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Paris-Roubaix 2017

It looks set to be a warm and dry day in Hell, with a bit of a tailwind to boot, and for that reason, the organisation has delayed the start by 15 minutes to ensure the race reaches the finale (and that level crossing) in and around the planned time. The race was set to roll out of Compiegne at 10.55 local time, but they peloton will instead be flagged away at 11.10. 

The grandees of the Roubaix peloton are rolling up to sign on at the start on the  Place du Général de Gaulle in Compiegne, including last year's winner Mathew Hayman (Orica-Scott). The Australian's unexpected triumph drew comparisons with another veteran winner, Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle. Duclos, of course, won the race aged 37 in 1992... and then won it again the following year.

 

The grandees of the Roubaix peloton are rolling up to sign on at the start on the  Place du Général de Gaulle in Compiegne, including last year's winner Mathew Hayman (Orica-Scott). The Australian's unexpected triumph drew comparisons with another veteran winner, Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle. Duclos, of course, won the race aged 37 in 1992... and then won it again the following year.

 

There are 29 sectors of cobbles on the agenda today, beginning after 95 kilometres at Troisvilles. The full rundown and ratings (in reverse order, as raced):

Secteur 29: Troisvilles à Inchy (2.2km) ***
Secteur 28: Viesly à Quiévy (1.8km) ***
Secteur 27: Quiévy à Saint Python (3.7km) ****
Secteur 26: Viesly à Biastre (3km) ***
Secteur 25: Biastre à Solesmes (0.8km) **
Secteur 24: Vertain à Saint-Martin-sur-Ecaillon (2.3km) ***
Secteur 23: Verchain-Maugré à Quérénaing (1.6km) ***
Secteur 22: Quérénaing à Maing (2.5km) ***
Secteur 21: Maing à Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (1.6km) ***
Secteur 20: Haveluy à Wallers (2.5km) ****
Secteur 19: Trouée d'Arenberg (2.4km) *****
Secteur 18: Wallers à Hélesmes (1.6km) ***
Secteur 17: Hornaing à Wandignies (3.7km) ****
Secteur 16: Warlaing à Brillion (2.4km) ***
Secteur 15: Tilloy à Sars-et-Rosières (2.4km) ****
Secteur 14: Beuvry-la-Forêt à Orchies (1.4km) ***
Secteur 13: Orchies (1.7km) ***
Secteur 12: Auchy-lez-Orchies à Bersée (2.7km) ****
Secteur 11: Mons-en-Pévèle (3km) *****
Secteur 10: Mérignies à Avelin (0.7km) **
Secteur 9: Pont-Thibault à Ennevelin (1.4km) ***
Secteur 8: Templeuve (0.5km) **
Secteur 7: Cysoing à Bourghelles (1.3km) ***
Secteur 6: Bourghelles à Wannehain (1.1km) ***
Secteur 5: Camphin-en-Pévèle (1.8km) ****
Secteur 4: Carrefour de l'Arbre (2.1km) *****
Secteur 3: Grusson (1.1km) **
Secteur 2: Willems à Hem (1.4km) ***
Secteur 1: Roubaix (0.3 km) *

 

As you may or may not have heard, a certain Tom Boonen is hanging up his wheels immediately after today's race. For Boonen - and for the Flemish journalists detailed by their newspapers to shadow Tommeke's every move during his last 100 days as a pro rider - tomorrow is the first day of the rest of their lives. Boonen, of course, is looking to make the last day of this part of his life count too. "'As a rider you start your career and end it. My day is coming soon," Boonen said on Friday. These were his thoughts before his last Sunday in Hell.

 

Boonen, Peter Sagan and company have lined up and are awaiting the delayed start of the 2017 Paris-Roubaix.

 

The bunch rolls away from the Place du Général-de-Gaulle and begins to negotiate the short neutralised zone. 

