Hammond: "Winning Flanders or Roubaix would do me!

procycling caught up with British national champion Roger Hammond of the Discovery Channel at the To

procycling caught up with British national champion Roger Hammond of the Discovery Channel at the To
"It's a bit of a shock to the system to be here," Roger Hammond told procycling ahead of the first stage of the Tour of Qatar on Monday. "I'm pretty tired, as I was only back in the UK for three days, visiting family, between returning from our training camp [in Solvang, California] and coming out here, but it's nice getting some sun!" The Briton has been more than impressed with his new team, the Discovery Channel, so far - that of six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. "It's fantastic: all our bikes and team clothing - yeah, including my national champ's jersey - was ready in time for the season, and all the flights are always right, which isn't always the case with other teams, so everything's great," the British national champion smiled. His time will be spent building up race-form while in Qatar. "There's no stress here. I'm just slowly preparing for the Classics, and will be riding races like Het Volk to prepare myself for the big ones: the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Winning either of those would do me!" Hammond laughed. The 31 year old, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, took third at the 2004 edition of Paris-Roubaix, won by his good friend Magnus Backstedt of Liquigas who is also riding at the Tour of Qatar. "It's the first time I've seen Magnus in ages, as he lives in the UK now, whereas I'm still in Belgium," said Hammond. "On the bike, we're definitely rivals, but off the bike, we're great friends." Hammond finished the day in 17th place, in the same time as stage winner Tom Boonen, but will be seeing how he feels over the next few days. "But we've also got Max [Van Heeswijk] here for the sprints, and he's got a good chance of taking a stage win, so keep an eye on him here," recommended Hammond.
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