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The BMC Teammachine of the American GC hopeful
Hyper-aggressive position for the sprint lead-out
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National theme bike for Tour's lone Japanese rider
Hello and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of Paris-Roubaix.
Are you ready for a day of great racing? Today's we've got the Queen of the classics, L'Enfer du Nord, the Hell of the North.
The riders are now gathered in the Royale Square of Compiegne and are ready for the off.
It is expected to be a dry and dusty edition of the race, with temperature already in double figures.
The first edition of Paris-Roubaix was held way back in 1896 with Germany's Josef Fischer winning .
This year is the 109th edition of the race and the riders are about to leave the start and begin the 258km.
The warm conditions meant the riders were smiling as they signed and got ready for the final shown down on the cobbles.
And they're off! The riders have left the square in Compeigne, tasting the cobbles for the first time. There is now a neutralised secton before the racing begins on the outskirts of town.
Who is your favourite for today?
Most of the European press has described the race as Cancellara against the world. Spartacus is no doubt on form and up for a fight but can he slay all his rivals on the pave before the velodrome?
The depart reel has also been given and the race is on. Race director Christian Prudhomme has dropped the flag and 197 riders from 25 teams are on the road to Roubaix.
Three time Paris-Roubaix winner Francesco Moser was at the start to see the riders off. Today Tom Boonen could win his fourth cobbles stone trophy today and equal fellow Flandrian Roger De Vlaeminck. But to do it he has beat Cancellara.
The early kilometres have been fast s ofar but no really break has formed. However we do have the first retirement, with Vitaliy buts (Lampre-ISD) pulling out after jusat five kilometres.
The roads and pave are dry and dusty and so the biggest factor today could be the expected headwind. It is only a slight headwind so far but it expected to pick up and influence the racing later on the flat plains of Norhtern France. A strong headwind could make it more difficult for Cancellara to blast away from his rivals and could also spark a more tactical race. Could we see a sprint between several riders in the Roubaix velodrome?
Here's the first attack. Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD) and Germany's Andreas Schillnger (Team Netapp) tried to spark the early break but were quickly pulled back.
More attacks have been made but have also been caught. MikhaïlI Ignatyev(Katusha), Roy Curvers (Skil-Shimano) and American Ben King (RadioShack) jumped away after nine kilometres but were caught after just three kilometres of freedom.
We have a bigger group of some 15 rider trying to get away. But surely that will be too many to be given any freedom by the peloton.
The attack is struggling to get away because the racing is fast and furious. Two riders t oknow ar that are Simon Clarke (Astana) who had to change a wheel after a puncture, while Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) has changed his bike.
Cancellara is the bookies favourite to win. French newspaper L’Equipe have also tipped the 2010 winner and he is the only rider to be given 5 stars in their list of favourites Thor Hushovd and Tom Boonen have been given 4 stars; Alessandro Ballan has 3; Manuel Quinziato, Filippo Pozzato, Lars Boom and Juan Antonio Flecha have 2 stars; while outsiders Björn Leukemans, George Hincapie and Stijn Devolder have 1 star.
We've got more attacks now.
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) is on the move. He jumped away at Noyon with Italians Marco Bandiera (Quick Step) and Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil-DCM). They have 18 seconds on Aleksejs Saramotins (Cofidis) with the peloton at 25 seconds. Will the peloton let them go?
Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport als ogives Cancellara five stars, with Boonen getting four and Hushovd getting three along with Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky), Alessandro Ballan (BMC). Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) has two stars like Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), while Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and veteran George Hincapie (BMC) considered outsiders with one star.
Aleksejs Saramotins (Cofidis) has now been caught but will the peloton also chase down the front trio or let them go?
Do you know your cobbles from your pave? Here's a list of the 27 sections in this year's race:
The 27 sections count down from the first in Troisvilles until the last symbolic section close to the Roubaix velodrome. Here we also include their distance into the race and the length in brackets.
