Hidde van Veenendaal and his Dutch teammates dominate Paris-Roubaix U19
Updated: May 1
Ahead of Paris-Roubaix for juniors, Great Britain (with Sam Watson, Ben Tulett and Lewis Askey) and the United States (with Quinn Simmons) were seen as the race favourites. Nevertheless, Hidde van Veenendaal, Hugo Toumire and Lars Boven were honored on the podium. After a long solo where the American Michael Garrison dug deep, he was joined by Toumire and Van Veenendaal. Garrison was too tired of his long solo to keep up until the finish, but Lars Boven was the only rider who could still catch him. We talked to winner Van Veenendaal, third place Boven, fourth place Garrison, a disappointed Quinn Simmons and winner of the Tour of Flanders, William Blume Levy.
Hidde van Veenendaal (Netherlands – winner)
Before the race, you weren’t seen as one of its favorites. Quinn Simmons, Sam Watson, Lewis Askey and others were seen as bigger candidates. Was that in your advantage?
Hidde: “I think so, I had had a lot of bad luck in the previous races. Then today, everything went perfect. I had really good legs and managed to win.”
The American Michael Garrison attacked with 70K to go. What went through your mind then?
Hidde: “He gained more and more time, so it looked dangerous. Because I felt really good, I decided to go after him. Then the Frenchman [Hugo Toumire – Ed.] joined me and we worked together well. We dropped the American and went to a sprint à deux.”
Were you afraid of going to the sprint with Hugo Toumire?
Hidde: “I know my sprint can be pretty good after a hard race. In the last lap, he started his sprint first and I noticed I didn’t have too much trouble to follow him. I passed him quite easily.”
I read about your win at the national championships U17, where you attacked at the end. Was that your biggest win yet?
Hidde: “I attacked there in the last three kilometres. Until yesterday that was the best win of my career. Winning Paris-Roubaix today, that obviously changed.”
Did you believe in your chances to win before the race started?
Hidde: “Yesterday my back was hurting, so I didn’t guess I would ride this good. Also today, my back it hurt, but it didn’t stop me from riding fast.”
Do you come from a cycling family?
Hidde: “Yeah, my father and mother both raced in competition. My father rode for pretty small teams, I’m not sure which.”
After today, there’s no doubt about it. You’re a rider for the classics.
Hidde: “Definitely, I like to try a solo and make the race hard.”
You just won Paris-Roubaix, you will probably already get noticed by professional teams.
Hidde: “I really hope I can keep on showing myself and become a professional.”
Lars Boven (Netherlands – 3rd)
You must be really satisfied with today’s race. Your Dutch teammate won and you came third.
Lars: “Yeah, I’m very satisfied. This morning I didn’t expect this to happen.”
I didn’t see any results so far for this season on your Procyclingstats page.
Lars: “That’s right. I haven’t done a lot of races yet because I had a cyclocross season this winter. That’s why I started off a bit later with my road season. It’s my first UCI race of this season.”
And you knew you had good legs for today?
Lars: “Not before the race, but after the first sector of cobbles I knew my legs were good. Before that sector, I was caught up behind a crash and rode into a ditch. I had to ride back to the peloton and started the cobbled sector as the last rider of the group. By the end of the sector, I had ridden all the way to the front. Then I knew I had good legs, but I thought I had wasted too much energy."
What happened next?
Lars: “Then the American [Michael Garrison – Ed.] rode away. The peloton stopped riding and later my teammate Hidde came across with someone else. [Hugo Toumire – Ed.] So in total three guys had gone and the peloton rode for the fourth place. At the sector Carrefour de l’Arbre [one of the toughest cobbled sectors – Ed.] I went full gas from the start. Sector 3 came right after Carrefour, so I just kept going. Then about ten guys joined me again. At sector 2, I did the same and the group behind me didn’t collaborate too well. There were about sixteen kilometres left to the finish, and I was riding solo.”
You thought you were riding for fourth place?
Lars: “Yeah, and I was happy with that. But then I came onto the American [Michael Garrison – Ed.] who had been dropped from the front. I wanted to ride away from him, but that didn’t work out. So I just went full gas with him in my wheel, satisfied with a fourth place.”
How far were you and Garrison ahead of the group of favorites?
Lars: “In the beginning, the gap was big enough. But on the Vélodrome, only half a lap. Probably still enough, but I didn’t want to risk them catching us.”
How did the sprint for third place go?
Lars: “Both of us were high in the Vélodrome, but right at the end the American tightened his shoes. I saw that and knew I had to launch my sprint.”
It probably wasn’t a good plan to tighten his shoes there.
Lars: “It was pretty early to start the sprint, but pretty late to tighten your shoes.” (smiles)
As you said, you also ride in the cyclocross circuit. What results did you get there?
Lars: “I mostly finish around place ten, but that’s because I started doing cyclocross quite late. I didn’t have any UCI points and always had to start at the back. But I had a good season, apart from the World Championships. I hit a post there after one and a half minute and my handlebar broke off. After one lap I was already two and a half minutes behind."
Michael Garrison (USA – 4th)
Michael, you did an amazing race. You rode alone on the front for seventy kilometres. When did you attack?
Michael: “I didn’t really attack, I rolled out in a corner. Quinn [Simmons – Ed.] was our leader for today and I knew coming into this race it would be us against the British. The Dutch were really strong too. I knew that if I just continued solo, it would put pressure on the other teams. I just started riding.”
Did you want anyone to join in your breakaway?
Michael: “I was all right with going solo. I felt good and I knew the other Americans would be able to follow new attacks in the field. I was just like ‘YOLO’.”
It didn’t go fast enough in the peloton?
