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Overshadowed by the big guns battling it out on the cobbles in Paris-Roubaix, the juniors had their...
Overshadowed by the big guns battling it out on the cobbles in Paris-Roubaix, the juniors had their event as well. It was British rider Andrew Fenn, who won the 121-kilometre long ride – a decent distance for the juniors. Fenn won the exciting race by catching the Slovakian rider Peter Sagan just under the flamme rouge, indicating the last kilometre.
The event is in its sixth year. The last 86 kilometres were identical to the course ridden by the pros. There were sixteen sectors of pavé, totaling 27.7 kilometres. It also served as the first event of the newly created Coupe des Nations, an overall ranking of several UCI races. Some of the riders do go on to the pro ranks, such as Barloworld's Geraint Thomas, who won in 2004; Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) ended up in fourth in the first edition of the race, in 2003. Riders who have also done well in the event include Simon Spilak (Lampre) and Clément L'Hottelerie (Skil-Shimano).
The first move came just eight kilometres into the race, with the Swiss Samuel Horstmann, Spaniard Herrada, Belgian Jonathan Breyne, Swede Ahlstrand and Austrian Mair. But right at the beginning of the first sector of pavé, in Wandignies Hamage (for the pros, this was sector 16) at kilometre 40, it all came back together. It was there that Sagan made his bold move, breaking away solo some 80 kilometres from the line.
German rider Michael Hümbert went after Sagan and eventually caught him at kilometre 73. After 80 kilometres, when the riders were approaching the sector of Mérignies, the gap was down to less than one minute. That's when Sagan tried several attacks to shed the German, which initially did not work, as Hümbert fought back every time. But eventually, Sagan went clear by himself again.
It was at the famed Carrefour de l'Arbre (intersection by the tree) that Sagan started to show signs of weakness. The famous cobble section was less than 20 kilometres from the finish. Fenn, Frenchman Etienne Fedrigo and Danish rider Emil Houmand gobbled up the tired Hümbert. Fenn attacked the group and went solo after the lone leader. He caught him under the flamme rouge to enter the velodrome by himself. Sagan had entered every cobble section ahead of the field, even that last 300-metre stretch a little more than one kilometre from the line.
The Slovakian would end up in second, 12 seconds back. For his active racing he received the "Trophée des pavés" prize. Fedrigo and Houmand finished second and third, respectively, 46 seconds behind the winner. A further ten seconds separated Hümbert from the French-Danish duo, scoring fifth place.
Out of the approximately 100 starters 45 riders finished the event. The teams classification was won by Great Britain, ahead of France.