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Van Summeren solos to gutsy victory at Paris-Roubaix

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Team Sky's Brad Wiggins and Geraint Thomas came to grief in the Arenberg forest.

Team Sky's Brad Wiggins and Geraint Thomas came to grief in the Arenberg forest.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Serguei Ivanov (Katusha)

Serguei Ivanov (Katusha)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Irish champion Matt Brammeier (HTC - HIghroad)

Irish champion Matt Brammeier (HTC - HIghroad)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Ignatas Konovalovas (Movistar)

Ignatas Konovalovas (Movistar)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ)

Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Allan Davis (Astana)

Allan Davis (Astana)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Robbie McEwen (RadioShack)

Robbie McEwen (RadioShack)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Many riders chose a smoother alternative to cobbles when possible in the Arenberg sector.

Many riders chose a smoother alternative to cobbles when possible in the Arenberg sector.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Van Summeren was covered in dust and sweat after his long ride up front

Van Summeren was covered in dust and sweat after his long ride up front
(Image credit: AFP)
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Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Cervélo)

Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Cervélo)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) rides the Arenberg cobbles.

Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) rides the Arenberg cobbles.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Lars Boom (Rabobank) gapped the peloton in the Arenberg sector of cobbles.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) gapped the peloton in the Arenberg sector of cobbles.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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David Veilleux (Europcar) made an impressive Paris-Roubaix debut.

David Veilleux (Europcar) made an impressive Paris-Roubaix debut.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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André Greipel (Omega Pharma - Lotto) rides in the break.

André Greipel (Omega Pharma - Lotto) rides in the break.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Dutchman Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) en route to a podium finish.

Dutchman Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) en route to a podium finish.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Nelson Oliveira (RadioShack)

Nelson Oliveira (RadioShack)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Latvian champion Aleksejs Saramotins (Cofidis)

Latvian champion Aleksejs Saramotins (Cofidis)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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The Paris-Roubaix parcours is not the preferred terrain of Euskaltel-Euskadi riders.

The Paris-Roubaix parcours is not the preferred terrain of Euskaltel-Euskadi riders.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mark Cavendish (HTC - Highroad) in the Arenberg Forest.

Mark Cavendish (HTC - Highroad) in the Arenberg Forest.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Spanish champion José Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar)

Spanish champion José Ivan Gutierrez (Movistar)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Quite a way for Fumiyuki Beppu (RadioShack) to spend his birthday.

Quite a way for Fumiyuki Beppu (RadioShack) to spend his birthday.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Belgian champion Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil - DCM)

Belgian champion Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil - DCM)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Daniel Oss (Liquigas - Cannondale)

Daniel Oss (Liquigas - Cannondale)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Eventual winner Johan Van Summeren (Garmin - Cervelo) in action in the Arenberg sector.

Eventual winner Johan Van Summeren (Garmin - Cervelo) in action in the Arenberg sector.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) finds a smoother alternative to cobbles.

Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) finds a smoother alternative to cobbles.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Many of the pre-race favourites ride together at the head of the peloton in the Arenberg Forest.

Many of the pre-race favourites ride together at the head of the peloton in the Arenberg Forest.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Swiss champion Martin Elmiger (AG2R) rides off the front of the break in the Arenberg Forest.

Swiss champion Martin Elmiger (AG2R) rides off the front of the break in the Arenberg Forest.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Tom Boonen had a long delay when a puncture in the Arenberg forest dropped him out of the front group.

Tom Boonen had a long delay when a puncture in the Arenberg forest dropped him out of the front group.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Punctures are commonplace in Paris-Roubaix, and a good teammate gives up his wheel to his captain.

Punctures are commonplace in Paris-Roubaix, and a good teammate gives up his wheel to his captain.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Liquigas-Cannondale riders take in the Arenberg cobbles.

Liquigas-Cannondale riders take in the Arenberg cobbles.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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A Mavic neutral support motorcycle heads through the Arenberg Forest.

