Gilbert takes fourth Monument win at 2019 Paris Roubaix
Deceuninck-QuickStep's Philippe Gilbert took another step closer to fulfilling his dream of winning all five of cycling's Monuments after winning the 2019 Paris-Roubaix, and is now only one race away from completing the set.
The 36-year-old Belgian's win at Roubaix can be added to his past victories at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the Tour of Flanders and Il Lombardia, with 'only' victory at Milan-San Remo standing between him and becoming only the fourth rider in history to take wins in all five races.
Should Gilbert be able to achieve it before retirement creeps up on him, he would become part of an illustrious quartet that would also be made up of fellow Belgians Eddy Merckx, Rik Van Looy and Roger De Vlaeminck.
While Gilbert's 2019 Roubaix win was not unexpected, his Deceuninck-QuickStep teammate Zdenek Stybar had at least seemed like the man most likely to lead the Belgian WorldTour team home.
However, Gilbert was left in the front group with only Belgian road race champion and teammate Yves Lampaert as the kilometres of the 257km cobbled Classic ticked down. That key move happened just ahead of the cobbled sector of Mons-en-Pévèle with 45km left to race, when Gilbert, Lampaert, defending champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and EF Education First's Sep Vanmarcke went clear, and soon opened up a minute's lead over the chasers.
It was German rider Politt who initiated the winning attack with 15km to go, when only Gilbert could follow, and the two riders entered the famous velodrome in Roubaix with around a half-minute lead over Lampaert.
Gilbert let Politt lead for most of the one-and-a-half laps around the banked track, but then easily dispatched the 25-year-old in the sprint for victory.
"I still have this dream of winning all five monuments," Gilbert said at the finish. "It's a bit of a crazy dream that has inspired me for 10 years, and little by little I'm getting closer to it.
"When I decided to take on this challenge three years ago, many people told me the cobbles weren't for me. I've won the Tour of Flanders and now Paris-Roubaix. I was able to transform my qualities as a puncheur. Now, I'm a different rider, and I'm very happy to have done it," he said.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep||5:58:02|
|2||Nils Politt (Ger) Team Katusha-Alpecin|
|3||Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:00:13|
|4||Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First||0:00:40|
|5||Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:00:42|
|6||Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:00:47|
|7||Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma|
|8||Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep|
|9||Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence|
|10||Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First|