• Luke Durbridge of Team BikeExchange during the 118th Paris - Roubaix 2021 recon (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Luke Durbridge is set to lead the Team BikeExchange squad in what will be his seventh participation in the 'Hell of the North'.
By
SBS Cycling Central

1 Oct - 8:58 AM 

Team BikeExchange return to Paris-Roubaix with a mixture of youth and experience in their ranks for the penultimate monument of the season.

The squad will be led by Durbridge along with New Zealander Jack Bauer, who will tackle his eighth Roubaix on Sunday.

Dane Chris Juul-Jensen and Kiwi Sam Bewley add further experience to the team line-up, with Rob Stannard set to get his second taste of the French monument. Rounding out the roster will be debutants Alexander Konychev and Barnabás Peák.  

Durbridge has good pedigree in the cobbled classics, and has been in the mix at times on the cobbles, with his best performance coming in support of Mat Hayman's victory in 2016. Now, he's one of the more experienced members of the peloton that is set to tackle 31 brutal cobbled sectors before reaching the famous velodrome in Roubaix.

“Paris-Roubaix is always an exciting race for me," said Durbridge. "It’s going to be my seventh time and I want to give it my best shot this year. I haven’t done Roubaix since 2018 and I am happy we are back here. Everybody knows the race is really unpredictable, anything can happen, and you always need to be focused. 

"We have a strong line-up, with a good combination of experienced riders and younger ones, who can hopefully learn for the future. Our aim is to be part of the game at any time. We have been working hard all year long, but we can’t hide it has been a tough season for us so far."

Team BikeExchange has taken just nine wins to date this season - they normally average around 30 a year - with only two coming at WorldTour level. If they are to bounce back, it would be a fitting place to do so, with sports director Mathew Hayman in the car with the experience as a winner of the race.

“Looking forward to this year’s Paris-Roubaix, we line-up with Luke Durbridge as our ‘leader’ together with Jack Bauer," said Hayman. Both of them have had good performances in the last few weeks in Luxemburg, Benelux and Frankfurt.

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"We are confident we can be competitive here. The weather of course is always unpredictable, and the recon will be really important for the likes of Barnabás Peák and Alexander Konychev who will make their debuts this weekend.

"Nobody has raced here since 2019, so it will be good to have a mix of experienced riders who can also lead the younger guys. We will look to animate the race as much as possible, it’s always a hard race and any moment can be important. We will need to be focused and ready to be aggressive.”

Team BikeExchange at Paris-Roubaix:

Jack Bauer (NZL)

Sam Bewley (NZL)

Luke Durbridge (AUS)

Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN)

Alexander Konychev (ITA)

Barnabás Peák (HUN)

Robert Stannard (AUS)