A Mavic neutral support motorcycle heads through the Arenberg Forest.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Riders make their way through the difficult cobbles of the Arenberg Forest.

Riders make their way through the difficult cobbles of the Arenberg Forest.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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World champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) powers through the Arenberg Forest.

World champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) powers through the Arenberg Forest.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Defending champion Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and Manuel Quinziato (BMC)

Defending champion Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and Manuel Quinziato (BMC)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Lars Boom (Rabobank) put his cyclo-cross skills to good use in the Arenberg Forest.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) put his cyclo-cross skills to good use in the Arenberg Forest.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) leads the peloton.

Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) leads the peloton.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Spectators in the Arenberg Forest try to catch a glimpse of the oncoming riders.

Spectators in the Arenberg Forest try to catch a glimpse of the oncoming riders.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Huge crowds in the Arenberg Forest await the Paris-Roubaix peloton.

Huge crowds in the Arenberg Forest await the Paris-Roubaix peloton.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Marcus Burghardt (BMC)

Marcus Burghardt (BMC)
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Johan Van Summeren powers his way through the Arenberg forest

Johan Van Summeren powers his way through the Arenberg forest
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Quick Step's run of bad luck continued with Tom Boonen down at Sars-et-Rosi

Quick Step's run of bad luck continued with Tom Boonen down at Sars-et-Rosi
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Tom Boonen (Quick Step) is helped back into his bike following a puncture in the Arenberg forrest

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) is helped back into his bike following a puncture in the Arenberg forrest
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Australians Baden Cooke and Mathew Hayman lead the charge through the Arenberg forrest

Australians Baden Cooke and Mathew Hayman lead the charge through the Arenberg forrest
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mathew Hayman, Manuel Quinziato, Fabian Cancellara, Juan Antonio Flecha, and Thor Hushovd in the Arenberg forest

Mathew Hayman, Manuel Quinziato, Fabian Cancellara, Juan Antonio Flecha, and Thor Hushovd in the Arenberg forest
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highroad), Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo), Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC) make their way through Arenberg

Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highroad), Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo), Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC) make their way through Arenberg
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) looked like he was having tought day in the Arenberg forest. He didn't finish the race

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) looked like he was having tought day in the Arenberg forest. He didn't finish the race
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Van Summeren as full speed

Van Summeren as full speed
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) enters the velodrome.

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) enters the velodrome.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Gert Steegmans (Quick Step)

Gert Steegmans (Quick Step)
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Europcar's Damien Gaudin collapses on the infield after the finish of Paris-Roubaix.

Europcar's Damien Gaudin collapses on the infield after the finish of Paris-Roubaix.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Belgian neo-pro Guillaume Van Keirsbulck gets a taste of the cobbles

Belgian neo-pro Guillaume Van Keirsbulck gets a taste of the cobbles
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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The Cancellara group enters the velodrome.

The Cancellara group enters the velodrome.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) put in a valiant effort at the end of Paris-Roubaix but wasn't quite able to reel Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) back into the fold.

Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) put in a valiant effort at the end of Paris-Roubaix but wasn't quite able to reel Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) back into the fold.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Paris-Roubaix peloton takes a corner

The Paris-Roubaix peloton takes a corner
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) gets a hug from his father after winning Paris-Roubaix.

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) gets a hug from his father after winning Paris-Roubaix.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Cervelo)

Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Cervelo)
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Juan Antonion Flecha (Sky) came close to victory yet again at Paris-Roubaix.

Juan Antonion Flecha (Sky) came close to victory yet again at Paris-Roubaix.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Cancellara and Lars Bak on the last lap of the velodrome

Cancellara and Lars Bak on the last lap of the velodrome
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC)

Alessandro Ballan (BMC)
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Van Summeren struggled to lift the pave stone

Van Summeren struggled to lift the pave stone
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Thor Hushovd's rainbow jersey stands out in the peloton

Thor Hushovd's rainbow jersey stands out in the peloton
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Vacansoleil tried hard to get into the race

Vacansoleil tried hard to get into the race
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) gets swamped by the media after winning Paris-Roubaix.

