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Van Summeren solos to gutsy victory at Paris-Roubaix

By:
Brecht Decaluwé

Cancellera nets second with late-race attack

Johan Van Summeren soloed over the finish line in the Roubaix Velodrome, surviving from an early break which foiled the favourites in the Hell of the North. The Garmin-Cervelo rider took the biggest win of his career, ahead of Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank).

Crashes reduced the favourites to Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek), Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC) by the end. The group had been unable to work together and make a definitive move. Cancellara finally was able to break from them and work his way up, but it was too late, and he had to settle for second.

With tears in his eyes, Van Summeren said, "When I was in the lead group, I knew I had a chance to win. To win ahead of Cancellara - he is such a great rider. I had wonderful legs, it was a great day."

Fast run-up to the cobbles

With an average speed of 45km/h in the first two hours, there was little room for breaks to form. There were attempts, including riders like Bradley Wiggins (Sky) but none got away. There were several crashes including Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo), but the Australian was able to continue in contrast to another outsider, Vladimir Gusev (Katusha). The Russian abandoned early in the race.

Ten brave men gap the peloton

Just before the first pavé sector, after almost 100km of racing, a group of eight received some space from the peloton. The group featured David Boucher (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Martin Elmiger (AG2R), Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun), Maarten Tjalingii (Rabobank), Mitchell Docker (Skil-Shimano), Nelson Oliveira (Radioshack), David Veilleux (Europcar) and Timon Seubert (Netapp).

The eight attackers gathered a lead of one and a half minutes. In the peloton there were some counterattacks at the first pavé sectors. While a move from André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) with Koen de Kort (Skil-Shimano) and Gorazd Stangelj (Astana) bridged up with the leaders after 136km, Oliveira dropped back into a chasing group with Luca Paolini (Katusha), Sébastien Turgot (Europcar) and Jaroslaw Marycz (Saxo Bank-SunGard). They were eventually caught by the peloton while speeding towards the famous Arenberg forest. The gap from the 10 remaining leaders on the peloton was 2:40 with 100km to go.

Storming towards the Arenberg forest

In the 10 kilometres before the key pavé sector of Arenberg, the speed in the peloton increased. The result was that the gap between the leaders and the peloton dropped, but also that several crashes occurred in the peloton; Haussler and Roger Hammond were the main casualties. BMC's team leader George Hincapie had bad luck as he punctured shortly before the forest. Elmiger and Tjallingii led the breakaway group over the terrible cobbles of the Trouée d' Arenberg, having just under two minutes left on the peloton.

Arenberg cobbles and Quick Step setbacks

Riders were all over the place in the famous passage through the forest. Geraint Thomas (Sky) received a wheel from teammate Wiggins when he flatted. Suddenly the TV camera focused on favourite Tom Boonen, who was standing next to his bike in the middle of the forest. The Belgian's hopes of equalling Roger De Vlaeminck's record of four wins were ruined by a chain problem. It took ages before Boonen eventually received a new bike and by the time he left the forest, the gap on the main peloton was one minute. When seven men set up an attack in the peloton, others went down, including co-favourite Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM). Quick Step's bad luck continued when their other leader Sylvain Chavanel punctured out of the main peloton.

In front there were still 10 riders left with one minute on a first chase group of seven riders: Lars Boom (Rabobank), Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo), Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank-Sungard), Lars Bak (HTC-Highroad), Matthew Hayman (Sky), Manuel Quinziato (BMC) and Fréderic Guesdon (FDJ).

Game over for Quick Step

Quick Step's run of bad luck wasn't over when a Rabobank rider went down on the cobbles of sector number 14 at Sars-et-Rosières, taking down Boonen and many others within him. Once again, Boonen needed a lot of time before he got back on his bike and this time his chances on winning this race were down to zero. Meanwhile Chavanel was able to work his way back to the main peloton at the feed zone after 190km. Just before the first chase group bridged up with the 10 leaders, Van Summeren and Roelandts suddenly went down, but both Belgians were able to continue and get back in the front of the race.

