Philippe Gilbert wins Paris-Roubaix

Politt second in velodrome sprint, Lampaert takes third

Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) moved a step closer to completing a full set of Monuments when he beat Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) in a two-up sprint to claim victory at the end of an unrelenting edition of Paris-Roubaix

It was fitting that Gilbert and Politt were the last men standing at the end of such a slugging match over the cobbles, as each rider had landed more telling blows than most during a breathless day of racing.

The decisive move had its genesis in Politt’s canny attack at the end of the second feed zone with 67km remaining, when Gilbert was the first to react to the German’s probing effort. That attack triggered the denouement, and the race took definitive shape just before the cobbles at Mons-en-Pévèle with 45km remaining. There, the pair emerged in an elite group of six along with defending champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First).

That sextet collaborated smoothly to build up a lead of a minute over a flagging and disorganised chasing group, and their unity only started to ebb when the Quick Step duo of Lampaert and Gilbert began their probing on the cobbles at Wannehain and Carrefour de l’Arbre.

A tiring Van Aert, who had earlier chased back on twice after a mechanical and a crash, lost contact ahead of the Carrefour de l’Arbre, but the pivotal moment came on the following sector at Gruson. With 14.5km remaining, Politt unleashed a determined acceleration that only Gilbert could follow.

With Lampaert policing a fading Sagan and a Vanmarcke beset by mechanical issues, the Gilbert-Politt tandem quickly built up a buffer of 40 seconds over their erstwhile companions, and the duo continued to work together deep into the run-in towards Roubaix.

It was only in the final 3 kilometres, when Gilbert got word that Lampaert was now chasing alone, that their alliance stalled. The canny Gilbert duly ensconced himself on Politt’s wheel through the final sector of pavé in the streets of Roubaix and allowed the German to lead them though the gates of the famous old velodrome.

Amid raucous cheers, Politt climbed the banking of the velodrome and slowed the pace, but while Gilbert is a relative Paris-Roubaix novice – this was just his third participation – few riders have his kind of sangfroid at the end of a 250km race. Just as he patiently disposed of the Schleck brothers in the sprint at Ans in Liège-Bastogne-Liège eight years ago, he bided his time before unleashing a powerful sprint to see off Politt.

“I’m not afraid of long attacks. They’ve often worked out in my favour,” Gilbert said afterwards. “I got down to work with Politt who is also quite a brave rider. It was ideal to be in his company. In the finale, we rode flat out together, and in the end, it came down to who was the strongest – and that was me.”

Gilbert’s teammate Lampaert came home alone to take third place in the Belgian champion’s jersey, just as his directeur sportif Tom Steels did twenty years ago behind his teammate Andrea Tafi. Vanmarcke slipped away from Sagan to take 4th, while Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) won the sprint for 6th place, 47 seconds down on his teammate Gilbert.

How it unfolded

It was a very chilly morning for the riders who took to the start at the Palais Impérial in Compiègne on Sunday, where fever victim Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) was a late withdrawal. A headwind early on meant countless unsuccessful attacks in the first two hours of racing through the Oise, Somme and Aisne regions, with an average of 44km/h for the peloton.

Only when entering the Nord region and approaching the first pavé sectors did any riders manage to gain a significant gap on the peloton. A group of nine reached the first cobbles at pavé sector 29 in Troisvilles. Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Nils Politt (Katusha) and European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) were among the notable names to make the group, while soon afterwards, three more groups came together to form a break of over 20 riders.

As the leaders reached the second pavé sector, named after the late Michael Goolaerts, they had an advantage of 50 seconds on the Bora-Hansgrohe and Sky-led peloton. The punctures and mechanicals came thick and fast thereafter, with Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), André Greipel (Arkea-Samsic) and Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Dimension Data) among those dropping from the peloton as the cobbles took their toll.

Up front, Trentin suffered a similar fate, having to take a Mavic neutral service wheel before dropping back to the peloton. Bahrain-Merida worked at the head of the peloton to limit the gap, and by sector 23, with 120km to race, the lead group was already caught back.

Peter Sagan lost a valuable helper when Daniel Oss crashed on sector 22, while the next sector saw Kristoff puncture once again. It wasn’t to be his day. Due to the general chaos of the race, the peloton split in two pieces in the run-up to the Arenberg, with Kristoff, Sagan, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) and Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) trailing in the chase group. 