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) gets swamped by the media after winning Paris-Roubaix.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ballan was racing under a cloud despite the blue skies

Ballan was racing under a cloud despite the blue skies
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek), totally spent after the finish of Paris-Roubaix after a futile chase of eventual winner Johan Van Summeren.

Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek), totally spent after the finish of Paris-Roubaix after a futile chase of eventual winner Johan Van Summeren.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Van Summeren leads the break

Van Summeren leads the break
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Cancellera and Hushovd makred each other closely

Cancellera and Hushovd makred each other closely
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Conditions were unusually hot and dusty at Paris-Roubaix, as evidenced by Johan Van Summeren's (Garmin-Cervélo) face after crossing the line in victory.

Conditions were unusually hot and dusty at Paris-Roubaix, as evidenced by Johan Van Summeren's (Garmin-Cervélo) face after crossing the line in victory.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The podium

The podium
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) proposed to his girlfriend after winning Paris-Roubaix. "Some people give a ring," he said. "I give a rock."

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) proposed to his girlfriend after winning Paris-Roubaix. "Some people give a ring," he said. "I give a rock."
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) will savor this Paris-Roubaix victory for quite some time.

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) will savor this Paris-Roubaix victory for quite some time.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) hits the velodrome for the first half-lap with nothing but daylight ahead of him.

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) hits the velodrome for the first half-lap with nothing but daylight ahead of him.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Belgian fans went crazy when Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) entered the velodrome by himself, virtually guaranteed of a victory.

Belgian fans went crazy when Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) entered the velodrome by himself, virtually guaranteed of a victory.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) hits the back straight for the last time.

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) hits the back straight for the last time.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) enters the hallowed grounds of the Roubaix velodrome by himself with a comfortable margin back to his chasers.

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) enters the hallowed grounds of the Roubaix velodrome by himself with a comfortable margin back to his chasers.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Van Summeren was almost in tears after his victory

Van Summeren was almost in tears after his victory
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo), floating on cloud nine after his win at Paris-Roubaix.

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo), floating on cloud nine after his win at Paris-Roubaix.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Van Summeren's girlfriend Jasmine was surprised by a marriage proposal

Van Summeren's girlfriend Jasmine was surprised by a marriage proposal
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) enjoys a cold beverage after his win at Paris-Roubaix.

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) enjoys a cold beverage after his win at Paris-Roubaix.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Hushovd celebrates with Van Summeren

Hushovd celebrates with Van Summeren
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) has come close at Paris-Roubaix before and finally gets his long-awaited win.

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) has come close at Paris-Roubaix before and finally gets his long-awaited win.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Gregory Rast (RadioShack) enters the velodrome behind Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank).

Gregory Rast (RadioShack) enters the velodrome behind Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank).
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Yes! Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) finally gets the win that many people have long said he was capable of.

Yes! Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) finally gets the win that many people have long said he was capable of.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ballan digs deep

Ballan digs deep
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) is covered in sweat and dust but utterly elated after winning Paris-Roubaix.

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo) is covered in sweat and dust but utterly elated after winning Paris-Roubaix.
(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) at the finish

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) at the finish
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Van Summeren while on the attack

Van Summeren while on the attack
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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A tired and dirty Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank-SunGard) enjoys a drink

A tired and dirty Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank-SunGard) enjoys a drink
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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World champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) was not happy at the finish

World champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) was not happy at the finish
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Thomas takes his foot out going into a corner

Thomas takes his foot out going into a corner
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil)

Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale)

Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) crashed hard and lost contact with the leaders

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) crashed hard and lost contact with the leaders
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Paris-Roubaix is a hard, hard race

Paris-Roubaix is a hard, hard race
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Cancellara is the dust

Cancellara is the dust
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) and Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highroad)

Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) and Bernhard Eisel (HTC-Highroad)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Manuel Quinziato (BMC) was in the break but late on hit a TV motorbike

Manuel Quinziato (BMC) was in the break but late on hit a TV motorbike
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank)

Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank)
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Van Summeren savours his moment on the podium

Van Summeren savours his moment on the podium
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The huge crowd in the velodrome cheered Van Summeren to victory

The huge crowd in the velodrome cheered Van Summeren to victory
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Cancellara wins the close sprint for second place

Cancellara wins the close sprint for second place
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Johan Van Summeren asked his girlfriend to marry him seconds after winning Paris-Roubaix

Johan Van Summeren asked his girlfriend to marry him seconds after winning Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) talks about his race

Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) talks about his race
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank) was really happy to be on the podium

Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank) was really happy to be on the podium
(Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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A special moment

A special moment
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo) smiles atop the podium

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo) smiles atop the podium
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Van Summeren could hardly lift the cobblestone prize

Van Summeren could hardly lift the cobblestone prize
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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A tired Van Summeren raises an arm in celebration

A tired Van Summeren raises an arm in celebration
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Is there a better way to win a bike race than alone in the Roubaix velodrome?

Is there a better way to win a bike race than alone in the Roubaix velodrome?
(Image credit: ispaphoto.com)
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Cancellara makes another move with Hushovd on his wheel

Cancellara makes another move with Hushovd on his wheel
(Image credit: AFP)
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The cobble gets a kiss

The cobble gets a kiss
(Image credit: AFP)
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Johan Van Summeren raises the famous Pari-Roubaix winner's cobblestone trophy

Johan Van Summeren raises the famous Pari-Roubaix winner's cobblestone trophy
(Image credit: AFP)
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Cancellara congratulates Van Summeren

Cancellara congratulates Van Summeren
(Image credit: AFP)
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The 2011 Paris-Roubaix podium: Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank), Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo) and Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek)

The 2011 Paris-Roubaix podium: Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank), Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo) and Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek)
(Image credit: AFP)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo) celebrates in style

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo) celebrates in style
(Image credit: AFP)
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Van Summeren digs deep on the way to the finish

Van Summeren digs deep on the way to the finish
(Image credit: AFP)
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World champion Tohr Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) on the cobbles

World champion Tohr Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) on the cobbles
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Hushovd leads under the hot sun

Hushovd leads under the hot sun
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) tried to go across to the front group with several strong attacks

Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) tried to go across to the front group with several strong attacks
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Ballan in the velodrome

Ballan in the velodrome
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo) celebrates his solo victory at Paris-Roubaix

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo) celebrates his solo victory at Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Johan Van Summeren celebrates as he crosses the line

Johan Van Summeren celebrates as he crosses the line
(Image credit: AFP)
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Van Summeren is the tallest rider in the pack

Van Summeren is the tallest rider in the pack
(Image credit: AFP)
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Van Summeren celebrates

Van Summeren celebrates
(Image credit: AFP)
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Riders in the early break

Riders in the early break
(Image credit: AFP)
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Alessandro Ballan (BMC) rode sub-judice but finished sixth

Alessandro Ballan (BMC) rode sub-judice but finished sixth
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) was able to control Cancellaraon the cobbles

Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) was able to control Cancellaraon the cobbles
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) tried his hardest but was out numbered

Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) tried his hardest but was out numbered
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo) rides through the dust

Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervelo) rides through the dust
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Johan Van Summeren soloed over the finish line in the Roubaix Velodrome, surviving from an early break which foiled the favourites in the Hell of the North. The Garmin-Cervelo rider took the biggest win of his career, ahead of Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek) and Maarten Tjallingi (Rabobank).

Crashes reduced the favourites to Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek), Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC) by the end. The group had been unable to work together and make a definitive move. Cancellara finally was able to break from them and work his way up, but it was too late, and he had to settle for second.

With tears in his eyes, Van Summeren said, "When I was in the lead group, I knew I had a chance to win. To win ahead of Cancellara - he is such a great rider. I had wonderful legs, it was a great day."