 

Peter Sagan, Marc Madiot said last year, "doesn't need to win in order to exist." All the same, the world champion would see Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne victory as a disappointing return from his spring campaign, particularly considering his form. Stephen Farrand has all the details on the world champion's custom bike for the cobbles. 

 

Christian Prudhomme emerges from the sun roof of the race director's car and drops the flag at kilometre zero. The 2017 Paris-Roubaix is officially underway...

 

There is an immediate flurry of attacks, with Fortuneo-Vital Concept prominent. A week ago at the Tour of Flanders, the early break slipped clear instantly, but it might take a little longer this morning. 

 

252km remaining from 257km

Five kilometres in and the break has yet to go. Mark McNally  (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) is among the most active riders at the front, but so far the groups attempting to go clear have been too large and unwieldy, and shut down almost instantly.

 

249km remaining from 257km

Cannondale have two riders in a group of seven with a small lead over the peloton, but the speed is still high behind them and this move is by no means established.

 

243km remaining from 257km

This move continues to hover just ahead of the peloton, but the pace has been relentless thus far and the lead is minimal.

 

237km remaining from 257km

Eight riders in this move with a small lead over the bunch: Paddy Bevin and William Clarke of Cannondale-Drapac, Matteo Bono (UAE-Emirates), Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis), Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida) and Coen  Coen Vermeltfoort (Roompot),

 

235km remaining from 257km

Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data) and Alexis Gougeard (AG2R Mondiale) have forged across to swell this group to ten riders, but the peloton is almost upon them once again...

 

232km remaining from 257km

That ten-man move is deemed too dangerous and pegged back. Almost immediately, Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis) attacks and Jasha Sutterlin (Movistar) joins him. This duo has opened a lead of 15 seconds over the peloton, but they're sure to draw some company...

 

228km remaining from 257km

Lemoine and Sutterlin have a lead of 17 seconds over the peloton, but the speed is still high behind and several riders are trying to forge across. Tom Boonen began the day in arm and leg warmers, but barely 30 kilometres in, he has divested himself of both.

 

227km remaining from 257km

Lemoine and Sutterlin's move is snuffed out. Almost 20 miles in and we have still to see a break establish itself. 

 

Brecht Decaluwé reports that Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise manager Walter Planckaert spoke at the start on the importance of putting a rider in the early break. “It’s like a brick of gold that drops into your hands from heaven,” Planckaert said. “For the riders it’s ideal too, because they have a lot of space.” Directeur sportif Hans De Clerq added: “It’s the only race where all the teams want to have somebody in the breakaway.”

 

222km remaining from 257km

That celestial brick of gold is proving elusive to all for the time being. Cofidis and Cannondale-Drapac have been especially active, but still no move establishes itself. 

 

217km remaining from 257km

The race reaches Ham in the departement of the Somme, and despite Cofidis' constant aggression, the break has still to take hold.

 

214km remaining from 257km

The constant flurry of attacks has strung the bunch out into one long line more or less since we left Compiegne, but the elastic still refuses to snap.

 

211km remaining from 257km

Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step) was a notable presence in one of these early attacks, but, not surprisingly, the effort was shut down almost instantaneously. 

 

208km remaining from 257km

Eventually - eventually - there will be a slight lull and a break will ghost clear. But for now, this is a very high-speed slugging match.

 

206km remaining from 257km

A group goes clear with two Katusha-Alpecin riders on board and opens a lead of 10 seconds over the peloton. Could this be the one?

 

204km remaining from 257km

Confirmation of the rapid start to this Paris-Roubaix: 50.9 kilometres have been covered in the opening hour of racing.

 

200km remaining from 257km

Michael Morkov, Mads Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin), Maxime Daniel (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Hugo Hofstetter (Cofidis) and Benjamin Giraud (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) have opened a lead of 20 seconds over the peloton.

 

The quintet nudges its lead out to 25 seconds as they enter Saint-Quentin, but there are plenty of riders trying to hurl themselves across the gap.

 

195km remaining from 257km

Only four teams are represented in this break, and there's no shortage of willingness to try to shut it down. The lead hovers at around 15 seconds.

