Can the Belgians be beaten?
If any teams were hoping that Quick-Step Floors might be easier to beat at Paris-Roubaix than they were at the Tour of Flanders, then the announcement that the Belgian team will field an identical line-up on Sunday will not come as good news.
After Niki Terpstra took victory at Flanders last Sunday, this coming Sunday will see Quick-Step stick with the winning and naming the same seven-man team for the Hell of the North.
Fresh from his Flanders victory, Terpstra will be high on confidence and looking to repeat his Paris-Roubaix victory from 2014 to become the first rider since Fabian Cancellara in 2013 to win both of the cobbled Monuments in a single year.
But of course Quick-Step are the antithesis of a one-man band and have plenty of other options for a race that is all about being in the right place at the right time.
Czech champion Zdenek Stybar has twice finished runner-up in the Roubaix velodrome and will be hoping to go one better this time round, while Philippe Gilbert may only ridden the race once before (way back in 2007) but has spoken of his desire to add the title to his prestigious palmarès.
Slightly further down the pecking order comes two-time Dwars Door Vlaanderen winner Yves Lampaert who has the potential to cause an upset, while Tim Declercq, Iljo Keisse, and Florian Sénéchal will all be strong domestiques.
Quick-Step Floors have enjoyed a near-perfect start to the season with an astonishing 24 victories, prompting Lampaert to say that other teams were being “led to the slaughter” and needed to adapt their tactics after the Tour of Flanders.
Understandably, Quick-Step will be changing nothing ahead of Sunday, with sports director and former Roubaix podium finisher Tom Steels saying that the team were riding a wave of confidence.
“Paris-Roubaix is neither easy to control or book a ticket for the breakaway, but we will count again on our own strength and are prepared to do our own race, improvising as things unfold according to what happens, as we always do,” Steels said.
“We start with confidence in all the riders; they showed a good form so far this spring, and if one of them finds himself in a good position to take the win then we’ll do everything to support him.”
Quick-Step Floors team for Paris-Roubaix 2018
Tim Declercq (BEL)
Philippe Gilbert (BEL)
Iljo Keisse (BEL)
Yves Lampaert (BEL)
Florian Sénéchal (FRA)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
Niki Terpstra (NED)