On sector 20 at Haveluy à Wallers, those groups merged, though Kristoff didn’t make the cut, while Slovenian champion Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) crashed out of the peloton just before Arenberg.

Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) led onto the famous sector, where Van Aert swerved out of the peloton with a mechanical problem, switching bikes with teammate Pascal Eenkhoorn before mounting a lone chase, some 40 seconds down. He ended up racing alongside Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Merida), blasting through the sectors and past trailing riders as he bridged back to the peloton with the Australian.

After switching to his own spare bike, Van Aert slid out on a corner, meaning he faced another a lone chase once again, this time with a minute to make up on the peloton. Soon after, his compatriot Benoot’s race came to an unfortunate end when he collided with a Jumbo-Visma team car, exiting the race in tears with a bloody knee.

Out front, Wesley Kreder (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) now led the race with small advantage over the peloton, but a rare lull in pace allowed Van Aert to catch up before sector 15.

At the feed zone, Politt accelerated, and he was joined by Gilbert and Rüdiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe). The trio bridged to Kreder and reached sector 14 at Beuvry à Orchies with a small advantage.

On sector 12, Sagan put on the power, attacking the peloton and taking several riders with him, including Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First). The group absorbed Gilbert and Politt, forming an elite lead group heading into the final 50km.

The six leaders reached the famous sector 11 at Mons-en-Pévèle with a lead of half a minute on the chase group, which consisted of around 20 riders. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Van Avermaet tried to bridge from the peloton, but with Zdenek Štybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step) smothered their moves. It was already clear that the winner would come from the six leaders. 

Gilbert put in the first dig from the lead group with 23km to race, shortly after sector 6 at Bourghelles à Wannehain. The lead group was split in two pieces as Sagan and Politt quickly reacted while Vanmarcke, Van Aert and Lampaert lagged behind.

A tiring Van Aert was left behind by his countrymen as they hit sector 5 at Camphin-en-Pévèle, with Vanmarcke and Lampaert catching the lead trio at the end of the cobbled sector. On the Carrefour de l’Arbre – the only five-star sector remaining – Quick Step attacked first with Lampaert and then Gilbert, though Sagan was wise to both accelerations.

Next it was Politt’s turn – the German went on the offensive at the next sector at Gruson. Gilbert was the only man to make it across, while Sagan, Vanmarcke and Lampaert chased. The gap opened, and it soon became a two-man race.

A week ago, Gilbert had been diminished by illness at the Tour of Flanders, but his wealth of experience told here. He becomes the first man since Sean Kelly to win four of cycling’s five Monuments. Paris-Roubaix joins the Tour of Lombardy (2009 and 2010), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (2011) and the Tour of Flanders (2017) on his palmarès. 

“I still have this dream of winning all five monuments. It’s a bit of a crazy dream that has inspired me for ten years and little by little I’m getting closer to it,” said Gilbert. “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.” 

