“I enjoy every race… It will be a day to remember.”
In a sunny Compiègne on Sunday morning, here is how Ben Turner responded to weekly cyclingpolitely asks if he will like his first Paris-Roubaix.
“I think the way you run is how much you enjoy it,” he said. “If you’re front and center like we’ve been lately, it just makes you enjoy the race. Have fun, that’s the most important thing.”
The race was to be the last of his Classics season, which saw his Ineos Grenadiers team take third place at Dwars door Vlaanderen, second at the Tour of Flanders and wins at both the Amstel Gold Race and the Brabantse Pijl . In his first year as a professional, it’s been a pretty incredible run.
“It’s special,” he said. “It’s strange this morning, a different atmosphere. Like in Flanders, but this one is a little more chaotic. It’s special to do this as a neo-pro, first year, it’s quite incredible, I really think. I hope we do well.
“There’s not too much pressure for me to perform, I just want to do a good job for these boys because for sure we’re with a cry today, but we’ll see how we get on. It’s not like one or the other, we have the cards and we will play them.”
He said he expected “carnage” on his first Roubaix, the first dry edition since 2019, just his eighth race at WorldTour level.
Almost six hours later in the Roubaix velodrome, the Ineos Grenadiers rider had only slightly changed his opinion of the race after riding in the leading group for much of the race, helping his teammate Dylan van Baarle to victory, but also crashing hard, resulting in too visible injuries.
“It was horrible, but great at the same time,” he explained on arrival. “I crashed, I was in a lot of pain, and then I was riding, I thought I was 10th but I finished 11th, so I’m a bit gutted. We won, so that’s all that matters today was phenomenal.”
Turner had an incredible and impressive spring. In his first year of driving, he was a constant in all of Ineos’ success in the Classics, and capped it all on Sunday, to help the team claim their maiden victory in Roubaix.
Her acceleration to catch up with the leading group about 40km from the finish was one of the highlights of the race, and she arrived at a crucial moment to help Van Baarle. Earlier in the race, with 210km still to go, Turner had also been part of an Ineos move that saw the race come apart in crosswinds.
When asked what it means to him, he said: “I think it means a lot, it’s phenomenal. To be part of the first Paris-Roubaix victory is good. You have to like the bike racing, isn’t it, it’s the best thing in the world.”
As for the plan, he barely remembered it at the end of a grueling day, the fastest Roubaix edition ever contested, an average speed of 45.792 km/h over the whole day.
“It worked out pretty well, kudos to the DSs,” Turner said afterwards. “The original plan was to tear up the race, in a nutshell I think we did it. Honestly mate I can’t even think of what we had to do. We had to do it at Arenberg and then we did it. did and you see, we had the numbers to play for. Dylan was the best.”
Although he was disappointed not to finish in the top ten, Turner arrived at the velodrome just 4:30 behind his teammate, 11th.
“I thought it wasn’t going to come to be honest it was so far away,” he said. “It’s just a blur. I’ll definitely be back for more, but I’ll definitely remember until the day I died it was amazing.
“I’ve never been so tired in my life. It was so hard, I was on the limit for so long. I thought I was going to get dumped with 100km to go. I was on the limit , it’s so amazing to be part of this team. We’ve won the last three classics, it’s phenomenal.”
With Turner just 22, younger than the ten riders who finished ahead of him, you shouldn’t bet he’ll be back for more “awful, but awesome” races. And you shouldn’t bet against him doing even better either.