Terpstra wins Paris-Roubaix with late solo attack

Degenkolb wins sprint for second, Cancellara third

Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) won his first ever Paris-Roubaix after a late solo attack took him clear of a group that included all the race favourites.

The Dutchman took advantage as the other riders controlled each other after a nervous, tiring race in dry conditions and carved out a winning margin that allowed him cross the line alone and let a roar of celebration. John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won the sprint finish for second place, some 20 seconds behind Terpstra. Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) was third.

Terpstra attacked after the final sector of pave with six kilometres to go. Other riders hesitated in the headwind and so Terpstra got a gap and never looked back.

"For me it’s the most beautiful classic of the year. It's a dream to win this. It was the big goal I was aiming for and I did it." Terpstra said after lifting the winner's cobble stone prize.

We had Tom in the front group but the directeur sportif said it was good to do some attacks. I went after the cobbled section and it was the good one."

Fabian Cancellara was proud of his podium place. "I'm tried and I'm disappointed. I race to win but it didn’t go how I'd hoped," he said.

"This is the 12th time on the podium in a monument. I'm judge on if I win but third isn’t bad either. I spent a lot to get back on after my problems. We all spend I suppose and I just did what I could. I thought the four-rider attack was good but it didn’t work and Niki got away."

How it happened

Around ten o'clock on Sunday morning 199 riders gathered in the Place Général de Gaulle in Compiègne for the start of the 112th edition of Paris-Roubaix.

It was a very chilly morning in Compiègne but few riders were wearing additional gear as they knew they would get warm real soon. At 10:15 the bunch got underway with Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing), Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and his strong teammates as top favourites on a course that would face mainly a headwind on their way to Roubaix.

After strolling through the streets of Compiègne the peloton passed the official start point at 20:25 in the outskirts of town. After three kilometres of racing a group of eight riders managed to get away and soon after the peloton sat up happy to let the race settle into a usual scenario.

The eight leaders were John Murphy (United Healthcare), Kenny de Haes (Lotto Belisol), Andreas Schillinger (NetApp-Endura), Clément Koretzky and Benoit Jarrier (Bretagne-Seche Environement), David Boucher (FDJ.fr), Tim De Troyer (Wanty-Groupe Robert) and Michael Kolar (Tinkoff-Saxo). The eight attackers worked well together and in one hour of racing they opened a lead of nine minutes over the peloton with Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Belkin, Trek Factory Racing and Katusha setting the pace at the front of the peloton.

When approaching the first pavé sectors after 97.5km of racing the gap began to drop. The first zone started in Troisvilles. It is sector number 28, meaning there were 27 more sectors to cover during the 157km race.

After three dusty sectors Tom Boonen was spotted at the back with what must have been his first flat tyre in all his Paris-Roubaix participations. Soon after Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) flatted too. Both riders easily returned in the peloton but it was a sign of a tense, tactical race.

A little later Démare was among some riders who went down in what must have been the first crash of the day during sector 24 of cobbles. All the riders were able to continue their race and by the time the peloton got through sector 20 at 115km from the finish, the gap was down to nearly six minutes.

Near Denain, it became clear the peloton was getting nervous. The speed increased and so did the crashes and mechanicals. First Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) flatted. When he returned to the peloton a serious crash had just occurred under a bridge where steel poles separated the road from the sidewalk. Among the victims was outsider Alexander Kristoff (Katusha). Peter Sagan (Cannondale) flatted too. He faced a hard time to get back to the front of the peloton before the Forest of Arenberg with its famous Trouée d'Arenberg which was just ten kilometres away.

Team Sky lead the peloton on the final section of road before the Trouée, as speeds touched 60km/h on the slightly down approach to the long section of cobbles through the trees. In the front group Boucher flatted just before entering the forest and once in the forest Koretzky and De Haes flatted too while Kolar got dropped. Only Schillinger, Murphy, De Troyer and Jarrier remained in break of the day.

The peloton entered the Forest of Arenberg 4:20 after the leaders, led by Björn Leukemans (Wanty-Groupe Robert). In contrast to other years there were few incidents, although Kristoff flatted halfway the long stretch as did Gregory Rast (Trek Factory Racing) who threw his bike away in anger.

The peloton didn't make up a lot of time on the four remaining leaders in the Forest and the big favourites remained composed and in control. However Kristoff was riding behind a second peloton and a little later the Norwegian flatted again putting him out of contention. Boucher nearly caught back up with the four leaders but then was forced to stop at a railway crossing. Trains and level crossing are also part of what makes Paris-Roubaix so special.