 

191km remaining from 257km

A problem for Adrien Petit (Direct Energie) as he is forced to the roadside and needs a mechanic's help to extricate a plastic bag from his rear derailleur. It took a long, long time to resolve the issue, and the Frenchman will have to expend a lot of energy to chase back on. The break still hasn't fully established itself and the speed in the bunch remains very brisk indeed.

 

186km remaining from 257km

The presence of two of Alexander Kristoff's teammate was always liable to make this break a difficult sell, and the peloton is almost upon them. We're only 25 kilometres from the first sector of cobbles, and the pace is unlikely to relent before then.

 

181km remaining from 257km

The Morkov group is brought to heel. Gruppo compatto once again, barely 20 kilometres from the gates of Hell...

 

181km remaining from 257km

The Morkov group is brought to heel. Gruppo compatto once again, barely 20 kilometres from the gates of Hell...

 

181km remaining from 257km

The Morkov group is brought to heel. Gruppo compatto once again, barely 20 kilometres from the gates of Hell...

 

181km remaining from 257km

The Morkov group is brought to heel. Gruppo compatto once again, barely 20 kilometres from the gates of Hell...

 

181km remaining from 257km

The Morkov group is brought to heel. Gruppo compatto once again, barely 20 kilometres from the gates of Hell...

 

Tom Boonen's every move and utterance has been documented for posterity over the past three months. As he rolled to the start of his final race in Compiegne this morning, this is what he had to say: "I’m still in my normal shape and my normal way of being. I’m not exploding with emotions or anything but you have to realise… this morning I woke up and I realised that today would be my last race. I also realised having all the stress before the race, I’m going to miss it. It’s the last time we rode up to the square yesterday and it all starts building up. It’s something that will never happen again and everything that happens between here and the track in Roubaix will hopefully be a nice, happy day but it’s still a race and it has to be ridden. Anything can happen."

 

 

The atmosphere was relaxed, Boonen said, on the Quick-Step bus before he went to sign on. "We had a great song on so we were dancing on the bus, we didn’t really talk. It’s too stressful," Boonen said. "At this moment, I’m looking forward to stopping. I’m looking forward to racing the race but then I know at the finish line it is all over and I am ready for it. Last year, when I took the decision, I had it in my mind to give it one more go, everything for Paris-Roubaix and also the other Classics. Now, at this point, I’m happy that I took the decision. My family is also happy that I will be home a bit more. It was just time."

 

175km remaining from 257km

Katusha-Alpecin, meanwhile, resume hostilities at the head of the bunch, as Marco Haller attempts to forge clear ahead of the cobbles at Troisvilles with Wang Meiyin (Bahrain-Merida) for company.

 

172km remaining from 257km

Haller and Wang are pegged back. It looks increasingly like the race will be all together when it hits the cobbles at Troisvilles.

 

169km remaining from 257km

There hasn't been a moment's respite yet. The jostling for positions begins in earnest for the peloton now as we draw closer to the first cobbles at Troisvilles, which are less than ten kilometres away.

 

167km remaining from 257km

Yannick Martinez (Delko Marseille) slips up the road alone, but the peloton is still close at hand as we trundle towards the pave.

 

164km remaining from 257km

Just ahead of the first cobbles, a three-man group has a lead of 40 seconds over the peloton: Yannick Martinez (Delko Marseille), Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) and Mickaël Delage (FDJ).

 

160km remaining from 257km

Abandon all hope ye who enter... Wallays, Martinez and Delage hits the first, 2.2km sector of cobbles at Troisvilles with a lead of 50 seconds over the peloton.

 

Sky and Quick-Step are well-placed towards the head of the bunch on this first sector of cobbles. The pace is brisk rather than excessive across this opening salvo of pave.

 

Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) shows himself at the head of the peloton. It will be fascinating to see what the German - winner of the Tour stage on the cobbles in 2015 - can achieve this afternoon.

