A tale of two races for Ineos Grenadiers neo-pros at Paris-Roubaix
Sheffield saw Van Baarle's victory on Carrefour de l'Arbre big screen after crashes while Turner took 11th after work in final
Ineos Grenadiers' first-ever Paris-Roubaix win on Sunday came via the blend of youth and experience that has seen them achieve success after success at the spring Classics in recent weeks, with eight-time Roubaix veteran Dylan van Baarle taking the win as neo-pro Ben Turner finished 11th after assisting his teammate at the sharp end of the race.
It was a tale of two races for the team's two young race debutants, Turner racing among the elite contenders well into the final run of cobbled sectors, while Brabantse Pijl winner Magnus Sheffield suffered several instances of bad luck before finishing just 1:35 outside the time cut.
The 19-year-old American had crashed twice along the way – "just a bit of bruising" – during his first outing at the 257km Hell of the North and was out of range of team radio as Van Baarle soloed to the velodrome. Luckily, the big screen on the Carrefour de l'Arbre allowed him to witness his teammate's win as he battled to the finish.
"I was able to see the giant TV on Carrefour," Sheffield told Cyclingnews after the race. "It was just when I passed by, I saw Dylan with his bike in the air. So that was a pretty incredible feeling seeing that.
"I wish I could invite you up there and so you could see for yourself," he said, gesturing to the Ineos Grenadiers team bus, from which a celebratory Dylan van Baarle goes from last to first at Paris-Roubaix playlist of Italo-house music was blasting.
"There's such a good vibe around the team. The atmosphere is – we all just feel like we've known each other for years now. So, I think we're really looking forward to all getting the cobble and lifting above the head because it really feels like a team victory."
Sheffield had been part of the Ineos-led move early in the race which saw all seven riders split the peloton in the crosswinds, the aggressive racing with numbers style which makes up the team's new Classics philosophy for 2022.
While his team kept the move going until the Arenberg Forest, forcing contenders like Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) onto the back foot for 110km, Sheffield was detached at the third sector after getting caught in an unavoidable crash in front of him.
He was able to chase back on in a group containing former world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), he said, before crashing for a second time shortly afterwards.
"Unfortunately, that's just the luck of the draw with this kind of race. There's nothing really you can do about it but just look forward. It's a learning experience and crashing's never fun, but I was able to get to the finish which I'm also happy about.
"Not everyone can say that they finished Roubaix, but I think it also shows my strength and my maturity as a rider. I'm not here just to play, I'm here to win and also support the team.
"It was something I set out to do the beginning of the day and I wanted to stay true to that so I could also help my teammates. You never know like what can happen if guys sit up and a group comes back. So yeah, I feel happy that I was able to finish my first one and hopefully I'll be up there the next time."
Turner: I felt every race today
While Sheffield, already a complete pro as a teammate, stayed ready to help out even some way off the back of the contending groups at the front, Turner managed to avoid the carnage – until a spill on the Camphin-en-Pévèle, at least.
The 22-year-old raced into the final 50km alongside Van Baarle and a host of other favourites following Jumbo-Visma's decisive acceleration at Orchies.
The Briton has been one of the revelations of the spring and a fixture at the front of the Classics, notably helping Tom Pidcock to second place in Dwars door Vlaanderen, Michał Kwiatkowski to the win in Amstel Gold Race, and finishing fourth himself as Sheffield soloed home at Brabantse Pijl.
He crossed the line in the Vélodrome André Pétrieux 4:33 down, having buried himself for Van Baarle before the Dutchman's race-winning bridging move at Cysoing and attack at Camphin-en-Pévèle.
"We're taking over obviously," Turner deadpanned after grasping a moment to recover on the infield of the famous velodrome.
"We were the strongest team. The way we rode the last few races was amazing. It's just a lot of riding on spirit, I guess, riding with it and having fun is the main thing. At the end of the day, it's just a bike race, isn't it?
"I feel so lucky to be part of it and to ride this is a dream. To ride the Tour of Flanders was a dream. I think I can tick that off."
Turner said that he felt on the limit for the final 100km, which included 19 cobbled sectors, including the day's three five-star sectors, adding that he wanted to give everything in what was his last race of the spring Classics.
"It was so hard, and I was on the limit for so, so long," he said. "I thought I was going to get dropped. At 100km to go I was just on the limit.
"I felt every race today and I just wanted to give everything and finish the Classics the way I wanted to. I think I can be really proud of today and also the team is really – it's incredible.
"Words can't describe it. To be a first-year pro and we've won all these races... Today we won Paris-Roubaix. It's just beautiful. It's really emotional," he concluded. "The future looks bright. I hope I can live up to what people are saying about me."
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.
As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.