The Roulston crash changes the race

The real action started early in the peloton when Hayden Roulston (Trek Factory Racing) hopped off the sidewalk just before sector 16. He crashed heavily and took down a lot of riders with him. His team leader Fabian Cancellara was also blocked by the crash and was caught in the second half of the peloton. It was the first real turning point in the race.

The Omega Pharma-QuickStep led the peloton over sector 16 of pave in Hornaing à Wandignies. It is 3.7km long sector and rated at four stars, and forced Cancellara to chase. Sagan was spotted in trouble at the back of the peloton and the bunch split in several parts as the cobbles and strong winds took their toll.

A group led by a strong Thor Hushovd (BMC) powered away but their effort was quickly neutralized by Omega Pharma-QuickStep once off the cobbles. On sector 15 Hushovd attacked a second time as the race refused to settle into a logical pattern.

In front there were only three riders left as Murphy was caught back by the peloton at the feed zone. They had about a minute on the peloton but a whole new race was about to begin.

After leaving sector 14 in Tilloy à Sars-et-Rosières, attacks kept flying with Sagan still riding at the back of the peloton and Cancellara still off the pace. A group including Bert De Backer (Giant-Shimano), Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin), Mathieu Ladagnous (FDJ.fr), Yannick Martinez (Europcar) and Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) sneaked away and on sector 13 in Beuvry-la-Forêt à Orchies, Boonen launched a solo counter-attack. He quickly bridged up with to group and put his cards on the table. Was he riding to win, in a show of strength, or playing a team game.

Boonen's frustration at a lack of support and hard work from the other riders in the move indicated he believed he had a chance of victory. On sector 12 in Orchies, Boonen once again accelerated trying to reduce the numbers in the lead group. Five other riders survived the cut. They were Thomas, De Backer, Martinez, Ladagnous. However behind BMC was well organised and brought the peloton back to a handful of seconds just before sector 11.

Boonen accelerated once again and this time only De Backer, Martinez and Thomas were able to keep up. Hushovd accelerated in the peloton and bridged up to the four leaders. Once off sector 11 in Auchy-lez-Orchies à Bersée, the peloton were on the verge of catching the Boonen group but then they eased up. BMC was no longer doing the work and with several big teams represented, no other team wanted to take the initiative.

On a knife edge

The six-rider attack had a gap of 50 seconds at 40km to go from finish and the race was on a knife edge, ready to go either way. Boonen tried to go alone or at least split the break several times but did not have the power to stay clear.

Peter Sagan had a difficult race but did not lack courage and did not want allow Boonen to stay away and set up victory. After making the selection despite being at the back of the main group on several sectors, he attacked at 35km to go with Maarten Wynants (Belkin). For a while the two were stick in the middle but eventually caught Boonen's group with 22km to go.

Behind the chasers were also active and within reach of the attack. Sep Vanmarcke had two Belkin teammates up front but was the team's leader and attacked with Cancellara on the legendary Camphin-en-Pévèle sector. They quickly got across to the Boonen group, reopening the race. However Sagan had attacked alone, in a youthful and hopeful attempt at lone victory. He got a gap and never eased up but a 25-rider peloton could see him up the road.

The 2.1km long Carrefour de l’Arbre sector of pave often decides Paris-Roubaix. This time Vanmarcke, Cancellara Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Degenkolb got clear and managed to close the gap on Sagan, who had gone into the red in his solo move.

However this was not to be the decisive move. Behind Terpstra tried to drag Boonen back into contention and Wiggins and Thomas teamed up to help the chase. Sebastian Langeveld (Garmin-Sharp) was also there and they caught Cancellara & Co before the final Willems à Hem sector of pave. There was suddenly 11 riders in the front group, all with a chance of victory.

A group sprint in the velodrome?

A big group sprinting for victory has not been seen for years but Degenkolb believed in is chances and got teammate Bert De Backer to set a hard pace on the pave.

There was seven kilometres on road left to race and Terpstra took advantage of the moment. Omega Pharma-QuickStep also had Stybar and a very tired Boonen in the move and so could afford to play a card. The Dutch track specialist and fine time trialist jumped from near the back of the peloton and was quickly up to speed and quickly opened a gap.

