Sonny Colbrelli puts full focus on Classics in 2022 after Paris-Roubaix victory

The Italian European champion has had an outstanding season on all terrain

Sonny Colbrelli
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sonny Colbrelli says his historic victory at Paris-Roubaix has allowed him to enter 2022 with his eyes firmly set on the Classics.

The European champion has had an exceptional year with Bahrain Victorious, having taken eight wins over the season, including Roubaix, stage and overall at the Benelux Tour and a stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

But it's the Roubaix success that the 31-year-old Italian says has inspired a surge in confidence. Colbrelli took the win by beating young Belgian Florian Vermeersch (Lotto-Soudal) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) on his debut at the 'Hell of the North'.

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At his team's training camp in Spain, Colbrelli said: "Winning Paris-Roubaix paid me back for years of sacrifice and hard work and it gives me even more morale for the future. 

"I know that a lot of people will be marking me but I know I'm one of the biggest riders in the Classics now, the world rankings show that. I'm proud of that but it's also an extra responsibility. I hope to stay up there with Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel."

"My outline programme will be much like this year. I'll start with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, then we'll decide if I ride Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico. After that I'll ride all the Classics, starting with Milan-San Remo and ending with Paris-Roubaix,"

Colbrelli is not yet looking towards the other Monuments away from Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders and his title defence at Roubaix. However, he showed at the Tour de France that, on his day, he can climb with the best of them - crossing the line third on stage nine at the ski resort of Tignes. Climbing prowess puts him in line for a stab at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia.

"People say I haven't perhaps realised what I've done but I often watch the race again and I'm happier and prouder to have won than ever before," he continued. 

"But I haven't changed, I'm the same person I was before I won Paris-Roubaix. That's important to me."

One defining victory for Colbrelli was his win at the Italian national championships, where he beat Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) from a break. This success gave him the confidence to not just wait for the sprint, thus launching a winning streak.

Colbrelli will be the main man for Bahrain Victorious next season on the flatter terrain, but he remains adamant that he will support his team-mates if needed: "We'll have a strong team and I won't be the only leader.

"I'll have some strong riders alongside me like Matej Mohorič, Heinrich Haussler, Fred Wright and others. They'll be important for the Classics.

"If I'm not at my best, I'll be the first to help my teammates like Matej. We did that in the past at the Benelux Tour and will do it again. We've shown our strengths in the past and that we can be competitive."

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