"The pavement in Belgium is different than in France" - Filippo Ganna skips Tour of Flanders as he dreams of Paris-Roubaix victory

Filippo Ganna was 35th last year at Paris-Roubaix. INEOS Grenadiers took the win with Dylan van Baarle, but the Italian was left wanting more, and this year it will be a prime goal. This will be a specific goal, and for that reason he is skipping the Tour of Flanders.

“In the future we will see if Filippo will ride the Tour of Flanders. This year he is not riding due to the fact that the pavement in Belgium is different than in France," Ganna's coach Dario Cioni told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Filippo showed last year that he can handle the cobblestones well. In principle, Filippo will recon Roubaix at the end of March, but programs are always quite flexible and depend on results."

An ~85 kilogram rider, Ganna's physique is ideal for the cobbles of Roubaix. On this classic explosivity is not as important, raw power and endurance are. Both of them were on clear display at Milano-Sanremo this past weekend where the Italian stormed to second place on the day. A brilliant performance which gives the former time-trial World Champion new hopes of performing in the spring classics.

"Filippo was the leader in a major classic for the first time and he was certainly present. This second place will serve as fuel for the future," Cioni admits as well. "Next time he has no hesitation in following Van der Poel, because it was only the first time that Filippo ended up in such a situation with the giants of cycling."

Luck and tactics end up always playing a critical role in Roubaix, however the Italian as already raced it twice. "Last year, however, Filippo fell ill on the last day of the Tirreno-Adriatico. He carried that malaise with him for a while and therefore he was not optimal at the start." Ganna punctured right before the Trouée d'Arenberg in 2022 and could not be in contention. However, with his time-trialing dominance over, his focus in the classics grows further.

"We started again in December 2022. Filippo wanted to be better after a lot of hours on the bike, so we did more intensive work at the end of the training. We saw the progress in Milan-Sanremo, because don't forget that the Poggio is ridden at high speed. In short, why not believe that Filippo can win Paris-Roubaix? The result in Milan-Sanremo is an important step that gives confirmation," Cioni concluded.

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