Winning the most epic stage in this year’s Tour de France is like a dream come true. It’s extra special to win in rainy conditions and on cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix. I’ve been dreaming of a wet Paris-Roubaix for years and now this happens at the Tour - Simply fantastic.
Rain was general all over Flanders and northern France, and that conditioned the racing even from before the start in Ypres. Two of the planned nine sectors of cobbles were removed from the parcours by the race jury. Today, it all came together. Just before spring classics I broke my elbow due to a crash. Today I knew I had to show the world to be the best. I’ve crashed during the first stage, so I knew I had to improve step by step and would face some hard stages. Yesterday I knew I had to be ready. Rain, wind and cobble stones might not be the normal conditions we are used to in the Tour de France, but for me they are the ideal conditions. I was hoping for a hard stage, which it was. With Nibali, Fuglsand and Westra up there, I knew in this final I could show to be the best.
Sep Vanmarcke and I started the stage with the idea to win. It’s very special to be the first Dutch stage winner in Tour de France since Pieter Weening exactly nine years ago. I’m lost for words. I was crying on the bike already and had goose bumps everywhere.