 

157km remaining from 257km

One down, 28 to go. Martinez, Wallays and Delage carry a lead of 47 seconds off the first sector of cobbles. Next up is sector 28 at Viesly.

 

153km remaining from 257km

The three leaders extend their lead over the bunch to one minute as they approach the second sector of cobbles at Viesly. This 1.8km sector is given a three-star rating, denoting medium difficulty.

 

Martinez is distanced by Delage and Wallays on this second sector of cobbles. Katusha-Alpecin set the pace in the peloton. The Russian-sponsored squad has set its stall out aggressively today, and we can perhaps expect to see Martin on the offensive relatively early.

 

151km remaining from 257km

A crash in the peloton on the second sector of cobbles. Three AG2R La Mondiale riders went down, and it looked as though Oliver Naesen was among them. A Sky rider also hit the ground on the roadside.

 

Naesen has remounted and rejoined the rear of the peloton. There is a touch of wheels in the bunch between sectors 28 and 27, meanwhile, and Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) is among the riders to come down.

 

256km remaining from 257km

Delage and Wallys are on sector 27, a four-star section from Quiévy to Saint Python, 3.7km in length. They have a lead of 1:00 over the peloton.

 

Oliver Naesen caught the back of the bunch - but the bunch has already been split, and he is having to pick off dropped riders as he chases back up towards the front.

 

Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step) lays down the tempo at the head of the peloton. Boonen and Sagan are among the contenders well-positioned near the front.

 

Sagan hits the front, more to stay out of trouble than to force the pace. A determined delegation from Katusha moves up just as the bunch emerges from the third sector of pave. Just the 26 to go.

 

Luke Durbridge was among the riders caught up in the first crash of the day, and the Australian is chasing alone to latch back up to the bunch ahead of the fourth sector of cobbles from Viesly to Biastre.

 

143km remaining from 257km

Bora-Hansgrohe's Marcus Burghardt takes up the reins on sector 26. The dwindling bunch is 40 seconds down on the escapees.

 

Another crash midway down the peloton on sector 26 reduces it in size still further. Katusha and Bora-Hansgrohe keep their men Kristoff, Martin and Sagan out of trouble near the front. Boonen and Stybar are well-placed not far behind them.

 

140km remaining from 257km

Oliver Naesen is still chasing to get up to the reduced main peloton after his early crash. With each passing sector of pave, he has to pick his way past more and more dropped riders.

 

138km remaining from 257km

Wallys and Delage come off sector 25 at Solesmes with a lead of 20 seconds over the peloton, where there are still plenty of Quick-Step and Katusha jerseys, as well as Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). Luke Rowe, who was possibly caught up in the crash at Troisvilles, is also in there. 

 

135km remaining from 257km

There's a little respite before sector 24, 2.3km, three-star segment of cobbles, and the peloton has swelled in size once again to about 80 riders.

 

Wallays and Delage's adventure comes to an end, meanwhile. They sit up and await the bunch a couple of kilometres shy of sector 24.

 

Oliver Naesen has finally latched back up to the peloton, but he will need to move up ahead of the next sector of cobbles of he risks being caught behind all over again.

 

A puncture for Ian Stannard (Sky) just ahead of sector 24, and the Briton is going to have to negotiate these cobbles on a flat rear tyre. 

 

Luke Durbridge had only just caught the rear of the peloton as they reached sector 24, but as Katusha-Alpecin force the pace, he risks being caught behind all over again unless he can move up in this group quickly.

 

128km remaining from 257km

Wallays and Delage, incidentally, continue to forge on just ahead of the Katusha-led peloton as they emerge from the cobbles of sector 24.

126km remaining from 257km

Stijn Vandenbergh (AG2R La Mondiale) bridges across to Wallays and Delage, and breathes some life into the escape. They are 13 seconds up on the peloton, where Katusha-Alpecin continue to control affairs.

