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First Edition Cycling News, Monday, April 14, 2014

Date published:
April 14, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Terpstra's Paris-Roubaix win is a dream come true

    Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) goes on the attack
    Article published:
    April 13, 2014, 18:35 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Dutchman solos to victory

    Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) had plenty of time to lap up the adulation of the crowds in the Roubaix velodrome as he rode to the biggest victory of his career at Paris-Roubaix.

    Terpstra entered the velodrome to huge roars and managed to complete a full lap before the chasers had done the same. He's been in fine form this spring but this victory trounced everything he has done until now.

    "Since I was a little child and I started cycling, Paris-Roubaix was the most special race for me and now I won it it's a dream come true," said Terpstra.

    "It was really special. I was so satisfied that I finally had a big one. I already had some nice victories, but always you hear that these are small races. It's the biggest Classic for me that I can win and I was really emotional when I crossed the big line," he said in the post-race press conference. "It's a stupid race - too old fashioned - but that's why it's so special and that's why I love it so much."

    Terpstra attacked after the final major sector of cobbles, the pavé de Willems à Hem and immediately managed to draw out a gap. The indecision in the chasing group of favourites seemed to assist Terpstra in his mission. With Peter Sagan and John Degenkolb in the group, nobody was willing to drag them along. He eventually crossed the line with a 20-second advantage, but Terpstra didn't dare imagine that it was possible, until he had that fames velodrome in his sights.

    "I only believed it in the last corner here. Two years ago, I was fifth. I think that if you can finish in the top 10 here, you can also with a bit of luck win it. Last year I was third, so I was close and now I did it," said Terpstra. "When we came together on the last cobble sector in Hem and...

  • Cancellara outnumbered in Paris-Roubaix finale

    Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    April 13, 2014, 19:31 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Swiss continues sequence of podium finishes

    Fabian Cancellara (Trek) arrived at Paris-Roubaix as a man of destiny, chasing a fourth victory in the Queen of the Classics and a third Flanders-Roubaix double. He comes away from a pulsating race without setting any further records, although he maintains his remarkable sequence of results in the major Classics.

    Since 2010, Cancellara has finished on the podium in every monument that he has completed and he continued that run in Roubaix – his third place behind winner Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) was his 12th podium finish in succession in the monuments, during a spell that has included five of his total seven victories.

    Cancellara entered the race as the overwhelming favourite but found himself outnumbered by QuickStep in the decisive break, and was unable to peg back Terpstra's winning move in the finale. Second place in the group sprint behind John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) put a gloss on Cancellara's day, and in spite of his disappointment at missing out on the win, he assessment of the afternoon was a pragmatic one.

    "Honestly, I race for winning, not arriving for second or third, but on the end I'm realistic," Cancellara told reporters on the grass of the Roubaix velodrome afterwards. "When I put everything on the table and analyse afterwards this race, it was quite a strange race with a lot of headwind, crashes and not so much luck from our side on the team."

    The terrible beauty of Paris-Roubaix is that almost every man who sets out optimistically from Compiègne in the morning chill has a tale of woe to recount by the time the shadows lengthen over the velodrome some six hours later. The pre-race favourite at least has the consolation of a receptive audience.

    After safely negotiating the pitfalls of...

  • Degenkolb claims second in thrilling Paris-Roubaix finale

    John Degenkolb at the start of Paris-Roubaix
    Article published:
    April 13, 2014, 19:36 BST
    Sam Dansie

    German sprints to best ever Monument finish

    John Degenkolb came around Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) in the final sprint on the velodrome to secure second place in one of his "dream races", Paris-Roubaix.

    The 25-year-old Giant-Shimano rider won the nine-man group sprint 20 seconds behind solo winner Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). He led home a high class group of favourites including Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin), Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins (both Team Sky).

    "Today was a situation where QuickStep had a big advantage to have three guys in the front group," said Degenkolb to the press after the race. "I really don't regret anything I did in the race and right now I'm just satisfied and happy with my second place."

    "To be honest, when I saw the stone given to Terpstra, of course that was a little disappointing but I can be very, very satisfied with my result and I'm just happy," said the rider who finished 19th on his debut in Roubaix in 2011.

    "I love this monument, I love Milano-San Remo and I love Flanders. It has been a big dream of myself to win one of these big Classics and I was close today," said Degenkolb clearly drawing confidence from the result.

