Cycling Odds – Is Paris-Roubaix Sagan’s Time to Shine?
Sascha P.No comments
Sagan will have cracks at Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders earlier in the year, but it’s Paris-Roubaix (April 10) – the “Queen of the Classics” – that would really make a nice addition to his trophy case.
The cobbles of northern France will once again bring out the best one-day racers the world has to offer, though, and Sagan will face fierce competition, both from the terrain and the other riders.
Alexander Kristoff has won a Monument each of the last two years, and finished in the top-ten at Paris-Roubaix last time. The Norwegian is one of the few riders in the world who could outsprint Sagan in a race for the line.
Sep Vanmarcke is a Belgian classics specialist who, at 27, is just entering his prime. Like Sagan, Vanmarcke has been considered a favorite at the startline of every Monument he’s entered in the last few years. But, also like Sagan, he’s yet to win. He came painfully close in 2013, finishing second to Cancellara after Fabian out-sprinted him in the velodrome; he followed that up with a fourth in 2014.
Fabian Cancellara has seven Monuments on his palmares, including three Paris-Roubaix wins. But he got shutout last year and he’ll be 35 by the time April rolls around. This season will show definitively whether the Swissman is on the way down.
Zdenek Stybar is a three-time cyclocross world champion. He started racing on the road circa 2011, focusing on one-day classics. His proficiency on rough terrain makes him ideally suited to Paris-Roubaix and its insane parcours. He’s entered the race the last three years, never finished worse than sixth, and done better each time out, culminating in a second-place finish last year.
The man Stybar lost out to, John Degenkolb, is noticeably absent from this list. Tragically, the big German won’t be able to defend his title after a geriatric Brit ran over half his team during a training ride. (Fortunately, no one died.)
Paris-Roubaix 2016 Odds:
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): 9/1
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff): 10/1
Sep Vanmarcke (Lotto-Jumbo): 10/1
Zdenek Stybar (Etixx–Quick-Step): 12/1
Fabian Cancellara (Trek–Segafredo): 15/1
Kristoff is a beast, especially when he’s within site of the line. But coming into Paris-Roubaix as the favorite is a ton of pressure and the cobbles have a way of turning the expected script on its head. Instead, sprinkle a little on Sagan, Vanmarcke, and Stybar. All three are pegged to be Monuments champs at some point in their careers, but none has a win yet. I expect this to be the year that one of them gets off the schneid and Paris-Roubaix just may be the race.