27 98 Troisvilles à Inchy (length - 2.2km)
26 104.5 Viesly à Quiévy (1.8km)
25 107 Quiévy à Saint-Python (3.7km)
24 115.5 Saint-Python (1.5km)
23 119.5 Vertain à Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon (2.3km)
22 126.5 Capelle-sur-Écaillon à Ruesnes ( 1.7km)
21 142.5 Aulnoy-lez-Valenciennes - Famars (2.6km)
20 146 Famars à Quérénaing ( 1.2km)
19 149 Quérénaing à Maing (2.5km)
18 152 Maing à Monchaux-sur-Écaillon (1.6km)
17 164 Haveluy à Wallers (2.5km)
16 172 Trouée d’Arenberg (2.4km)
15 178.5 Millonfosse à Bousignies (1.4km)
14 183.5 Brillon à Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes (1.1km)
14 186 Tilloy à Sars-et-Rosières (2.4km)
13 192.5 Beuvry-la-Forêt à Orchies (1.4km)
12 197.5 Orchies (1.7km)
11 203.5 Auchy-lez-Orchies à Bersée (2.6km)
10 209 Mons-en-Pévèle (3km)
9 215 Mérignies à Avelin (0.7km)
8 218.5 Pont-Thibaut à Ennevelin (1.4km)
7 224 Templeuve - L’Épinette (0.2km)
7 224.5 Templeuve – Moulin de Vertain (0.5km)
6 231 Cysoing à Bourghelles (1.3km)
6 233.5 Bourghelles à Wannehain (1.1km)
5 238 Camphin-en-Pévèle (1.8km)
4 241 Carrefour de l’Arbre (2.1km)
3 243 Gruson (1.1km)
2 250 Willems à Hem (1.4km)
1 256.5 Roubaix ( 0.3km)
The peloton has clsoed to just ten seconds but three other riders have jumped across to attack. The new riders are: Anthony Ravard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Bert De Backer (Skil-Shimano) and Luis Pasamontes (Movistar).
Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo) was forced to change a wheel after a puncture but is quickly back in the peloton, as the gap for the six opens to 20 seconds.
We're coming up to the first our racing and it seems the first break of the day could be about to form.
The gap is now up to 35 seconds.
Cyclingnews editor Daniel Benson and reporters Barry Ryan and Brecht Decaluwé were at the start in Compeigne and spoke to several riders.
UCI President Pat McQuaid was also at the start. We asked him about Alessandro Ballan being able to race despite an Italian judge accusing him of doping.
"We’ve no information on it at all so we’ve got to see what comes of it. I have no opinion on it and we’ve got to wait and see what happens. If and when we have solid information then we act on it but we won’t at the moment," McQuiad said.
Regarding the fake Twitter account that often ridicules McQuaid and the UCI, he said: "I looked at it once but it’s rubbish. That’s the world we live in now. If some fellow want to go and do that more the fool him. It’s definitely not me."
Race radio has announced that the riders covered the first hour of racing at an average speed of 46.3km/h. The second hour is going to be fast too because the six riders still have just 35 seconds.
McQuaid added about the Ballan case:
"We have to be given solid information in order to go on anything. If he wins today he wins today and he’s got every right to ride. We cant act on the basis of press conferences or statements. It has to be solid information and we’ve not had any communication from the Italian prosecutors in recent days about this."
"Pulling him from this race is a question for BMC not for me."
Roger Klüge (Skil-Shimano) is the first crash victim of this yea'rs race. The German track rider was quickly back up and back in the peloton.
Steve Cozza (Team Netapp) tried to go across to the break but the fiesty little American was pulled back by the peloton.
The riders have done more than 50km now. Just over 200km to go.
We spoke to Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) at the start in Compiegne. The Welshman won the Junior version of Paris-Roubaix and know he is on form and a contender this year. As a track rider he is up for a sprint finish on the Roubaix velodrome but knows that anything can happen in the last 100km.