    Degenkolb, heaped praise on his teammate Bert de Backer, who joined a dangerous attack instigated by Tom Boonen with collusion from Geraint Thomas about 60km from the finish. De Backer's infiltration meant Degenkolb could save his own legs for the final sprint, in which he edged out Cancellara, who took third.

    "I'm also very thankful to my team, and I think we did a really good, really smart race by sending Bert De Backer in the breakaway and until the velodrome he was leading the group trying to bring Terpstra back. I could do a good...

  • Wiggins: I have the confidence I can do it now

    Britain's Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    April 13, 2014, 20:01 BST
    Barry Ryan

    Sky rider buoyed by Paris-Roubaix showing

    Bradley Wiggins waved away reporters as he sat on the grass in centre of the velodrome after his 9th place finish behind Niki Terpstra at Paris-Roubaix, for fear, it seemed, that he might say something he would later regret.

    By the time he had showered and changed aboard the Team Sky bus a little later, however, Wiggins had come around the idea that his outing on the pavé had been a successful one. Certainly, it had been enjoyable one: the cycling fan in Wiggins admitted that it had been the realisation of a childhood dream simply to be in contention for the win at Paris-Roubaix.

    "There's a tinge of disappointment because I really had the legs and even in the final I felt strong," he said. "But there was a part of where I was pinching myself a little bit, I don't mind admitting that. It was a real honour to be in the final there, going past Boonen on the Carrefour. It was something special to come into the velodrome in a group with Cancellara."

    Wiggins was the first past Tour de France winner to race Paris-Roubaix since Greg LeMond in 1992 and, coincidentally, finished in precisely the same position as the American. Rather than compare himself to Tour winners past, however, Wiggins was keen to measure himself against the current masters of the cobbles, with one eye to another tilt at the Hell of the North in 2015.

    "To be there was great and I have confidence I can do it now and I can match those guys if you like. To go top 10, I think in hindsight, is a good result," he said. "There's not many Tour winners who've gone top 10 in Paris-Roubaix. I can think of two in my head, so on a personal note it's a nice thing."

    Wiggins, of course, was no Paris-Roubaix neophyte, completing the race in 25 th place in 2009 and last competing here just...

  • Boonen calls Omega Pharma QuickStep lucky to get away with Paris-Roubaix win

    Belgium's Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) rides through a cobblestoned section
    Article published:
    April 13, 2014, 20:15 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    No fifth Roubaix victory for Boonen

    There was little reward for the impressive ride from Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) at Paris-Roubaix when he left the Roubaix vélodrome behind him on Sunday afternoon. Boonen blew the Queen of Classics apart at no less than 65km from the finish while knowing that there was an unfavourable headwind blowing in the north of France and there were 13 cobbles sectors left to cover.

    In the end, Boonen's attempt fell short and 20km before the finish, all the big guns were riding back together in front. In the following pavé sectors, Boonen struggled, but at 8km from the finish he bounced back, creating a lead group of 12 riders.

    Teammate Niki Terpstra attacked two kilometres later and managed to stay ahead until the finish line in the vélodrome, offering Boonen some consolation for missing out on a unique fifth Roubaix victory. Boonen didn't hide his disappointment when talking with the media after taking a shower in the team bus. When asked if he had the legs to win a fifth Paris-Roubaix, he was somewhat offended.

    "I don't think I have to say that. That was obvious," said Boonen, who was happy that at least his teammate Terpstra had taken the win. "Of course, if you're trying so hard yourself, it's only normal that at first you're a bit disappointed, then after that I'm happy, too. It was a day to forget quickly, but in the end we've won. I couldn't imagine that we would have lost the race. That would've been completely ridiculous," Boonen said.

    "We were very lucky because if someone would have joined him, we would have lost. Niki is very strong late in the race, but you need some luck, too. He already did a lot of work behind the group. I'm happy we won because otherwise there would've been a lot of...

  • Devolder missing link in Trek Factory Racing Paris-Roubaix squad

    Stijn Devolder (Trek) attempts to get back on his bike after a crash
    Article published:
    April 13, 2014, 20:40 BST
    Sam Dansie

    Demol praises young team’s commitment

    After the dust had settled on Trek Factory Racing’s Paris-Roubaix campaign, the team was left ruing the absence of one rider in particular: Stijn Devolder.

    Pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara, forced to settle for third, was isolated late in the race and was left exposed to attacks from other teams – especially Omega Pharma-QuickStep which packed three riders into the final selection. When Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) attacked with 6km to go it went unanswered and the Dutch rider powered away to win solo, 20 seconds ahead of the chasers.

    At the team bus after an action-packed 112th edition of the race, director sportif Dirk Demol called out one rider in particular: “We missed a really strong rider there and that would have been Devolder,” he said.

    The squad lost Devolder, Cancellara’s right hand man, two days before the race. The team decided not to field the Belgian national champion after injuries from a hard crash in the Tour of Flanders last weekend had made him unfit to start.

    The 34-year-old was replaced by Boy Van Poppel and Demol heaped praise on the younger squad which was also beset by crashes – the most notorious being Hayden Roulston’s shortly after the Forest of Arenberg when he misjudged a bunny hop, crashed hard and held up Fabian Cancellara and much of the peloton.

    “The team did a really good job today,” Demol said. “The problem was the first crash just after the forest I guess. We lost Roulston who was doing good in the forest. In the forest we had to give a bike to Grégory Rast who must have been going really well because from where he came back I don’t know how."

    Late in the race, Demol said he was surprised by some strong pulls from...

  • Thomas disappointed to miss podium at Paris-Roubaix

    Britain's Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
    Article published:
    April 13, 2014, 21:51 BST
    Sadhbh O'Shea

    Sky rider tired from helping team all day

    Geraint Thomas rounded off his Classics season with another top 10 finish at a monument and was Sky's best performer - yet again this sprint - at Paris-Roubaix, but the Welshamn was left thinking what could have been.

    "It's nice to get a top 10 again. I think that the way I rode it wasn't the easy way. I was on the front a lot of the time. It's satisfying at the end of the day, but at the same time we wanted to get a podium," Thomas told reporters as he gathered his energy at the centre of the Roubaix velodrome.

    Sky had numbers nearing the finale, but weren't able to convert that into the desired result. Thomas had been out front with a strong set of riders that included four-time winner Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). They were joined by a group of chasers on the Carrefour de l'Arbe and entered the velodrome in with two notorious fast men in John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale).

    Race favourites Fabian Cancellara (Trek Facitory), Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) and Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) were also in their company. "Against those sorts of guys, when I'm fresh it's hard enough, but when I'm on my knees it's nearly impossible. I hit them on the back straight and thought sod it, let's see what happens. I think that we can be content, but there is a lot more to come," said Thomas.

    "Where we messed up was not going with Terpstra and then as soon as that happened, we were on the back foot. Obviously QuickStep were just going to sit there and Fabian and Sagan didn't want to ride because they wanted to save themselves for the finish and that's where we lost the podium."

    Unlike he had at Flanders, Thomas didn't go into the race as the team's leader. That was Edvald Boasson Hagen, but the Norwegian didn't have the best of...

  • Stybar needs five more years to win Paris-Roubaix

    Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
    Article published:
    April 13, 2014, 23:45 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Czech star heads next to Amstel Gold

    After a sixth place last year in Paris-Roubaix, the fifth place in this year's race confirmed the capabilities of Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) on the cobbles. In the sprint for second place, he finished too far back to climb up onto the podium with his teammate and winner Niki Terpstra. The Czech rider had mixed emotions about his ride since he felt more was possible, not only in the Queen of Classics but also in the other Classics.

    "I'm happy I was able to confirm that I can ride the finale in the hardest races of the world, but of course every year you want a little bit more. Now I improved one place so I have five years to go," said Stybar, laughing. "I always had the legs for a better result. I was always there, but didn't get great results. Today I'm fifth but [making] the podium would've been better. It came down to a sprint and that's always a lottery."

    "I'm pleased that someone from our team won the race. It was a very hard race to control. It was the perfect moment [for Terpstra] to go. He came from behind and went immediately. You could see that there was nobody with the legs to close the gap."

    Having not only Tersptra and Stybar in the lead group but also Tom Boonen offered the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team a numerical advantage over the other riders in the breakaway. Though Terpstra won, it was obvious that Stybar also had the opportunity to launch an attack late in the race.

    "As you could see, you have to go on a good place at the right moment. Then everything is possible. We were there with three guys and then it's just [about picking] the moment to go. Niki was really strong because...