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep5:58:02 
2Nils Politt (Ger) Team Katusha-Alpecin  
3Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:00:13 
4Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First0:00:40 
5Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:42 
6Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:00:47 
7Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma  
8Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep  
9Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence  
10Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First  
11Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ  
12Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team  
13Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
14Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida0:01:24 
15Adrien Petit (Fra) Total Direct Energie0:01:25 
16Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha-Alpecin0:01:36 
17Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ  
18Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
19Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits  
20Bert De Backer (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels  
21Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky0:01:40 
22Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma0:01:42 
23Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:02:14 
24Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
25Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team0:02:36 
26Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
27Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo0:02:38 
28John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo0:03:00 
29Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:03:06 
30Kristijan Koren (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:03:39 
31Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:04:25 
32Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky  
33Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits0:07:06 
34Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) Team Katusha-Alpecin0:08:14 
35Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:09:09 
36Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale0:09:11 
37Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
38Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
39Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:10:19 
40Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma  
41Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain-Merida  
42Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) CCC Team0:10:20 
43Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott  
44Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb0:11:51 
45Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data  
46Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic  
47Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) CCC Team  
48Damien Touze (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits  
49Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo  
50Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep  
51Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo  
52Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
53Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe  
54Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits  
55Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo  
56Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates0:14:15 
57Silvan Dillier (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale  
58Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Team Katusha-Alpecin  
59Boris Vallee (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert0:14:18 
60Matti Breschel (Den) EF Education First0:15:47 
61Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data  
62Cees Bol (Ned) Team Sunweb  
63Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma  
64Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
65Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ  
66Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Dimension Data  
67Jimmy Turgis (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels  
68Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
69Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott  
70Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
71Julien Trarieux (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence  
72Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels  
73Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
74Lars Boom (Ned) Roompot-Charles  
75Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Sunweb  
76Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Education First  
77Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC Team0:15:51 
78Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team  
79Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
80Michael Schär (Swi) CCC Team  
81Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Groupama-FDJ  
82Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky  
83Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic  
84Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky  
85Rick Zabel (Ger) Team Katusha-Alpecin0:20:25 
86Julien Vermote (Bel) Dimension Data0:23:26 
87Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida  
88Franck Bonnamour (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic  
89Timo Roosen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma  
90Corentin Ermenault (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels  
91Lars Bak Ytting (Den) Dimension Data  
92Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
93Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles  
94Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First  
95Owain Doull (GBr) Team Sky0:23:37 
96Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo  
97Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels0:23:43 
98Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:24:12 
99Edoardo Affini (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott  
100Filippo Fortin (Ita) Cofidis Solutions Credits0:27:17 
OTLRasmus Fossum Tiller (Nor) Dimension Data0:29:56 
OTLAlex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo  
OTLMaximilian Richard Walscheid (Ger) Team Sunweb  
OTLJonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels  
OTLCallum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott0:31:24 
OTLEduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar Team  
OTLJesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Charles0:39:54 
OTLPrzemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Pol) Delko Marseille Provence0:40:00 
OTLJoseph Areruya (Rwa) Delko Marseille Provence  
OTLAlan Riou (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic0:47:35 
DNFMaciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFDaniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFJuraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe  
DNFAlexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFKamil Gradek (Pol) CCC Team  
DNFGijs Van Hoecke (Bel) CCC Team  
DNFJulius Van Den Berg (Ned) EF Education First  
DNFTaylor Phinney (USA) EF Education First  
DNFJenthe Biermans (Bel) Team Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) Team Katusha-Alpecin  
DNFTim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep  
DNFIljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep  
DNFRomain Cardis (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Total Direct Energie  
DNFPim Ligthart (Ned) Total Direct Energie  
DNFJack Bauer (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFLuka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott  
DNFJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Groupama-FDJ  
DNFRamon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ  
DNFTiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFFrederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFNikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFLawrence Naesen (Bel) Lotto Soudal  
DNFBrian Van Goethem (Ned) Lotto Soudal  
DNFTaco Van Der Hoorn (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma  
DNFDanny Van Poppel (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma  
DNFFilippo Ganna (Ita) Team Sky  
DNFChristian Knees (Ger) Team Sky  
DNFTom Bohli (Swi) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFSven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFVegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFMarco Marcato (Ita) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFJasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates  
DNFBert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis Solutions Credits  
DNFKenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis Solutions Credits  
DNFMagnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro Team  
DNFZhandos Bizhigitov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFDaniil Fominykh (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFPhil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFMarcel Sieberg (Ger) Bahrain-Merida  
DNFJurgen Roelandts (Bel) Movistar Team  
DNFJorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFDaniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team  
DNFJaime Castrillo Zapater (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFJasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team  
DNFLudwig De Winter (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert  
DNFJay Robert Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data  
DNFAndré Greipel (Ger) Team Arkea-Samsic  
DNFBrice Feillu (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic  
DNFBram Welten (Ned) Team Arkea-Samsic  
DNFLennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb  
DNFAsbjørn Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb  
DNFCasper Phillip Pedersen (Den) Team Sunweb  
DNFJulien Morice (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels  
DNFSenne Leysen (Bel) Roompot-Charles  
DNFJustin Timmermans (Ned) Roompot-Charles  
DNFSjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-Charles  
DNFMichaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Roompot-Charles  
DNFIuri Filosi (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence  
DNFBrenton Jones (Aus) Delko Marseille Provence  
DNFJérémy Leveau (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence  
DNSFernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates  

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