"I enjoy every race... It'll be a day to remember."
In a sunny Compiègne on Sunday morning, this is how Ben Turner responded to Cycling Weekly's polite enquiry of whether he will relish his first Paris-Roubaix.
"I think the way you race it makes how much you enjoy it," he said. "If you're on the front foot as we've been recently, it's just makes you enjoy the race. Have fun, that's the most important thing."
The race was to be the last in his Classics season, which has seen his Ineos Grenadiers team claim third at Dwars door Vlaanderen, second at the Tour of Flanders, and victories at both the Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl. In his first year as a professional, it's a pretty incredible haul.
"This feels special," he said. "It feels strange this morning, different vibe. Same as Flanders, but this one feels a bit more chaotic. It's special to do this as a neo-pro, first year, it's pretty incredible I think really. Hopefully we'll do it well.
"There's not too much pressure for myself to perform, I just want to do a good job for these boys because for sure we're in with a shout today, but we'll see how we get on. It's not like one or the other, we've got the cards and we'll play them."
He said he was expecting "carnage" on his first Roubaix, the first dry edition since 2019, just his eighth race at WorldTour level.
Almost six hours later in the Roubaix velodrome, the Ineos Grenadiers rider had only slightly altered his opinion of the race after riding in the front group for much of the race, helping his teammate Dylan van Baarle to victory, but also crashing hard, resulting in all-too visible wounds.
"It was horrible, but great at the same time," he explained at the finish. "I crashed, I was in a lot of pain, and then I was riding, I thought I was 10th but I got 11th, so I'm a bit gutted. We won, so that's all that matters today, it was phenomenal."
Turner has had an incredible impressive spring. In his first year of riding he has been a constant in all of Ineos' successes in the Classics, and capped it all off on Sunday, to help the team to their first Roubaix win.
His acceleration to join back with the front group with about 40km to go was one of the moments of the race, and it came at a crucial time to help Van Baarle. Earlier on in the race, with still 210km to go, Turner had also been part of an Ineos move that saw the race split apart in the crosswinds.
Asked what it meant to him, he said: "I think it means a lot, it's phenomenal. To be part of the first Paris-Roubaix win is good. You gotta love bike racing don't you, it's the best thing in the world."
As for the plan, he could barely remember it at the end of a knackering day, the fastest edition of Roubaix ever held, an average speed of 45.792km/h throughout the day.
"It worked pretty well, well done to the DSes," Turner said after. "The original plan was to rip the race apart, in a nutshell, I think we did that. Honestly mate, I can't even think what we had to do. We had to do it in Arenberg, and then we did that and see, we had the numbers to play. Dylan was the best."
Despite being disappointed to not finish in the top ten, Turner made it to the velodrome just 4:30 behind his teammate, in 11th.
"I thought it weren't gonna come to be honest, it was that far away," he said. "It's just a blur. I'll definitely come back for more, but I'll definitely remember that until the day I die, it was incredible.
"I've never been this tired in my life. It was so hard, I was on the limit for so long. I thought I was going to get dropped with 100km to go. I was on the limit, it's so incredible to be part of this team. We won the last three classics, it's phenomenal."
With Turner just 22, younger than the ten riders that finished ahead of him, you shouldn't bet against him coming back for more "horrible, but great" racing. And you shouldn't bet against him doing even better, either.
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