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Florain Vermeersch speaks of his disappointment after finishing a close second in Paris-Roubaix

The surprising name on the 2021 podium of a rain-soaked Paris-Roubaix race was the young Fleming Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal). The 22-year-old Ghent-born cyclist took second in his debut in the Hell of the North on Sunday. Despite impressing all with his strong performance in the race, Florian Vermeersch told VRT Sport that he was disappointed not to have come first. 

Speaking at the Roubaix Velodrome straight after the end of Sunday’s race he said, “Maybe in a couple of hours I’ll be proud”.

Meanwhile, the former cyclist and current celebrity commentator Eddy Planckaert had nothing but praise for Florian Vermeersch’s performance on Sunday. Comments on the social media platform Twitter too were unanimous in their praise. Only the Italian Sonny Colbrelli came between Vermeersch and victory in Paris-Roubaix.

Speaking after the podium ceremony, the young Flemish rider said “Disappointment dominates. Especially the way in which it happened. For the moment it’s hard to deal with, but in a few hours maybe I’ll be proud”.

During the final few hundred metres of the race Florian Vermeersch seemed to have pulled away from Colbrelli and the Dutch rider Mathieu Van der Poel.  

"I knew that I had to go into the corner first it was the only way I was going to beat the two others. I went into the corner first. It was just that on the final straight I got cramp and Colbrelli took the lead”.

"I am proud of my performance, but it is a bitter pill that I came second”.  

Vermeersch had tried to pull clear of the competition earlier “But the first time I sensed straight away that Van der Poel was closing in from the right. Without saying anything he let me understand that the gap had been closed. I tried again during the final two kilometres, but Colbrelli reigned”. 

Florian Vermeersch’s phenomenal performance on Sunday was reminiscent of Tom Boonen’s debut in Paris-Roubaix 19 years ago. Then Boonen came third. Nevertheless, the level-headed Vermeersch says that “I absolutely don’t want to compare myself to Tom”.


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