Fast run-up to the cobbles

With an average speed of 45km/h in the first two hours, there was little room for breaks to form. There were attempts, including riders like Bradley Wiggins (Sky) but none got away. There were several crashes including Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervélo), but the Australian was able to continue in contrast to another outsider, Vladimir Gusev (Katusha). The Russian abandoned early in the race.

Ten brave men gap the peloton

Just before the first pavé sector, after almost 100km of racing, a group of eight received some space from the peloton. The group featured David Boucher (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Martin Elmiger (AG2R), Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun), Maarten Tjalingii (Rabobank), Mitchell Docker (Skil-Shimano), Nelson Oliveira (Radioshack), David Veilleux (Europcar) and Timon Seubert (Netapp).

The eight attackers gathered a lead of one and a half minutes. In the peloton there were some counterattacks at the first pavé sectors. While a move from André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) with Koen de Kort (Skil-Shimano) and Gorazd Stangelj (Astana) bridged up with the leaders after 136km, Oliveira dropped back into a chasing group with Luca Paolini (Katusha), Sébastien Turgot (Europcar) and Jaroslaw Marycz (Saxo Bank-SunGard). They were eventually caught by the peloton while speeding towards the famous Arenberg forest. The gap from the 10 remaining leaders on the peloton was 2:40 with 100km to go.

Storming towards the Arenberg forest

In the 10 kilometres before the key pavé sector of Arenberg, the speed in the peloton increased. The result was that the gap between the leaders and the peloton dropped, but also that several crashes occurred in the peloton; Haussler and Roger Hammond were the main casualties. BMC's team leader George Hincapie had bad luck as he punctured shortly before the forest. Elmiger and Tjallingii led the breakaway group over the terrible cobbles of the Trouée d' Arenberg, having just under two minutes left on the peloton.

Arenberg cobbles and Quick Step setbacks

Riders were all over the place in the famous passage through the forest. Geraint Thomas (Sky) received a wheel from teammate Wiggins when he flatted. Suddenly the TV camera focused on favourite Tom Boonen, who was standing next to his bike in the middle of the forest. The Belgian's hopes of equalling Roger De Vlaeminck's record of four wins were ruined by a chain problem. It took ages before Boonen eventually received a new bike and by the time he left the forest, the gap on the main peloton was one minute. When seven men set up an attack in the peloton, others went down, including co-favourite Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM). Quick Step's bad luck continued when their other leader Sylvain Chavanel punctured out of the main peloton.

In front there were still 10 riders left with one minute on a first chase group of seven riders: Lars Boom (Rabobank), Johan Van Summeren (Garmin-Cervélo), Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Baden Cooke (Saxo Bank-Sungard), Lars Bak (HTC-Highroad), Matthew Hayman (Sky), Manuel Quinziato (BMC) and Fréderic Guesdon (FDJ).

Game over for Quick Step

Quick Step's run of bad luck wasn't over when a Rabobank rider went down on the cobbles of sector number 14 at Sars-et-Rosières, taking down Boonen and many others within him. Once again, Boonen needed a lot of time before he got back on his bike and this time his chances on winning this race were down to zero. Meanwhile Chavanel was able to work his way back to the main peloton at the feed zone after 190km. Just before the first chase group bridged up with the 10 leaders, Van Summeren and Roelandts suddenly went down, but both Belgians were able to continue and get back in the front of the race.

In the meantime, Quick Step concluded its unlucky day in the north of France with a crash from Chavanel, leaving them without riders in front of the race. In the chaos after the Arenberg forest a counterattack with John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad), Grégory Rast (Radioshack), Tom Leezer (Rabobank) and Gabriel Rasch (Garmin-Cervélo) was closing the gap to the 17 leaders.

Cancellara unleashes his devils on Mons-en-Pévèle

At 60km from the finish line, a cease-fire in the peloton shed some light on the race situation. There were 21 leaders in front. They built up a gap of one and a half minutes on the peloton that still included former winners Cancellara, O'Grady and Ballan. Two crashes in the peloton marred the fun for Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Filippo Pozzato (Katusha), and later also Leukemans once again.