In the meantime, Quick Step concluded its unlucky day in the north of France with a crash from Chavanel, leaving them without riders in front of the race. In the chaos after the Arenberg forest a counterattack with John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad), Grégory Rast (Radioshack), Tom Leezer (Rabobank) and Gabriel Rasch (Garmin-Cervélo) was closing the gap to the 17 leaders.

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Cancellara unleashes his devils on Mons-en-Pévèle

At 60km from the finish line, a cease-fire in the peloton shed some light on the race situation. There were 21 leaders in front. They built up a gap of one and a half minutes on the peloton that still included former winners Cancellara, O'Grady and Ballan. Two crashes in the peloton marred the fun for Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), and later also Leukemans once again.

Just before the cobbles of the renowned tenth sector, the five-starred cobbles of Mons-en-Pévèle Tomas Vaitkus (Astana) and Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Cervélo) anticipated the debates in the peloton. A smart move because on the cobbles there was a huge effort from Cancellara with only Hushovd, Flecha and Ballan able to follow.

Meanwhile several riders dropped out of the lead group. Greipel and De Kort were among them. Vaitkus and Vanmarcke were quickly caught back and the latter delivered some top work to bring the group of seven closer to the leaders, who were riding one minute ahead of them, with 40 kilometres left to race.

At sector number 8, Pont-Thibaut à Ennevelin, the top favourite accelerated again and this time only Hushovd was able to hold the wheel from Cancellara although after the cobbles, Ballan closed the gap on the duo. Sixteen riders were leading the race with Cancellara, Hushovd and Ballan trailing by only half a minute.

The attacks in the lead group were flying around, without severe damage although two riders got dropped. Behind them, there was no cooperation in the elite chase. Cancellara didn't receive support from Hushovd or Ballan, and the Swiss was clearly not interested in a Flanders-scenario.

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As a results, several riders managed to return to the trio including Leukemans, while the leaders gained a gap of almost a minute when taking on sector number 6 in Cysoing.

A little later former Paris-Roubaix winner Guesdon flatted and dropped out of the lead group. Just before the infamous sector number 5 at Camphin-en-Pévèle ,it was Danish strong man Bak who accelerated. Rast, Tjallingii and Van Summeren had something left in their tank and they joined the Dane in front of the race.

With 15km to go, the gap had grown to a minute, and Cancellara decided to keep on fighting. He took off, but the others were not about to let him go alone. The time trial world champion flew along, dragging Hushovd with him, overtaking any of the former lead group. His efforts were in vain, though, as he was unable to make any kind of clear break.

At the same time,Van Summeren took off from the lead group, pulling away in a strong solo effort. Tjallingii gave chase, but the Belgian was too strong and coudln't be caught.

Eventually Cancellara was able to break away and catch Tjallingii and Bak, but was not able to come further ahead.