"I’m just looking forward to it. Obviously I’ve got good form and I couldn’t have done much more in training. I’m just going to go out there and race hard," he told us.
"If there’s a group of five coming into the track together and I’m there I’d take that situation right now. If that happens then my track knowledge will help."
"There are a few new sections before the Arenberg that will be pretty tough but you’ve got to be on it from around 100km to go."
As the race arrives in Saint-Quentin, a lot of riders are feeding and taking on bottles to help their teammates stay hydrated. Thiscould help the breakaway carve out a bigger gap. It is still only 35 seconds.
The gap is falling.
The break has been caught. There will surely be more attacks now.
We're just 25km from the first section of pave. The temperature is rising now, in every sense of the word.
We caught up with Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Columbia) at the start, who will have Mark Cavendish helping him on the road to Roubaix.
Asked if he is ready, he said: "I have to be ready. Form is good and this bike (his Specialized) has won Roubaix for the last three years. This is my weather so I can’t complain. It’s a tough race but it’s the riders that will make it hard, not so much the conditions. It’s going to be an interesting race and an exciting one for fans to follow."
"We’ll try and stick together as much as possible and just race smart but the perfect situation for us would be to have a couple of guys in the break.. it could go straight away or we could see attacks for two hours. That we don’t know yet."
Former Danish rider and now television pundit Rolf Sorensen was at the start. He always had a go on the cobbles but will remember the roads of Northern France for the crash and broken collarbone that took him out of the Tour de France while wearing the yellow jersey.
"A lot of people think it’s going to be easier because it’s dry but actually it’s faster and that means the guys in top form can make a bigger difference. On the wet cobbles it’s hard but your heart rate is lower so the dry will make it harder for the weaker guys to stay," Sorensen said.
"The conditions are better for Cancellara than Boonen in my opinion. There are less risks so less chance of punctures and for Boonen, who is missing the final two or three percent of conditions, it would have been better to have rain. Cancellara is the favourite."
Kevin Ista (Cofidis) has made a lone attack but with just 20km to the first section of pave, the other teams are likely to chase him down.
The 27 sectors of cobbles are classified with stars by race organisers ASO. The longest and the toughest sectors get five stars, while the shorter ones get two or just one.
The first sector (number 27) comes after 98km in Troisvilles à Inchy. It is 2.2km long but only has three stars. The first ten sectors are like a hors d'oeuvres before the terrible Forest of Arenberg after 172km of racing.
The peloton is lined out with just 10km to go to the first sector of pave. The race organisers have told the teams that the second part of the cobbles is wet and slippy.
Martin Elmiger (Ag2R-La Mondiale) is trying to go clear, with Timon Seubert (Team Netapp) going after him.
The racing is fierce now, with other attacks.
Other riders have jonied the move: Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun), Mitchell Docker (Skil-Shimano), Nelson Oliveira (RadioShack), Simon Seubert (Team Netapp), David Boucher (Omega-Pharma Lotto), Marteen Tjallingi (Rabobank) and David Veilleux (Europcar).
Here come the cobbles....
The break and the peloton have both hit the cobbles.
The break now has 50 second after the Troisvilles sector of pave.
Thanks for starting things of Stephen. The leaders have 1.25 on the bunch now.
Viesly à Quiévy is the next sector of pave and they'll be looking to stretch out the gap once they hit it.
Martin Elmiger (AG2R-La Mondiale), Timon Seubert (Team Netapp), Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun), Mitchell Docker (Skil-Shimano), Nelson Oliveira (RadioShack), David Boucher (Omega-Pharma Lotto), Marteen Tjallingi (Rabobank) and David Veilleux (Europcar).
So a number of big teams have missed the split including Quick Step, BMC, Leopard and Garmin.
150km still to race.
Elmiger was the last rider to join up with the leaders.
