Van Avermaet wins Paris-Roubaix

Belgian claims his first career Monument victory

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) finally has his Monument after claiming victory in a breathless edition of Paris-Roubaix, the fastest in the race's history.

At various junctures, the cause seemed lost, and even on the final lap of the velodrome, it briefly appeared as though the Belgian had squandered his chance. This time, however, Van Avermaet was not to be denied, as he saw off Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) and Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac) in the finishing sprint to shake off the very last vestiges of his nearly-man tag.

Tom Boonen (Quick-Step Floors), riding in his final race as a professional, was prominent throughout and part of the key selection that formed after Mons-en-Pévéle, but he was caught on the wrong side when the leading group split with 30 kilometres remaining. Despite showing flashes of his force of old on the Carrefour de l'Arbre, where he was willed on by an expectant public, he was unable to close the gap. He finished the race in the large chasing group that came home 12 seconds down on Van Avermaet, and ends his career level with Roger De Vlaeminck on four Paris-Roubaix victories.

The decisive move took shape in installments over one of the least fearsome sectors of cobbles, at Templeneuve with 30 kilometres to go, as Van Avermaet, Stybar and Langeveld joined Gianni Moscon (Sky), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) in pursuit of earlier attacker Daniel Oss (BMC). A lone chase attempt by world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) was interrupted by a puncture, and the septet out front quickly opened a lead of 30 seconds over the Boonen group behind.

Van Avermaet laid down a fierce acceleration on the jagged cobbles of the Carrefour de l'Arbre with 16 kilometres remaining and only Stybar and Langeveld were still with him out the other end, and that trio continued to augment its advantage over the rest of the field over the remaining three sectors of pavé.

Not even Stybar's repeated refusal to contribute could stall their progress. When Stybar attacked his companions four kilometres from the velodrome, however, Van Avermaet's ire was obvious as he shut down the move and then forced the Quick-Step man to close down Langeveld's subsequent attack.

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Perhaps unbeknownst to the three leaders, they had begun to fritter away their healthy lead over a chasing Moscon and Stuyven amid the ensuing game of cat and mouse. Van Avermaet led into the velodrome, and when Stybar almost brought them to a halt as he soft-pedalled to the top of the banking, Moscon and Stuyven were suddenly upon them.

Moscon had the gumption to attack immediately, and were it not for his obvious fatigue, his might have been a winning gap. Instead Stybar swooped down the banking in pursuit and then launched his sprint, but Stybar's effort served only to lead out Van Avermaet, who claimed a decisive win, punching the air in relief as much as in joy as he crossed the line. The Olympic champion has been in a rich vein of form this spring, winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and now Paris-Roubaix, and placing second at the Tour of Flanders for good measure.

"I didn't think Paris-Roubaix was going to be the Monument for me," Van Avermaet said afterwards. "In the end I was a bit afraid of Stybar because he wasn't working with us. I'm really happy to have finally won a Monument because I've had a long wait for this."

The Boonen chasing group swelled in size on the run-in and reached the finish just 12 seconds down on Van Avermaet, with Arnaud Démare (FDJ) winning the sprint for sixth ahead of André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo).

Van Avermaet's average speed of 45.204kph was the fastest in the history of the race, outstripping the longstanding record set by Peter Post in 1964, when the race featured far fewer cobbled kilometres. The peloton was puffed along by a strong tailwind early on, but it was still a brutally difficult day of racing. No early break gained any real purchase before the first cobbles at Troisvilles, and there was scarcely a lull in the entire 260 kilometres.

Van Avermaet's win was all the more notable given that he went down in a crash shortly before the Arenberg Forest, replaced his bike and then spent more than 20 kilometres chasing back on as Quick-Step turned the screws up ahead. Not for the first time this spring, he seemed to have ample energy to spare. "I had a bit of bad luck before the Arenberg but the team did good work," he said. "Everybody was in the right place for me and Daniel Oss did really good work and everything came together for me."

How it unfolded

The peloton left the Place Charles de Gaulle in Compiègne under pleasant sunshine and was puffed along by a tailwind that had seen the start delayed by 15 minutes in a bid to keep the finish to its originally scheduled time. More than 50.5 kilometres were covered in the first hour of racing as no break established itself and there was little let-up thereafter. The first break, featuring Yannick Martinez (Delko Marseille), Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) and Mickaël Delage (FDJ), forged clear only just before the first sector of cobbles at Troisville and never had more than 45 seconds on the peloton.