Just before the cobbles of the renowned tenth sector, the five-starred cobbles of Mons-en-Pévèle Tomas Vaitkus (Astana) and Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Cervélo) anticipated the debates in the peloton. A smart move because on the cobbles there was a huge effort from Cancellara with only Hushovd, Flecha and Ballan able to follow.

Meanwhile several riders dropped out of the lead group. Greipel and De Kort were among them. Vaitkus and Vanmarcke were quickly caught back and the latter delivered some top work to bring the group of seven closer to the leaders, who were riding one minute ahead of them, with 40 kilometres left to race.

At sector number 8, Pont-Thibaut à Ennevelin, the top favourite accelerated again and this time only Hushovd was able to hold the wheel from Cancellara although after the cobbles, Ballan closed the gap on the duo. Sixteen riders were leading the race with Cancellara, Hushovd and Ballan trailing by only half a minute.

The attacks in the lead group were flying around, without severe damage although two riders got dropped. Behind them, there was no cooperation in the elite chase. Cancellara didn't receive support from Hushovd or Ballan, and the Swiss was clearly not interested in a Flanders-scenario.

As a results, several riders managed to return to the trio including Leukemans, while the leaders gained a gap of almost a minute when taking on sector number 6 in Cysoing.

A little later former Paris-Roubaix winner Guesdon flatted and dropped out of the lead group. Just before the infamous sector number 5 at Camphin-en-Pévèle ,it was Danish strong man Bak who accelerated. Rast, Tjallingii and Van Summeren had something left in their tank and they joined the Dane in front of the race.

With 15km to go, the gap had grown to a minute, and Cancellara decided to keep on fighting. He took off, but the others were not about to let him go alone. The time trial world champion flew along, dragging Hushovd with him, overtaking any of the former lead group. His efforts were in vain, though, as he was unable to make any kind of clear break.

At the same time,Van Summeren took off from the lead group, pulling away in a strong solo effort. Tjallingii gave chase, but the Belgian was too strong and coudln't be caught.

Eventually Cancellara was able to break away and catch Tjallingii and Bak, but was not able to come further ahead.