The other riders hesitated for a vital few seconds in the headwind and Terpstra was away. He quickly opened a 15-second gap and never looked back. He handed the final symbolic sector of pave with ease and then entered the velodrome alone, with a roar from the packed crowd. He completed his lap and a half at a steady speed and then celebrated with a loud roar and with some emotional arm waving. He has learned how to ride the Classics at Omega Pharma-QuickStep in recent years and has stepped up to take the biggest victory of his career.

He rightly celebrated on the podium as he lifted the cobblestone prize. Everyone else could only spit out the dirt from their lungs and fight the burning pain in their legs.


Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team6:09:01 
2John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:00:20 
3Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing  
4Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
5Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
6Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale  
7Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky  
8Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
9Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky  
10Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
11Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano0:00:26 
12Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr0:00:47 
13Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky  
14Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
15Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
16Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
17Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
18Jos van Emden (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
19Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team0:01:05 
20Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
21Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky  
22Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
23Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
24Yannick Martinez (Fra) Team Europcar  
25Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge  
26Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
27Steve Chainel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
28Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:02:55 
29Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
30Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team  
31Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
32Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.fr  
33Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
34Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
35Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo  
36Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale  
37Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:02:59 
38Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin Sharp  
39Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
40Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team  
41Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:04:14 
42Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale0:05:48 
43Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar0:06:42 
44Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling  
45Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
46Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale  
47Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
48Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement0:06:44 
49Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
50Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
51Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
52Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo0:07:06 
53Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing  
54Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team  
55Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
56Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp - Endura  
57Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha  
58Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
59Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ.fr  
60Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
61Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team  
62Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
63Blaz Jarc (Slo) Team NetApp - Endura  
64Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
65Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
66Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team NetApp - Endura  
67Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp  
68Stijn Steels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
69Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-Shimano  
70Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
71Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
72Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale  
73Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
74Luca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha  
75Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:07:22 
76Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:07:51 
77Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team0:09:55 
78Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
79James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
80Andrea Francesco Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
81Martijn Maaskant (Ned) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
82Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
83Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
84Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
85Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team  
86Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha  
87Matthias Krizek (Aut) Cannondale  
88William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.fr  
89Nicki Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
90Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
91Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling  
92Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team Katusha  
93Jonathan McEvoy (GBr) Team NetApp-Endura  
94Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek Factory Racing  
95Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
96Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
97Tim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
98Marko Kump (Slo) Tinkoff-Saxo  
99Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing0:10:08 
100Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano0:13:16 
101Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale0:13:42 
102Clément Koretzky (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
103Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
104Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
105Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin Sharp  
106Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
107Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
108Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
109Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol  
110Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:16:14 
111Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.fr0:16:22 
112Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky  
113David Millar (GBr) Garmin Sharp0:16:40 
114Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing0:18:37 
115Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling0:18:39 
116Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano  
117Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Sky  
118Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica GreenEdge  
119Dominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling  
120Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek Factory Racing  
121John Murphy (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:18:54 
122Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
123Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
124Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team  
125Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin Sharp  
126Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Team Katusha  
127Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:22:04 
128Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
129Vegard Breen (Nor) Lotto Belisol  
130Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:22:08 
131Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp - Endura0:27:42 
132Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:27:46 
133Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
134Sam Bennett (Irl) Team NetApp - Endura  
135Daniil Fominykh (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
136Rudiger Selig (Ger) Team Katusha  
137Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
138Robert Förster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
139Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
140Davide Frattini (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
141Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo  
142Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
143Ralf Matzka (Ger) Team NetApp - Endura  
144Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team  
DNFBjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar  
DNFDayer Uberney Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team  
DNFJuan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFJesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFJosé Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFAlex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team  
DNFJérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling  
DNFEvan Huffman (USA) Astana Pro Team  
DNFMarcel Aregger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
DNFVegard Stake Laengen (Nor) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFJimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFMatteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling  
DNFArman Kamyshev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFManuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFJesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo  
DNFChristophe Laborie (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
DNFBenjamin Le Montagner (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
DNFKenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFSam Bewley (NZl) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFGert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFCyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFLouis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFTim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFAntoine Duchesne (Can) Team Europcar  
DNFErwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement  
DNFFabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale  
DNFMichael Schwarzmann (Ger) Team NetApp - Endura  
DNFHayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing  
DNFIljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFNikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFSilvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFAidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica GreenEdge  
DNFAliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Team Katusha  
DNFLloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFLasse Norman Hansen (Den) Garmin Sharp  
DNFDavid Boucher (Fra) FDJ.fr  
DNFMickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr  
DNFAlexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha  
DNFEdward King (USA) Cannondale  
DNFJerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFNiccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida  


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