On sector 28 – the second of 29, which count down to Roubaix – Oliver Naesen (AG2R), Lukasz Wiśniowski (Sky), Nicolas Dougall (Dimension Data) and Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) went down in a crash, while shortly afterwards, Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) fell in another incident. Before the cobbles, meanwhile, Luke Durbridge (Orica-Scott) went down, though the Australian managed to bridge back up.

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Shortly after sector 24, Stijn Vandenbergh (AG2R La Mondiale) attacked from the peloton and joined with Wallays and Delage at the front. At that point, Katusha-Alpecin were controlling affairs in the peloton. Meanwhile, 2014 winner Nikki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors), already caught behind an earlier crash, hit the ground hard on the cobbles near Maing and abandoned soon afterwards.

Come the Trouée d'Arenberg, the three leaders had an advantage of almost a minute on the peloton, where Quick-Step had taken up the reins just as Van Avermaet crashed on the preceding section at Wallers. The Olympic champion had to close a 40-second gap to get back in the race.

Wallays and Vandenbergh rid themselves of Delage on the Arenberg, while Trentin and Katusha's Tony Martin set the pace in the peloton, as Boonen, Sagan and Trek's John Degenkolb followed. Van Avermaet found an ally of circumstance in puncture victim Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) on the other side of the forest and they eventually bridged back up.

Ahead of sector 18, Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) attacked and enjoyed a brief rally off the front, but the first significant move came after sector 17 at Hornaing. With 75 kilometres remaining, Sagan ripped off the front with his teammate Maciej Bodnar, as well as Oss and Stuyven, opening up a gap of 30 seconds over the bunch. It was an ambitious attack from Sagan, but a puncture forced him and Bodnar out of the move, leaving Stuyven and Oss out in front.

With 60 kilometres to go, Oss and Stuyven had 30 seconds in hand on a 30-man group that included Boonen, Sagan and just about every real contender bar puncture victim Oliver Naesan. Sagan showed further aggression on the cobbles at Mons-en-Pévéle, helping to split the chasers and peg back Oss and Stuyven. With 40 kilometres to go, 15 men remained in front: Roelandts, Moscon, Oss, Van Avermaet, Stuyven, Degenkolb, Sagan, Boonen, Stybar, Langeveld, Chavanel, Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott), Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis), Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac) and Bert De Backer (Sunweb).

On sector 9, Van Avermaet's teammate Oss went up the road once again, and the Italian would prove a most useful foil in the finale. The flurry of attacks approaching Templeuve, triggered by Langeveld and Roelandts, helped to give shape to the winning move, as Van Avermaet, Stybar, Moscon and Stuyven came across. Sagan looked to follow, but suffered a most inopportune rear wheel puncture, and his challenge faded. Boonen, for his part, was caught on the wrong side of the split, and his dream of a valedictory win disappeared up the road, even if he raged against the dying of the light all the way to the gates of famous old velodrome.