The lead is now down to 1.05 as the peloton chase as the break exists Quiévy à Saint-Python, the third section of pave.
Send in your tweets on what we've seen so far and your predictions for today, the weather, the riders, the UCI and the velodrome. Ping me at twitter.com/dnlbenson
Innerring willbe joining us later today in the blimp too.
Can you believe that Marc Madiot won this race 20 years ago? for the second time of course.
The bunch is all strung out now as they take in a long section of road. Up ahead the break are working well together but they're not really stamping their authority on the race. The gap is just under a minute now at 55 seconds.
oooh Cancellara is at the back now and has a bike change.
He's used to changing his bike and it's all done and dusted in a matter of seconds. he's back to the bunch in no time at all.
Up ahead and the break are going through the feed, the bunch just behind them.
PiesG David Gardiner @dnlbenson Sky have options - strength in depth - hope Flecha gets a look-in. Ballan.....
Cav at the back of the bunch, doesn't seem in any difficulty, it might just be something with his bike.
While at the front of the peloton Greipel attacks.
Behind it sparks a flurry of attacks and he's quickly brought back.
And we'd like to welcome into the blimp Inner Ring. Let me just move those empty Doritos packets so you can sit down. Nice to see you again.
The leaders hit the Vertain à Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon section and they're straight into the middle of the road, now the left as they try and find the best line.
IR: Good afternoon to all the readers of CyclingNews. I hope you are sitting comfortably, because the riders certainly aren't.
The lead might say 55 seconds but it's not that much over 30 seconds to be honest. Saxo Bank are leading the chase and at the back Euskatel are in a bit of trouble,, a couple of their men already hanging on.
Daniel: What have you made of the race so far?
Inner Ring: It all looks very classic. A good sized bunch, a few mishaps and mechanicals, the team leaders have kept out of sight and a break with some lesser lights up the road. The difference today is the weather, it's pretty much a summer's day and very dusty.
Veilleux has done a huge turn on the front of the break though and lead through that section, the gap up to 1 minute now. 1.10 in fact.
A puncture in the break for David Boucher (Omega Pharma - Lotto)
Greipel has indeed managed to escape.
Martin Elmiger (AG2R-La Mondiale), Timon Seubert (Team Netapp), Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun), Mitchell Docker (Skil-Shimano), Nelson Oliveira (RadioShack), David Boucher (Omega-Pharma Lotto), Marteen Tjallingi (Rabobank) and David Veilleux (Europcar)
Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Koen de Kort (Skil-Shimano) and Gorazd Stangelj (Astana) at 1:10
Peloton at 1:20
Chavanel has a flat and gets a new wheel. He's back on and chasing alone.
Daniel: lets talk favourites. Who are you watching out for today?
Inner Ring: Cancellara of course. Put aside the quotes and headlines and he just very strong last week. Tom Boonen is another big candidate and I'm lookin for Thor Hushovd to shine in this race, it's his favourite race.
Can't argue with that. Flecha to me doesnt look as strong as in previous years but he can't be ruled out and these conditions could favour him. His teammate, Thomas for me, is a big threat to the major favourites. He can race on cobbles and on a track. And he can go the distance.
IR: Then, for me, there's a second tier of potential winners, from Hincapie to Flecha to Ballan, a man with something to prove. There are many. French hope Sylvain Chavanel says he's in the "form of his life" too.
Chavanel sticks out for me from that list. Like you say, he's got the form and he's also got the team. Question i guess is whether or not they let him have that much room.
IR: Inner Ring: There's a long way to go and the cobbles will have their say.
Crash in the bunch.
Riders scatter as they try and get around, Leukmans is held up.
If you want to win this race you've got to stay at the front and pay attention. easier said than done but it's critical.
IR: Yes and just Leukemans, an outsider for today, caught by a crash at the back. He hasn't fallen but he'll use up precious energy to get back up to the front
Quick Step at the front now and driving things along but most importantly, they're staying out of trouble. Griepel and his friends have been joined by a Liquigas rider.
