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Questions for Will Clarke about racing in his first Paris-Roubaix

William Clarke of Australia from team Argos-Shimano rides ahead of Simon Clarke of Australia from team Orica GreenEDGE. AAP Image/Benjamin Macmahon
Roar Guru
7th April, 2013
2

GreenEDGEfans had the chance to fire some questions to Australian rider Will Clarke, who is racing in his very first Paris-Roubaix in 2013.

Robin, GreenEDGEfans: Hi Will, thanks for sparing us some time – congratulations on being back in the Pro Tour peloton. You returned to Pro Con Team Champion System when Team Radioshack-Leopard folded.

How did you maintain your focus after such a disappointment?

Will Clarke:
It was a bit of a disappointing time for me after the team merged, it did cause a bit of uncertainty, but I still got to race with Champion System and still do some nice races in 2012, so that was good in that regard, but I had to do way too much travelling last year which made it really hard to perform at times.

GEF
2012 was a great year for you with a memorable stage win in the Tour Down Under, a win in a stage of the Tour of Japan and 8th in the Rund um Köln all with quality fields, did you feel confident with getting another Pro Contract? And when did Argos-Shimano approach you?

WC
I started the year reasonably well but my second half of the year was a bit of a write off really, I was a bit unsure of what would happen, but in the end it all worked out.

It was my wish to join Argos Shimano, I really admire the way the team has been built by the management and the team spirit that is within the team, everyone is working really well together.

GEF
Personally I am very happy that Argo-Shimano contracted you, are there any thoughts about how this has progressed this year? You must be very excited about the chances Argos-Shimano have given you this year ?

WC
Yes it was a fun start this year, I started with my favourite race the Tour Down Under where I got to ride with the team for the first time and get involved in lead out for the sprints. It is all really about learning more at the moment and learning from some of the more experienced riders on the team like Koen de Kort and Roy Curvers for the classics races, I have done a few now, so I have learnt a bit. But I’m really looking forward to the big one this Sunday 🙂

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GEF
In an interview last year we corresponded about riding the Cobblestone classics. This year you have raced the Tour of Flanders but did not finish and you will be racing the Paris-Roubaix. What are your thoughts about riding the the Tour of Flanders the first time? You have raced successfully in Belgium before were you familiar with the route?

WC
Flanders was a great experience there were so many people on the route, my job was to cover the dangerous breakaways for the first 100 kilometres, so the other guys could save energy for later in the race. It was a very fast and hard but also fun and John Degenkolb was 9th so that was a good result.

GEF
The Paris-Roubaix is a legendary race and other than the Tour of France it was the big first race I knew about, what are your thoughts on the eve of the “Hell of the North” and how is your preparation?

WC
I’m really looking forward to it, it’s a race I have always wanted to do, watching it on TV it looks epic and I checked out some of the cobble sections and the Arenberg sector is just crazy, I think it will be a real experience in the race, it is so hard to keep the speed over such rough cobbles.

GEF
Your a tall rider at 192 cm (6ft3 ½ in the old money) and not the lightest in the bunch is there any extra preparation’s/modifications for your FELT bike to prepare for the Cobbles? Have you been able to recon the cobbles?

Being a bigger rider helps a bit with the cobbles you don’t bounce around as much. My FELT bike is longer than a standard bike and the tyres are wider around 28-30mm and we use less tyre pressure for the this race it gives you better traction on the rough cobbles. We have done around 100 kilometres of recon from pretty much sector 18 through to sector 5 of the cobbles, really they are the worst roads I have ever ridden on, but also it was a lot of fun.

GEF
Argos-Shimano have stated that John Degenkolb is the leader for the Paris-Roubaix what would be your role?
John will be the captain, we have a team that is experienced we just have to support each other as much as possible and try and stay together, My role will be to support the guys .

GEF
Could there be any unforseen circumstances where the Argos-Shimano Sports manager Marc Reef would give you the green light to go for a win?

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WC
Of course if I manage to have a really super day anything is possible 🙂

GEF
What is your next race

WC
Next race is Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

GEF
Its your birthday next Thursday I hope you get an early present on Sunday and thanks very much for this quick interview and good luck “fortune favours the brave”

WC
Cheers Robin!