Ellen van Dijk has admitted she is more excited about the Hour Record than Paris-Roubaix after crashing out of last year's race.
Van Dijk was among the favourites to win Paris-Roubaix in 2021 but suffered a concussion that has left her anxious ahead of this year's edition.
And while she is part of a strong Trek-Segafredo line-up ahead of the second edition of Paris-Roubaix femmes, the 35-year-old said she is not as excited as last time around.
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"There are so many people who are excited about the race and it has such a big history. [It] is just different from any other race," Van Dijk said.
"Maybe my mentality changed a little bit last year, I really thought 'it's gonna be super cool'. And it's probably something that suits me. This year, I was a bit more like, '[sighs] Paris-Roubaix, I have to ride it as well. I was not so excited about it any more.
"At the same time, I don't feel the pressure like I'm going win this race. I know I have the power for it. But I also learned that you do not just need the power for it. You need way more to win this race than just good power."
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Indeed, Van Dijk's attentions are firmly on the horizon and a career-long ambition to break the Hour Record. And she admits that has her far more excited than Paris-Roubaix.
"I'm excited about [the Hour Record] and I'm also a little scared for that as well," she added.
"But it's one of my biggest wishes and the biggest project in my cycling career.
"I've been thinking about it for about 10 years but never found the right time or the right team to support me. This year with Trek the time is there. It's been my main focus since I started training this winter. It's my main motivation I really get excited about it - way more than Paris-Roubaix, I have to say."
But despite playing down her excitement, Van Dijk insisted she was ready for Paris-Roubaix despite no longer carrying the 'favourite' tag.
"I do not really consider myself as a favourite anymore, so I don't carry that pressure around," she said.
"I am ready. I'm excited to go out there and ride as fast as I can," she said before explaining the source of her hesitation.
"I have some anxiety in me from last year. It's been a rough three months to get back to normal - I had a really heavy concussion and it's something that I don't want to have again, of course. We'll see how it goes on Saturday. I think the form is there but it's not only about that. I just need to be in the front and then everything will be OK."
Conditions look more favourable than last year where rain produced treacherous conditions, and the dry forecast has certainly given Van Dijk a confidence boost
She said: "This year almost feels like it's another first time because it's such different conditions and everything will be different than last year. It's still hard to know what to expect really, in these conditions.
"What I learned from last year is mostly that you have to be in the front, which was not something really new ... but once you're on the backside of the things you keep chasing for the whole race. Positioning is key in this race. that's not a secret. It's also not my [best] quality, so that's why I struggle a bit with this race. My main focus is to position well and then just go from there.
"We have a super good team and have a lot of different options. And I think that's really good in this race because anything can happen. For sure somebody will have bad luck, somebody will have a great day, somebody will have a bad day. I think it's just super nice to have a very strong team here in Roubaix."
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