The peleton split after that crash but it's slowly coming back together. Casper in a little move off the front now.
IR: David Boucher (Omega-Pharma Lotto)'s dropped off the lead group, he's had a puncture but looks to be waiting for his team mate Greipel
Another crash, A Saxo rider and Ag2r come down, Beppu too as up ahead Simon Clarke attacks.
I've been really impressed with Griepel this spring, Gent Wevelgem aside he's really ridden well and shone in races that you wouldnt expect him to. Proving he's more than just a sprinter.
IR: Yes, he was on the attack in De Panne. This is a race where there's always an advantage by being at the front of the race, it's no bad thing to get up the road.
Goss has punctured.
Clarke is caught and punctures too.
IR: Brad Wiggins takes a turn on the front of the bunch, trying to slip away. He was in the first break of the day I think
Goss coming back to the bunch now but that will waste a lot of energy. The leaders have just 20 seconds now.
Haussler having a go now. What have you made of his spring?
Leukmans is back with the team car, getting some TLC after that crash. Steegmans also back in the team cars.
Paolini is now on the attack with the Greipel group joining the leaders.
IR: It's not gone to plan, that's for sure. The form hasn't been there and he's had some bad luck in places too. It's not just him, many have had big expectations for the whole Garmin-Cervélo team but they've missed out on the spring classics so far, except for a podium from Tyler Farrar.
Another crash, this time a Lampre rider hitting the deck hard around a corner.
Two Skil riders and two from Lotto, they'll both be happy with this situation.
IR: Simon Clarke's bad luck continues, holding his arm like his collarbone is cracked. Many riders crashing on the tarmac, a sign that the pace is high, they are cornering at full speed just to keep up front
Martin Elmiger (AG2R-La Mondiale), Timon Seubert (Team NetApp), Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun), Mitchell Docker (Skil-Shimano), Nelson Oliveira (RadioShack), David Boucher (Omega-Pharma Lotto), Marteen Tjallingi (Rabobank), David Veilleux (Europcar), Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Koen de Kort (Skil-Shimano) and Gorazd Stangelj (Astana)
Peloton at 1:15
Liquigas's Davide Cimolai and the likeable Ted King abandon
So how's the blog going? I read the latest on http://inrng.com/ on the french teams. more great stuff.
IR: thanks, it's good with more and more readers, especially in the US but several pro riders too seem to drop by, a few have even take part and left comments on stories.
Here's sector 20 of the cobbles, they're coming thick and fast now.
The lead of the 10 breakways is growing and is close to two minutes.
The breakaway riders come out of the pave with some taking bottles from their team soigneurs who are standing on the side of the road. Having drinks will be as important as having spare wheels available.
The racing has been fast and furious so far but the rider have yet to hit the Forest of Arenberg when the first real selection is expected to be made. With new sections of pave before the Forest, positioning will be more vital than ever.
The break is on sector 19 in Quérénaing à Maing. It is 2.5km long and has been given three stars. Behind the bunch seems to have eased as riders take on food and drinks.
There are huge crowds on each sector of the pave. People have been enjoying picnics in the sun before watching the riders go by.
The gap is now over two minutes.
The riders in the peloton are dividided into two lines on the pave: one on the cornw of th cobbles and another on the edge of the road, trying to avoid the bumps and pain of the pave.
The peloton is now on sector 18 in Maing à Monchaux-sur-Écaillon. It is 1.6km long.
The race has settled slightly now but the speed is still high. Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) has been dropped from the break because of a chain problem but he is getting back on.
The peloton snakes though several corners on normal roads, with Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Cervelo) slightly off the front to inspire the chase.
Martin Reimer (Skil-Shimano) is now off the front as the peloton spreads across the road for a rare moment.
Robbie McEwen (RadioShack) has dropped back to his team car, it seems to talk about a problem with his bike. But he quickly moves back to the peloton as Reimer is pulled back.
