Home Sport this year, Evaldas Siskevicius was on time

this year, Evaldas Siskevicius was on time

This time the gate was open. The audience was still in the stands of the Roubaix velodrome, warmed with hops and by the victory of "local" Philippe Gilbert. Evaldas Siskevicius sprinted with his remaining energy, took the ninth place in Paris-Roubaix, and looked at his watch: 17 h 12. "I wanted to finish Paris-Roubaix an hour earlier than last year and you know what? I finished 1:03 earlier, so I'm happy. " The Lithuanian sports the colors of the small team Delko Marseille-Provence and a child's smile: at 30, he has just completed the best race of his career in the very place that had earned him a staggering celebrity at the beginning , humiliating in the long run.

Relive the race: the Belgian Philippe Gilbert wins the 117th edition of Paris-Roubaix

In 2018, "Siske" had arrived at the moment when the organizers were closing the velodrome, abandoned by the broom-car at the direction of the direction, because the roads had to reopen in the agglomeration of Lille. In a glance, the grilling attendant realized that Siskevicius was determined to taste his turn and a half on the velodrome, and had reopened it. It was 6:15 pm and a photographer had captured the moment.

Earlier, a camera from the Flemish channel Sporza, in the broom-wagon, had also shown the rider's self-sacrifice: an ugly puncture in the crossroads of the Tree had forced him to retrieve a rear wheel in his car … on the tow truck, because she herself had not had a bowl that day. Siskevicius, instead of warming up in the broom-wagon, had then left her and rallied the velodrome in the traffic, with the obligation to stop at the traffic lights. A few days later, at the Directv├ęlo sitehe had given an explanation full of common sense earthly: "It's like anything in life: when you start, you have to finish. "

"It had become a bit annoying"

"Last year it was difficult, he said a year later in perfect French, with a Baltic accent. There, I do not hide that when I entered the bus, tears began to flow. I spoke with my wife and it's better. "

"In the beginning, the messages made me very happy, but afterwards it became a little annoying, Everyone was talking to me about it and when you're a cyclist, you're proud to talk about his results. "

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His employers will probably talk to him for a long time of his ninth place in Roubaix, which makes little Delko the best French team on Hell of the North. A first result at this level that Siskevicius went with his legs and head, taking the initiative to attack what was left of the pack 20 kilometers from the finish to get a little ahead in view of both last most difficult paved areas. It was only at the entrance of the Carrefour de l'Arbre that he was taken over by a group of outsiders, to whom he clung with his teeth before sprinting for a place in the top ten on the line.

Before that, his Paris-Roubaix had been an inverted mirror of the preceding one: neither fall, nor puncture, nor mechanical problem. And especially dream legs, after weeks with a suitable training, turned towards this goal.

"It piqued him"

This winter, Evaldas Siskevicius appeared to have been vaccinated from the race he was watching on TV as a child in Vilnius. Out of the question for him to put it back to his program, but the sports directors had insisted: Paris-Roubaix was made for this big wheeler, brave and solid constitution.

"No doubt the experience of last year, and the amount of rooming it had, it has a little put off"says Andy Flickinger, his sports director. Who confesses that the team has not held back, for months, the spoof on this episode "A bit special for a runner". To the point that the Lithuanian has tackled the next edition the bit to the teeth. "He did not want us to talk about him as a runner who goes to get bread on Sunday and is just able to finish Paris-Roubaix. "

His coach, Kevin Rinaldi, whose neighbor he is in the region of La Ciotat (Bouches-du-Rh├┤ne), confirms that if "This buzz could seem funny from the outside, it piqued him to show that face. He was extremely revanchist ┬╗.

On Monday, Evaldas Siskevicius has planned to land in front of the television and to review the race in full. He can even see himself arrive.

Cl├ęment Guillou ((Special Envoy to Roubaix, Nord))

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