Michael: “We weren’t going really fast, no.”
Did you talk to Quinn before that attack?
Michael: “After rolling off, I looked back at him and saw our riders on the front of the peloton.” (momentarily breaks off the interview because he has ‘stuff’ in his throat and needs water)
With thirty kilometres to go, you had an advantage of one and a half minute on the peloton. With your good time trial abilities, some people already thought you were going to win. What did you think yourself?
Michael: “I never wanted to say I had it. I’m the type that likes to race hard. I rather give it my all and go as hard as I can. Whatever happens happens. I just missed out on the podium, but there’s nothing I can complain about.”
What happened when Hidde van Veenendaal and Hugo Toumire came across to you?
Michael: “I had already been out there for so long, I was pretty tired. I could hold the wheel on that last hard sector of cobbles, but not until the end of the race. The race today was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
So you’re happy with the result?
Michael: “I can’t be sad, I literally rode as hard as I could. But I had a misunderstanding. The guy on the motor showed the numbers of the riders who were behind me, and I thought one of them was American. I thought if guys would try to bridge the gap, there would be an American on the wheel. I don’t know what happened.”
Your older brother is Ian Garrison, who rides for Hagens Axeon Berman and finished second in the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux last week. Did you talk to him before the race?
Michael: “I’m looking for him right now, he lives in Ghent and he told me he would ride here to watch the finish. I talked to him last night and he really emphasised that he wanted me to have fun today. I did it, so I hope he’s somewhere around here now. Hopefully he made it.”
Your brother is someone to look up to.
Michael: “Yeah, he’s been really killing it this season.”
Quinn Simmons (USA – 20th, winner Ghent-Wevelgem)
Quinn, after an impressive win in Ghent-Wevelgem, you were one of the biggest favorites of today. I heard you were countering all the attacks in the peloton, because you had Michael Garrison in the front.
Quinn: “The team orders got a bit lost today, and we ended up with a guy up the road who shouldn’t have been there. I ended up playing defense. Everyone was watching us, so it was hard to get any separation. The win and the podium were gone, so I wanted to set Luke Lamperti up for the sprint. A fifth place would be a great result for him, so I tried to lead him out. Unfortunately, that didn’t work.” [Lamperti finished tenth - Ed.]
Probably you’re really devastated that you never came close to the victory today. Due to the circumstances.
Quinn: “Yeah, this was the biggest goal of the whole year, so it hurts.”
Do you feel angry? Michael Garrison told me he never actually attacked, he just got the gap.
Quinn: “That’s a good one. That’s funny. We’ll just leave it at that.”
As you said, this was your biggest goal of the year.
Quinn: “There’s a lot of work that went into it, Specialized hooked me up with a brand new Roubaix bike. We brought a good team and thought this was going to be the year, but it wasn’t. It gets harder from now on, but I hope to be back for the U23 race and hopefully one day the elite race.”
Two of your biggest opponents for today crashed out early. The Danish Fredrik Wandahl broke his collarbone and the British Sam Watson also crashed hard.
Quinn: “In this race, positioning is really important. The only way to stay safe is being in the top ten all day. Hopefully they’re okay and they can get back racing soon.”
William Blume Levy (Denmark – 11th, winner Tour of Flanders)
After winning the Tour of Flanders last week, you probably hoped to go for the win again?
William: “Yes, of course, it’s not the result I hoped for when I started.”
Why didn’t you follow the move of Hidde van Veenendaal and Hugo Toumire?
William: “My plan was to wait until the last sectors. There were only two Danish riders left in the group, so we couldn’t do a lot.”
Your teammate Fredrik Wandahl fell after ten kilometres.
William: “We were the captains today and had to do the moves in the final. And then he fell and probably broke his collarbone.”
In the end the peloton didn’t ride fast enough to get the three riders back?
William: “The guys from the USA were really strong and closed all the gaps to the guys who wanted to attack.”
What did race favorite and American Quinn Simmons do?
William: “He closed every attack.”
In this edition of Paris-Roubaix, the biggest favorites don’t seem to be on the podium. Is that because you don’t know each and everyone’s abilities yet?
William: “Exactly. They went very early and I don’t think anyone thought they would hold it to the finish line. Also because of the headwind that played a role.”
How was your feeling on the cobblestones?
William: “I was feeling really good. I was among the strongest guys on Carrefour de l’Arbre. Me, Quinn Simmons, Ben Tulett and Lars Boven took an advantage, but the others came back again. I think Lewis Askey had a mechanical on Carrefour.”
Because Sam Watson and Fredrik Wandahl weren’t in the race anymore, both Britain and Denmark had one card less to put into a breakaway?
William: “Exactly. And the Dutch were very well represented in the front group.”
As I already said, you won the Tour of Flanders last week. The American and British riders didn’t ride there of course, but it's nevertheless a big win. How was your race?
William: “I went into the early break. It was a long and tough race. The last time on the Muur van Geraardsbergen, I was the strongest. Me, my teammate Tobias Lund Andersen and a French rider, Antonin Corvaisier. Me and my teammate took turns in attacking, and at the end the Frenchman was too tired to follow. So I was alone and then my teammate also got rid of the Frenchman. So I waited for him and we rode together to the finish.”
Because you were the one who waited, you took the honour to pass the finish line in first place?
William: “Yeah, but I also think I was the strongest. If we would have sprinted for it, I think I would have won as well.”
With Andreas Stokbro’s win yesterday in the Tour of Flanders U23, both Tour of Flanders wins have gone to Danish riders.
William: “Denmark has really strong riders. Kasper Asgreen as well for example, he came second in the Tour of Flanders for elites.”