The ten breakaway riders are working smoothly together and the gap is still rising. It looks like these riders will make it to the Forest of Arenberg before the peloton.
Crashes can occur at any time, as a Europecar rider just found out. He's back chasing but will have to go deep to get back onto the peloton.
Up fron tthe break hits the 17th secotr of pave at Haveluy à Wallers. It is 2.5km long and has four stars. In eight kilometres it is time for the Forest of Arenberg. Hold on to your seats, the race is about to explode.
This sector is a real farmers track across the wide open fields.
The riders in the break can carefully pick their line but the speed is high behind as riders fight for position.
The peloton comes off the cobbles and many collect bidons from their soigneurs. Hydration will be vital today.
George Hincapie (BMC) has punctured.
The veteran Americna got a quick wheel change and is chasing but there is a crash.
There is a Garmin-Cervelo rider down.
Riders seemed to hit a road dividing raised section.
The crash occured on the road, between two sections of pave.
We are close to the Arenberg Forest now.
The break is on the slightly downhill approach. The riders hit it straight on, crossing a railway line, at 55km/h.
The break is bouncing over the grassy cobbles of the Forest with Elminger leading the way. Here comes the peloton too.
The bunch its the cobbles lined out at speed. Rabobank is leading the peloton.
Behind we've heard that Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) punctured just before the Forest and was given a wheel by teammate Bradely Wiggins.
Lars Boom (Rabobank) has ridden off the front of the bunch, using his cross skills to handle the pave.
The peloton is splitting behind Boom and Bonoen has a mechanical. He's stopped and is waiting for support. His race must surely be over.
Team Sky leads the peloton out of the Forest, trying to slow everyone so that Thomas can get back up. Boonen now has a new bike but faces a long, hard chase.
There are 30 or so riders in the front peloton but four or five have just crashed. It's carnage out there.
Boonen has two teammates to help in the chase but the other team cars are screaming past him.
The Quick Step team car jumps on the pavement to get up to the riders.
The break is now on the new inserted Millonfosse à Bousignies secotr of pave. Boonen is desperately chasing to get back ot the front. He had two teammates but is trying to go on his own.
Boom and a small group of riders went off the front in nthe Forest. Also there is Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank-SunGard) and Matt Hayman (Team Sky).
Boonen is hammering past riders like a steam train. But it's not Quick Step's day. Chavanel has a front wheel puncture and so will also have to chase.
Also in the move with Boom are Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo), Matthew Hayman (Team Sky), Lars Bak (HTC-Highroad), Jürgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Manuel Quinziato (BMC), Lars Boom (Rabobank) and Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank).
Can Boonen get back on after losing so much time?
He's apparently only 35 seconds from the peloton but the race could kick off at any moment.
The break is on sector 14 now. It's a double whammy sector in Brillon à Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes (1.1km) and Tilloy à Sars-et-Rosières (2.4km).
The riders in the break are riding a clever race, waiting for the front chasers to come across to them.
Leopard Trek and Garmin-Cervelo riders are on the front of the peloton. They both look on control.
Another big crash. Boonen is down again. He was taken down by a Rabobank rider.
Geraint Thomas (Sky) also crashed hard but seems to have got up and away.
Boonen and Michael Barry (Sky) were both forced to wait for mechnical assitance.
Boonen's chase group was closing on the peloton but that will surely end his chances.
Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo) is also off the back of the peloton. The tough Aussie seems to have ran out of gas.
Boonen seems to have hurt his knee in the crash.
It's been a chaotic race so far but there is still a long way to go.
Up front the two groups are about to join forces as they enter sector 11 of pave.
The front group is now lined out on the pave but the peloton is about to catch them.
As the pave ends, its time for more drinks and a look around to see who is still in the race and who isn't.
Chute! Chavanel crashes again. This time he slides out on the dusty roads. He look stunned and has lost contact with his chase group.
