Tiesj Benoot is cut and bruised from tumbling in the Tour of Flanders, but “will do anything” to start Paris-Roubaix this coming Sunday in France.
The Belgian of team Lotto-Soudal, who placed fifth in Flanders last year at 21-years-old, fell only 120km into the race when he hit a water bottle. He cut his left elbow, bruised his left shoulder and counts many other scrapes and bruises his face, hands, arms and legs.
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“I’ve been through a lot of tough guys in the races, but this is exceptional,” Sergeant told Belgium’s Het Nieuwsblad newspaper. “Tiesj is unbelievable. Had we not stopped him, he would have dared to start in the Scheldeprijs. For clarity, this will definitely not happen.”
Despite heavy swellings on his left elbow, Benoot might stand a chance to recover this week and start the 257.5km Hell of the North.
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“He must now take time to recover from the blow and the pain. But it seems he wants to do everything in order to start still in Paris-Roubaix. It’s a little understandable. He spent months working towards this period.”
The team will make the call before the weekend when they must submit their line-up to organiser ASO. Sergeant added that he would assess his star rider “day by day with the doctors.”
Benoot is lucky to be riding as Sunday’s race took out several riders. Milan-San Remo winner Arnaud Démare (FDJ) crashed and shredded his skin and jersey, but should be good for Paris-Roubaix.