April, 12th 2009
‘Hell of the North’ lives up to its name for Argyle Armada
Cozza in break, Wiggins top twenty-five
Even though the weather was very cooperative and un-Classic like for the 107th edition of Paris-Roubaix, the parcours, fast racing and bad luck made up for that aspect in making the race tough for Team Garmin-Slipstream. The team’s leader Martijn Maaskant had an untimely crash and puncture, making him have to chase for much of the race. As well five of the Argyle Armada came out of the race with many scrapes and bruises from multiple crashes. According to team doctor Prentice Steffen, none were serious.
Early in the race things looked up for the team as Steven Cozza was in a significant early move of eleven riders. “It was fun racing in the front,” said Cozza. “I was fortunate enough to jump to the break in a cross-wind section and just had a blast racing over the cobbles. I was like a kid in a candy shop today! The rest of my team raced super trying for the moves the first hour and racing so strong for Martijn after his flats and crashes I already look forward to getting revenge in this race next year!We all know a win is possible its just a matter of luck going our way.”
Director’s report from Johnny Weltz
Today was the big day we had worked so hard for — staying in a super-nice hotel, new bikes that the mechanics has worked on for weeks, nice weather… With the last two weeks’ results and the riders overall improvement, we had good reason to be optimistic!
It started out very fast and one break after the other went and our guys were always there. At 42km a group of eleven riders took off and we had Cozza in — they gained up to 3 min before the first section of cobbles which was a good situation! All our guys were in the front group over the cobbled sections, until the last one right before Arenberg! Then the ‘hell’ broke lose… Martijn had a flat rear wheel and Hans crashed.
Martijn got a new wheel from our mechanics on the road but the bunch was already split in two. Huub , Friedman and Will did a hell of a job to get him back to the front group. Martijn hit the Arenberg an the end of the caravan and smashed up towards the front. But then a new crash blocked the road completely. Even though he came out in the third group Brad and CJ waited for him to bring him all the way up to the front. We where back in the game again!
But it didn’t last, and there was a price to pay. Martijn had spent too much energy and couldn’t follow the top guys. That was a big blow but that’s why this race is so epic!!!! We got most of our guys to Roubaix and Brad had a really strong finish and was 25th on the day. On the whole we had a really strong team performance without the pay-off . Martijn was really depressed, but after a reflection on the whole situation he is ready to get back on the hunt for a race he know he can win in the future!