There are now 30 riders in the front group but behind the big names are not pushing things. The gap is now 40 seconds.
More cobbles now, with Garmin on the front for Hushovd in the peloton.
John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad), Tom Leezer (Rabobank) and Gregory Rast (RadioShack) are now trying to go across to the front group.
Yet another crash. Yet again on the road and not on the cobbles. Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) has gone down with four other riders.
Pozzato was struggling to get up and get going again.
It's almost a moment of stalemate as the break rides steady and the peloton chases steady behind. Farrar is there for Hushovd at the front of the pelotn as the leaders hit sector 11 Auchy-lez-Orchies à Bersée (2.6km).
The peloton hits the pave now.
Cancellara (Leopard Trek) is in the main peloton but he appears out numbered by the Garmin and Sky riders.
Ian Stannard (Team Sky) is now on the front of the peloton. If Thomas is out after his crash, he could have a chance.
We're hearing that Tom Boonen has retired after his two crashes.
The gap is steady at 1:20 now.
Another crash! Again on the road. It's Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) with others. The riders seem to be slipping out on the dust.
Chavanel is still chasing but his jersey is ripped to shreds. He's about to catch back on.
up front the race has exploded. Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) is on the attack, with Eisel in his slipstream. The other riders are reacting but there are lots of splits.
Cancellara now goes on the front to show who is boss. He's going to force a split.
Cancellara takes flight!
Flecha and Hushovd manage to get on his wheel, with Ballan chasing too.
Cancellara is digging deep and dishing out the pain. Flecha and Hushovd are suffering a few lengths behind.
Ballan gets on. Now these four will have to work together to get acorss to the break. hushovd has Van Summeren and Rasch in the break to help him but Cancellara is alone up front.
Flecha is suffering but Ballan is dragging him back up. Rasch is already working for Hushovd as other riders join on after falling out of the break
The riders hit secor 9 now. Will Cancellara go again?
This is a short sector: Mérignies à Avelin (0.7km) but will still hurt.
Slovenian national champion Gorazd Stangelj (Astana) is again on the front of the break. It is up to the Cancellara group to close the gap but it's not coming down quickly at the moment.
More cobbles for the breakway now, with sector 8: Pont-Thibaut à Ennevelin (1.4km)
Cancellara surges again. He's spittin riders out of the back, with only Hushovd able to go with him.
Ballan is trying to get across the gap but that's a big ask for the BMC rider.
Cancellara is trying get ride of the other Garmin riders to give him a better chance in the finale.
Cancellara, Hushovd and Ballan are closing in on the front break.
Upfront Guesdon is trying to up the pace but Quinziato (BMC) and Van Summeren (Garmin) are trying to slow things down.
Sector 7: Templeuve - L’Épinette (0.2km) and Templeuve – Moulin de Vertain (0.5km). The gap is now just 25 seconds and so Cancellara will get up to the front break just in time for the key sectors of pave of Cysoing and Camphin-en-Pevele.
Hushovd and Ballan are sat tight on Cancellara's wheel as he drags them up to the break.
Up front the Eisel, Greipel and others are all waiting for the Cancellara group. But will they be able to go with him when the race explodes?
Cancellara has sat up! He's calling Hushovd's bluff?
The trio have slowed remarkably and so the gap has opened to 40 seconds. Cancellara is now arguing with the Garmin team car, telling htem he is not going to work anymore. This only helps the riders up the road.
Paris-Roubaix has turned into a game of poker with bluff and counter bluff. But it seems that Garmin and BMC hasthe strongest hand.
HTC is now trying to widen the gap, perhaps knowing that Eisel has a great chance.
The break hits sector 6: Cysoing à Bourghelles (1.3km). This a tough one, with Bourghelles à Wannehain (1.1km) just after. Surely Cancellara will make another attack behind on this section. If not his race could be over.
