‘Just imagine it rains that day…’: Riders react to Paris-Roubaix cancellation

Many were looking forward to an October edition of the Hell of the North

While everyone should be grateful for the amount of racing that’s already been held during a pandemic, the news that the rescheduled Paris-Roubaix had been cancelled was a reminder of the times we live in.

An October edition of the Hell of the North offered up a mouthwatering end to the season, with the increased likelihood of patchy weather delighting fans.

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The likes of Mathieu van der Poel had been looking forward to his debut in the race, as had the whole Israel Start-Up Nation team and the entire women’s peloton, with their inaugural event set to be held for the first time ever.

On the other hand, Philippe Gilbert, who would have missed the race on October 25 through injury, will now get the chance to defend his title on April 11, 2021. Here’s all the reaction from the riders.

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Mathieu van der Poel

“This is of course very sad news. I was looking forward to finally compete for the first time in this Monument. Normally, we would have planned a recon next Wednesday with the team. Paris-Roubaix was of course one of my main goals this season and would have been my fifth Monument this year.

“It’s a pity that I will have to wait until 2021 to race in this legendary event. Due to this cancellation, the importance of the upcoming races, with Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, is of course growing and growing. On the other hand, this is proof that it was the right decision to add Liège-Bastogne-Liège to my race calendar.

“Just imagine it rains that day [of Paris-Roubaix]…”

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

“It is of course a big disappointment because Roubaix is one of my favourite races. I have worked really hard to be in good shape in Roubaix. Now the season will be a week shorter and there are only a few goals left, especially the Tour of Flanders, of course.

“For me, it is a small consolation that I have already achieved great victories and that I’ve already had a very good season. Over the past week, I have decided to skip some of the races to be good in the coming cobbled Classics, I don’t want to waste that, so I am extra motivated to make something of the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem. I hope those races will continue with good [coronavirus] measures, I’m counting on that and trying to focus on that. Roubaix will be one of my big goals in 2021.

Philippe Gilbert

Philippe Gilbert at Paris-Roubaix 2019 (Photo by Stephane Mantey-Pool/Getty Images)

“[It’s] a real pity that Paris-Roubaix is cancelled. Rendezvous next year on the cobbles of the hell of the north. At least I will have the chance to defend my title in one of the toughest races on the calendar. Stay safe everyone!”

Audrey Cordon-Ragot

Audrey Cordon-Ragot and her Trek-Segafredo team-mates (Getty)

“I was happy to be competing in the first Paris-Roubaix women’s race in history with my French national champion’s jersey on October 25th…party postponed until April 11, 2021.”

Cedric Vasseur

“It is obviously a great disappointment but the current sanitary situation must give priority to reason before passion and the desire to shine on the pavements of the north.
“Paris-Roubaix was to be the last Monument of the season and we expected a historic edition. We obviously have to think of the organisers who did their utmost to get the race back on the calendar. We are already giving our fans a date for the next edition.”

Israel Start-Up Nation

Israel Start-Up Nation (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

“Painful. It was supposed to be our first ever. Painful. We had riders dreaming and working hard for this race. But with the world around us struggling to weather the coronavirus storm – waiting six more months for Paris-Roubaix seems like peanuts.”