 

124km remaining from 257km

Next up is sector 23, the three-star segment from Verchain-Maugré to Quérénaing. We are a little under 30 kilometres from the Arenberg Forest, and the true beginning of the finale of this Paris-Roubaix...

 

122km remaining from 257km

The main favourites all still have plenty of support around them. There's the usual Quick-Step delegation, Sagan has Bora-Hansgrohe jerseys around him. Van Avermaet has Daniel Oss for company, and Katusha have strength in numbers too.

 

121km remaining from 257km

The bunch closes to within five seconds of the leaders on sector 23. Vandenbergh is no mood to wait for them. The Belgian forces the pace down the right-hand gutter.

 

120km remaining from 257km

Wallays, Delage and Vandenbergh have nudged their lead back out to 20 seconds or so as they rattle onto sector 22 at Quérénaing. The succession of cobbles is beginning to take a toll on the main peloton, where at the back, gaps yawn open and drift shut once again.

 

117km remaining from 257km

Another cobbled section and again Tony Martin rides on the front of the peloton. Sagan sits tucked in third wheel as they emerge from the pave 30 seconds down on the three escapees.

 

116km remaining from 257km

A puncture for Mat Hayman, who is chasing back on to a peloton, which is now being led by BMC.

 

115km remaining from 257km

The peloton is following a familiar staccato rhythm. There is a lull between each sector of cobbles, but then the pace ratchet up once they hit the pave once again. The stop-start pace has seen the break's lead edge out to 35 seconds.

 

114km remaining from 257km

Word reaching us too that Niki Terpstra has reportedly crashed, and the Dutchman finds himself at the back of the race trying to chase back on as the race emerges from sector 21 of cobbles.

 

There's a brief respite of 10 kilometres or so before the next cobbles at Wallers, a four-star sector of 2.5 kilometres, which serves as an introduction to the five-star Forest of Arenberg immediately afterwards.

 

111km remaining from 257km

Vandenbergh, Wallays and Delage take advantage of the lull behind to pad out their margin to 45 seconds. It's a case of the calm before the storm in the peloton. The double whammy of Wallers-Arenberg will set the tone for the remainder of this race.

 

Some running repairs for Greg Van Avermaet at the rear of the bunch, and when he is forced to put his foot down at a bottleneck, he finds himself distanced by 50 metres or so, and he is forced to chase back on with three BMC teammates.

 

Despite their earlier punctures, Mat Hayman and Ian Stannard have found their way back into this main peloton ahead of the Arenberg Forest.

 

107km remaining from 257km

Van Avermaet is safely back aboard the bunch before they hit sector 20 to Wallers. Up front, Delage, Vandenbergh and Wallays maintain their buffer of 47 seconds.

 

2014 winner Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra abandons the race as a consequence of his earlier crash, though Quick-Step, of course, still have a range of options at their disposal.

 

103km remaining from 257km

Vandenbergh, Wallers and Delage hit sector 20 to Wallers with a lead of 33 seconds over the peloton. 

 

Greg Van Avermaet goes down in a crash at the beginning of the cobbles at Wallers, and he needs a replacement bike. He springs to his feet and starts walking backwards in search of his team car. He gets a quick bike replacement, but he is going to have to put in a big, big effort to get back on ahead of the Arenberg. He is already 40 seconds behind the peloton, and 1:19 behind the escapees.

 

There was an injection of pace in the reduced bunch even before that crash. Now Boonen hits the front with Tony Martin on his wheel...

 

101km remaining from 257km

Quick-Step are eager to split this group even before the Arenberg and distance Van Avermaet definitively. The Olympic champion chase alone with increasing desperation.

 

100km remaining from 257km

There are still around 50 riders in the bunch coming off the Wallers sector. Van Avermaet is caught in traffic, and he is forced to pick his way through a group of dropped riders as he exists the sector.

 

Next up, the Trouée d'Arenberg. As if any introduction is needed, it's 2.4km long and, of course, given a five-star difficulty rating.