Van Summeren glanced back at the flamme rouge, and saw no one behind him. He entered the Velodrome and rode the closing lap in the blazing sunshine, raising his arms in victory as he crossed the line.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo 6:07:28  
2 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek 0:00:19  
3 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
4 Grégory Rast (Swi) Team RadioShack    
5 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-Highroad 0:00:21  
6 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:36  
7 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Highroad 0:00:47  
8 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
9 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling    
10 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling    
11 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJ    
12 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
13 Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
14 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
15 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - Shimano    
16 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar    
17 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale    
18 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana    
19 John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad 0:02:10  
20 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
21 André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:03:43  
22 Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard    
23 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
24 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
25 David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar 0:03:45  
26 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:04:06  
27 Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - Shimano 0:04:46  
28 Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
29 Kevin Ista (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
30 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
31 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard    
32 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team    
33 Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ    
34 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar    
35 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale    
36 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling    
37 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
38 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team    
39 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar    
40 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
41 Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Team RadioShack    
42 George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team    
43 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank Sungard    
44 Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Pro Team Astana    
45 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team    
46 Thomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:04:54  
47 Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana 0:06:42  
48 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team RadioShack 0:09:16  
49 Andreas Klier (Ger) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
50 Alex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-Highroad 0:10:06  
51 Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano 0:10:10  
52 David Boucher (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
53 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
54 Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
55 Maarten Neyens (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
56 Jean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
57 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
58 Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard    
59 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar    
60 Rony Martias (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:10:14  
61 Saïd Haddou (Fra) Team Europcar    
62 Mathieu Claude (Fra) Team Europcar    
63 Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard    
64 Timon Seubert (Ger) Team Netapp 0:10:16  
65 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
66 Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano    
67 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
68 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ    
69 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:12:58  
70 Robert Retschke (Ger) Team Netapp    
71 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioShack    
72 Bjorn Selander (USA) Team RadioShack    
73 Jan Barta (Cze) Team Netapp    
74 Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
75 Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ    
76 Benjamin King (USA) Team RadioShack    
77 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
78 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale    
79 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
80 Gael Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller 0:13:02  
81 Romain Lemarchand (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
82 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Pro Team Astana    
83 Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil - Shimano    
84 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
85 Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar    
86 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:13:04  
87 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:13:06  
88 Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
89 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:13:15  
90 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:13:50  
91 Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
92 Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
93 Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:13:53  
94 Martin Mortensen (Den) Leopard Trek    
95 Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ    
96 Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:13:59  
97 Marco Bandiera (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:14:02  
98 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISD 0:17:42  
99 Dmytro Krivtsov (Ukr) Lampre - ISD    
100 Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
101 Mathieu Halleguen (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
102 Michael Barry (Can) Sky Procycling    
103 Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
104 Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
105 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
106 Adam Hansen (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
107 Michaël Baer (Swi) Team Netapp    
108 Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Netapp    
DNF Dominic Klemme (Ger) Leopard Trek    
DNF Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Leopard Trek    
HD Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek    
DNF Joost Posthuma (Ned) Leopard Trek    
DNF Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Leopard Trek    
DNF Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Leopard Trek    
DNF Roger Hammond (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
DNF Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
DNF Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Sky Procycling    
DNF Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Sky Procycling    
HD Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling    
DNF Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad    
HD Matt Brammeier (Irl) HTC-Highroad    
DNF Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad    
HD Gatis Smukulis (Lat) HTC-Highroad    
DNF Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Andreas Stauff (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
DNF Jens Debusschere (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
DNF Alexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team    
DNF John Murphy (USA) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha Team    
DNF Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team    
DNF Leif Hoste (Bel) Katusha Team    
DNF Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha Team    
DNF Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha Team    
DNF Aliaksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Katusha Team    
DNF Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team    
DNF Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Katusha Team    
DNF Steve Houanard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
DNF Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
DNF Romain Matheou (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
DNF Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
DNF Theo Bos (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
DNF Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
DNF Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank Cycling Team    
DNF Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) FDJ    
DNF Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ    
DNF Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ    
HD Marcel Kittel (Ger) Skil - Shimano    
DNF Roger Kluge (Ger) Skil - Shimano    
HD Martin Reimer (Ger) Skil - Shimano    
DNF Davide Cimolai (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
DNF Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
DNF Edward King (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale    
DNF Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
HD Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
DNF Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Lampre - ISD    
HD Vitaliy Kondrut (Ukr) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
DNF Balint Szeghalmi (Hun) Lampre - ISD    
HD Luke Roberts (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard    
DNF David Tanner (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard    
DNF Nelson Oliveira (Por) Team RadioShack    
DNF Jesse Sergent (NZl) Team RadioShack    
DNF Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team    
DNF José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Movistar Team    
DNF Carlos Oyarzun (Chi) Movistar Team    
DNF Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Francisco Perez Sanchez (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team    
DNF Allan Davis (Aus) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Simon Clarke (Aus) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Pro Team Astana    
DNF Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Pierre Cazaux (Fra) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
HD Miguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Daniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
DNF Eric Baumann (Ger) Team Netapp    
DNF Steven Cozza (USA) Team Netapp    
DNF Alexander Gottfried (Ger) Team Netapp    
DNF Johan Le Bon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
DNF Renaud Dion (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
DNF Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
DNF Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller