened, though he heard the noise the spectators made and smelled the beer they'd been consuming.

Asked whether he'd discussed the race with other team members, he said he hadn't had a chance to do that. Usually the the team showers in the team bus, but there are communal showers for all racers at Paris-Roubaix, and that kept him from getting together with them.

Asked how he planned to spend the rest of his Easter holiday, he said he was going to a cookout with his girl friend.

{Joost in the break; he's on the right; as you can see, this comes from PEZ cycling news.}

{This shot shows what the crowds were like — really not bad at all; you can also see that the weather was clear; it was a cool and windy, but dry day; source}

These photos and the Youtube video are on his web site.

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