The dust is blowing up from the team cars and riders as the gap to Cancellara group is now 1:10 behind.
Guesdon punctures up front. Bad timing for the 1997 winner.
The gap is 1:10 now but behind the Garmin riders are now leading the chase. However up front HTC is riding hard. They have Bak and John Degenkolb.
This could be an outsider race. Garmin doesn't have the fire power to close the gap and so anyone of the front riders have a chance.
Bak accelerates and splits the front group.
Bak is still forcing things, with Gabriel Rasch (Garmin-Cervelo) and Gregory Rast (RadioShack) the only ones able to go with him. They have a 50 metre gap.
The break hits sector 5: the Camphin-en-Pévèle (1.8km). This will hurt.
Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank) has now joined the trio up front. Will these four fight for victory.
Now the riders hit the Carrefour de l’Arbre (2.1km) sector.
It's a tailwind on this sector and Van Summeren has gone for it.
The lanky Belgian is blasting over the pave, knowing he has a chance of the biggest win of his career.
Cancellara goes again behind. He's angry but he's a long way off the front of the race.
Van Summeren comes of the pave and floats around the corner. Can he hold off Rasch and Bak?
Van Summeren hangs over his handlebars as he tries to go flat out.
Behind the big names are refusing to work together. Flecha and Boom exchange words, knowing they have let the race slip away from them.
Cancellara is riding on the front of the chasers but the gap is still around 50 seconds on Van Summeren.
Bak and Rasch are eating into Van Summeren's lead. The gap is just 10 seconds.
Van Summeren opens his rear brake but it is perhaps his legs that are touching and hurting.
Van Summeren is now the second to last sector of pave. His elbow are out wide as he tucks over the bike and bounces over the pave.
Van Summeren is suffering and Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank) is closing the gap.
Van Summeren took a quick look over his shoulder and then stompted on the pedals again. He's on the outskirts of Roubaix now.
Van Summeren only has to ride over the last shirt strip of cobbles and then he will enter the velodrome alone.
Van Summeren has often sacrificed his own chances to help his teammates. Today he is getting a huge payback. Garmin-Cervelo will be celebrating tonight.
He has a gap of 35 seconds on Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank) and could be swept up.
The chase has come alive behind, with Cancellara jumping away. But they're riding for the places.
Cancellara has a gap but what placing will it give him?
Cancellara has got across to the the trio chasing Van Summeren. He goes straight past them and only Van Summeren is up the road now.
Van Summeren takes one last drink. He is close to the velodrome but Cancellara is chasing him.
Van Summeren enters the velodrome. Surely he's won it now.
Van Summeren gets a huge cheer as he covers the last lap alone.
Here he comes. Van Summeren begind to celebrate victory at Paris-Roubaix.
He crosses the line with his arms in the air, with Cancellara winning the sprint for second place, just 22 seconds behind.
Van Summeren gets a hug from his partner as brief results show that Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) finished third.
Van Summeren is now walking to the podium where he will crowned winner and get to raise the winner's cobblestone.
Fabian Cancellara gets cleaned up but he will not be happy with second despite giving VanSummeren a hug. He was just 25 seconds from the lead group at one point but decided to sit and call Hushovd's bluff. But Garmin-Cervelo had an ace up there sleeve in Van Summeren.
Van Summeren is one of the biggest riders in the peloton but is the big winner today.
What a race! Yet again we've had another crazy spring classic with crashes, punctures and tense race tactics. Cancellara may have been the strongest rider in the race but yet again he lost out. Todaty he was let down by his team and was isolated up front, while Garmin-Cervel ohad plenty of cardsto play and won it with a brave late attack by Van Summeren.
That's it from the Cyclingnews live coverage from Paris-Roubaix. We'll have a full report, a huge photo gallery, video interviews and other news stories very soon.
Live will be back next weekend for the Amstel Gold Race. It's almost time to swap the cobbles for the climbs in the Ardennes.