'It’s no shame to lose to Gilbert': Nils Politt already planning Paris-Roubaix return after podium finish

Hard work paid off for the 25-year-old who was a stand-out rider in this year's race

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) is already planning his return to Paris-Roubaix after his outstanding podium ride.

Politt placed second to Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) on Sunday (April 14) after the two escaped in the closing 15 kilometres to the famous velodrome.

"I was never disappointed today," Politt said. "I'm in my fourth year as a pro now and to get second place in Paris-Roubaix is such a nice feeling and to lose against Philippe Gilbert who was already world champion, who has won so many races, it's not a shame."

Politt attacked 15 kilometres from the line and Gilbert joined him. Together, they dropped Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Gilbert's team-mate Yves Lampaert.

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Gilbert, however, showed his years of experience and polished off 25-year-old Politt at the line.

"I wanted to start my sprint from the back, but for sure Philippe had a good card to play as Yves Lampaert was coming from behind, so I had to go from the front. I wanted to start my sprint but he was already by my side. In the end, I think Gilbert had the better punch for the sprint," Politt explained.

"I was thinking that Philippe would attack me with about three kilometres to go, when it went a little bit up, and I thought that if I attacked Philippe he is a strong rider and he will stay on my wheel for sure. I thought that the only chance to beat him would be in the sprint. He won, but it doesn't matter because second place is great."

Politt won a stage and placed second overall in the Deutschland Tour in 2018, but struggled for results until this spring.

From Milan-San Remo through Roubaix's velodrome, he was ever-present at the front of the Classics.

"It means a lot. I really like this race. I did it once as an under-23 and I crashed five times and then I said to my father, this is a race that I can do well at and I want to come back," continued Politt.

>>> Peter Sagan content with Paris-Roubaix performance after lacking energy in finale

"Even in my first year with Katusha, I didn't finish but then the good results started to come with seventh place in 2017 and then today second. It means that this race is a good race for me and I'm really looking forward to next year."

Politt thought that with the Deutschland result and second place in the Tour of Britain stage last year that he was starting to break through.

"In the winter, I was training really hard, especially for the Classics," he said.

"Now, with two times in the top-10 in [the E3 Binckbank Classic] and fifth in Flanders, and today a podium in Roubaix, you can say it's for me one of the best days on my bike."

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