It was instead left to Stybar to carry Quick-Step Floors' hopes, but despite his persistence in using Boonen as a pretext not to work, the day – and the spring – belonged to Van Avermaet.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team5:41:07 
2Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors  
3Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac  
4Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
5Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky  
6Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ0:00:12 
7André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal  
8Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
9Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie  
10John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo  
11Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-Scott  
12Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
13Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
14Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
15Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team  
16Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
17Piet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
18Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
19Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie  
20Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac  
21Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
22Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:20 
23Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:00:26 
24Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal0:00:36 
25Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Sunweb0:02:24 
26Marco Marcato (Ita) Team UAE Emirates  
27Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  
28Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
29Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
30Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
31Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
32Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Sunweb  
33Jos Van Emden (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
34Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
35Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:01 
36Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension Data0:03:30 
37Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:03:45 
38Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe0:05:12 
39Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:05:44 
40Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team0:07:12 
41Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team0:09:41 
42Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac  
43Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
44Iljo Keisse (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
45Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
46Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-Alpecin  
47Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
48Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-Alpecin  
49Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Sunweb  
50Ryan Mullen (Irl) Cannondale-Drapac  
51Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
52Pim Ligthart (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
53Scott Thwaites (GBr) Dimension Data  
54Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal  
55Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
56Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
57Maxime Farazijn (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
58Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ  
59Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
60Jorge Arcas Peña (Spa) Movistar Team  
61Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
62Gregory Rast (Swi) Trek-Segafredo  
63Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale  
64Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data  
65Tom Scully (NZl) Cannondale-Drapac  
66Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team  
67Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-Scott  
68Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
69Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
70William Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac  
71Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb  
72Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
73Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
74Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team  
75Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe  
76Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin  
77Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:09:48 
78Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:09:53 
79Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise0:09:55 
80Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
81Francis Mourey (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
82Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
83Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott0:14:06 
84Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ  
85Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe0:18:28 
86Franck Bonnamour (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
87Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin  
88Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors  
89Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida  
90Alexander Edmonson (Aus) Orica-Scott0:20:44 
91Mitch Docker (Aus) Orica-Scott  
92Truls Korsaeth (Nor) Astana Pro Team  
93David Per (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
94Amund Grondahl Jansen (Nor) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
95Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo  
96Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin  
97Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data  
98Julien Vermote (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
99Matti Breschel (Den) Astana Pro Team  
100Boris Vallee (Bel) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
101Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:20:50 
102Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data0:27:12 
OTLBerden De Vries (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:30:49 
OTLJonas Rickaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
OTLIon Insausti (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
OTLTyler Farrar (USA) Dimension Data  
OTLPatrick Bevin (NZl) Cannondale-Drapac0:32:06 
OTLBorut Bozic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:32:19 
OTLOwain Doull (GBr) Team Sky0:33:44 
OTLAlexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
OTLBenoit Jarrier (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
OTLErwann Corbel (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
OTLMaarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:34:01 
OTLLoic Chetout (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:34:17 
OTLDaniel Mclay (GBr) Fortuneo - Vital Concept0:34:28 
OTLTwan Castelijns (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo0:34:30 
OTLBrian Van Goethem (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij0:38:49 
OTLRomain Cardis (Fra) Direct Energie  
OTLTaco Van Der Hoorn (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
OTLZhandos Bizhigitov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:45:19 
OTLJonathan Dibben (GBr) Team Sky0:46:45 
DNFSam Bewley (NZl) Orica-Scott  
DNFLuke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-Scott  
DNFMagnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott  
DNFTim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors  
DNFNiki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors  
DNFLuke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
DNFElia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky  
DNFLukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky  
DNFTom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac  
DNFNick Dougall (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFRyan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFTony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal  
DNFMatthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo  
DNFMichal Kolár (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFAleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFRüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFMartin Elmiger (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFStefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFFrancisco Ventoso (Spa) BMC Racing Team  
DNFLars Boom (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
DNFGijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Team LottNl-Jumbo  
DNFRobert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNl-Jumbo  
DNFNuno Matos (Por) Movistar Team  
DNFHéctor Carretero (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFNelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team  
DNFJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) FDJ  
DNFDaniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ  
DNFIgnatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJ  
DNFAntoine Duchesne (Can) Direct Energie  
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFTony Hurel (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFJulien Morice (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFAlexandre Pichot (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFGediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFRudy Barbier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFNico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFJulien Duval (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFSøren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb  
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFZico Waeytens (Bel) Team Sunweb  
DNFAlbert Timmer (Ned) Team Sunweb  
DNFAlexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFMichael Morkov (Den) Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFHugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFCyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFKenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFBenjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFStijn Steels (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise  
DNFArman Kamyshev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFRiccardo Minali (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
DNFRuslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFFrederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFMark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFGuillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFDanilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFMaxime Daniel (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFJesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFAndre Looij (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFElmar Reinders (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFCoen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot - Nederlandse Loterij  
DNFIvan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFMeiyin Wang (Chn) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFSacha Modolo (Ita) Team UAE Emirates  
DNFMatteo Bono (Ita) Team UAE Emirates  
DNFRoberto Ferrari (Ita) Team UAE Emirates  
DNFAndrea Guardini (Ita) Team UAE Emirates  
DNFMarko Kump (Slo) Team UAE Emirates  
DNFOliviero Troia (Ita) Team UAE Emirates  
DNFFederico Zurlo (Ita) Team UAE Emirates  
DNFYannick Martinez (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
DNFMikel Aristi (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
DNFBenjamin Giraud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
DNFMartin Laas (Est) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
DNFRomain Lemarchand (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
DNFEvaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
DNFGatis Smukulis (Lat) Delko Marseille Provence KTM   


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