Van Summeren glanced back at the flamme rouge, and saw no one behind him. He entered the Velodrome and rode the closing lap in the blazing sunshine, raising his arms in victory as he crossed the line.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo6:07:28
2Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek0:00:19
3Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
4Grégory Rast (Swi) Team RadioShack
5Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-Highroad0:00:21
6Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:00:36
7Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Highroad0:00:47
8Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo
9Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling
10Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling
11Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJ
12Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
13Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
14Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
15Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - Shimano
16Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar
17Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
18Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana
19John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad0:02:10
20Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team Garmin-Cervelo
21André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto0:03:43
22Baden Cooke (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard
23Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo
24Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team
25David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar0:03:45
26Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:04:06
27Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - Shimano0:04:46
28Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
29Kevin Ista (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
30Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
31Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard
32Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
33Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ
34Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar
35Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
36Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling
37Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
38Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team
39Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar
40Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
41Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Team RadioShack
42George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team
43Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank Sungard
44Gorazd Stangelj (Slo) Pro Team Astana
45Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
46Thomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:04:54
47Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana0:06:42
48Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team RadioShack0:09:16
49Andreas Klier (Ger) Team Garmin-Cervelo
50Alex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-Highroad0:10:06
51Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano0:10:10
52David Boucher (Fra) Omega Pharma-Lotto
53Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
54Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
55Maarten Neyens (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
56Jean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
57Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
58Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
59Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar
60Rony Martias (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:10:14
61Saïd Haddou (Fra) Team Europcar
62Mathieu Claude (Fra) Team Europcar
63Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
64Timon Seubert (Ger) Team Netapp0:10:16
65Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
66Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano
67Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
68William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
69Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:12:58
70Robert Retschke (Ger) Team Netapp
71Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioShack
72Bjorn Selander (USA) Team RadioShack
73Jan Barta (Cze) Team Netapp
74Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
75Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ
76Benjamin King (USA) Team RadioShack
77Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
78Kristijan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale
79Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
80Gael Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller0:13:02
81Romain Lemarchand (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
82Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Pro Team Astana
83Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil - Shimano
84Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
85Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar
86Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale0:13:04
87Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team0:13:06
88Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
89Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team0:13:15
90Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling0:13:50
91Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
92Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
93Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Saxo Bank Sungard0:13:53
94Martin Mortensen (Den) Leopard Trek
95Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ
96Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:13:59
97Marco Bandiera (Ita) Quickstep Cycling Team0:14:02
98Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre - ISD0:17:42
99Dmytro Krivtsov (Ukr) Lampre - ISD
100Alan Marangoni (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
101Mathieu Halleguen (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
102Michael Barry (Can) Sky Procycling
103Alan Perez Lezaun (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
104Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
105Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
106Adam Hansen (Aus) Omega Pharma-Lotto
107Michaël Baer (Swi) Team Netapp
108Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team Netapp
DNFDominic Klemme (Ger) Leopard Trek
DNFGiacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Leopard Trek
HDStuart O'Grady (Aus) Leopard Trek
DNFJoost Posthuma (Ned) Leopard Trek
DNFTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Leopard Trek
DNFWouter Weylandt (Bel) Leopard Trek
DNFRoger Hammond (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo
DNFHeinrich Haussler (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo
DNFKurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Sky Procycling
DNFJeremy Hunt (GBr) Sky Procycling
HDGeraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling
DNFMatthew Harley Goss (Aus) HTC-Highroad
HDMatt Brammeier (Irl) HTC-Highroad
DNFMark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad
HDGatis Smukulis (Lat) HTC-Highroad
DNFTom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
DNFAndreas Stauff (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team
DNFGert Steegmans (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
DNFGuillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
DNFVicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto
DNFAlexander Kristoff (Nor) BMC Racing Team
DNFJohn Murphy (USA) BMC Racing Team
DNFFilippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha Team
DNFVladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team
DNFLeif Hoste (Bel) Katusha Team
DNFMikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha Team
DNFSerguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha Team
DNFAliaksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Katusha Team
DNFLuca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team
DNFNikolay Trusov (Rus) Katusha Team
DNFSteve Houanard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFLloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFAnthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFBjörn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNFThomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNFGorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNFWouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNFBorut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
DNFArnaud Coyot (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
DNFRomain Matheou (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
DNFStéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
DNFTheo Bos (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
DNFRick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
DNFMaarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank Cycling Team
DNFOlivier Bonnaire (Fra) FDJ
DNFYauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ
DNFMatthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ
HDMarcel Kittel (Ger) Skil - Shimano
DNFRoger Kluge (Ger) Skil - Shimano
HDMartin Reimer (Ger) Skil - Shimano
DNFDavide Cimolai (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
DNFJacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
DNFEdward King (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale
DNFArnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
HDAleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
DNFVitaliy Buts (Ukr) Lampre - ISD
HDVitaliy Kondrut (Ukr) Lampre - ISD
DNFAdriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - ISD
DNFBalint Szeghalmi (Hun) Lampre - ISD
HDLuke Roberts (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard
DNFDavid Tanner (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard
DNFNelson Oliveira (Por) Team RadioShack
DNFJesse Sergent (NZl) Team RadioShack
DNFAndrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team
DNFJosé Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFIgnatas Konovalovas (Ltu) Movistar Team
DNFCarlos Oyarzun (Chi) Movistar Team
DNFLuis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFFrancisco Perez Sanchez (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFJose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFAllan Davis (Aus) Pro Team Astana
DNFSimon Clarke (Aus) Pro Team Astana
DNFValentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
DNFJavier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFJonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFPierre Cazaux (Fra) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFGorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFJon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
HDMiguel Minguez Ayala (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFDaniel Sesma (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFEric Baumann (Ger) Team Netapp
DNFSteven Cozza (USA) Team Netapp
DNFAlexander Gottfried (Ger) Team Netapp
DNFJohan Le Bon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
DNFRenaud Dion (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
DNFSébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
DNFFlorian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller

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