 

97km remaining from 257km

A four-man Quick-Step delegation leads the reduced peloton on the approach to the Arenberg...

 

96km remaining from 257km

Greg Van Avermaet is almost back up to the main peloton ahead of the Arenberg. There are perhaps 60 or so riders in this group, some 30 seconds behind Vandenbergh, Wallays and Delage.

 

95km remaining from 257km

Vandenbergh leads the break on to the Arenberg. Tony Martin performs the honours for the bunch. Van Avermaet is in fact still 30 seconds behind this bunch, incidentally, and he seems unlikely to see the front of the race again today... 

 

Sagan and Boonen both move up on opposite sides at the same time. Boonen takes up the reins at the front, Sagan on his rear wheel...

 

Boonen strings things out in the main peloton on the cobbles at Arenberg with Sagan and Degenkolb tucked in behind him.

 

Trentin leads the bunch off the Arenberg cobbles with Sagan and Stuyven just behind him.

 

Delage was shaken loose by the leaders on the Arenberg. Vandenbergh and Wallays remain in front, 20 seconds ahead of the peloton, which came through the Arenberg without shedding too many bodies.

 

Delage was shaken loose by the leaders on the Arenberg. Vandenbergh and Wallays remain in front, 20 seconds ahead of the peloton, which came through the Arenberg without shedding too many bodies.

 

89km remaining from 257km

Syvlain Chavanel attacks from the bunch after the Arenberg and bridges across to Wallays. Vandenbergh, meanwhile, has dropped back to the peloton.

 

Chavanel and Wallays have 25 seconds on the bunch on sector 18 from Wallers to Hélesmes. Van Avermaet is still chasing, 45 seconds down on the leaders.

 

86km remaining from 257km

The Van Avermaet group numbers about 15 riders. They have picked up Lars Boom, who had a mechanical problem, and they look set to catch the main peloton ahead of sector 17, the 3.7km segment at Hornaing.

 

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) is also in this Van Avermaet group, incidentally. They are almost within touching distance of Boonen, Sagan et al, but nothing is a given at Paris-Roubaix...

 

Wallays overshoots a right-hand corner and Chavanel is suddenly alone at the head of the race, but he will likely wait for the Belgian. The bunch is 40 seconds back the road, and has now swelled to include the Van Avermaet-Kristoff-Boom group.

 

82km remaining from 257km

Onto sector 17 at Hornaing for Chavanel and Wallays, and their advantage is 35 seconds over a peloton where Trek-Segafredo are setting the pace.

 

Gaps are beginning to drift open in the peloton under the weight of Trek's forcing. Juraj Sagan is among the riders caught behind. His brother Peter, meanwhile, is very prominent towards the front. The world champion has rarely been out of the front ten riders on the cobbles.

 

The Trek forcing has split the bunch. Sagan, Van Avermaet and Degenkolb are in a group of ten riders that doesn't contain any Quick-Step riders... Boonen accelerates to give chase... Balen, do we have a problem?

 

78km remaining from 257km

The Van Avermaet-Sagan group catches Chavanel coming out of the cobbles at Hornaing. As soon as they hit smooth roads, Sagan accelerates, with his teammate Maciej Bodnar on his wheel...

 

Van Avermaet chases in a bid to bring this group up to Sagan. Stybar leads the pursuit in what we can call the main peloton, which contains Boonen.

 

76km remaining from 257km

Four riders in front. Sagan has committed to this move, and he has Bodnar, Daniel Oss (BMC) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) for company...

 

75km remaining from 257km

The Boonen group has caught up to Van Avermaet et al, and they are chasing around 20 seconds behind Sagan, Oss, Bodnar and Stuyven...

 

74km remaining from 257km

Sagan, Oss, Bodnar and Stuyven have opened a lead of 25 seconds over the 23-strong chasing group, which contains Boonen, Van Avermaet, Degenkolb, Kristoff and Tony Martin.

 

73km remaining from 257km

Sagan leads onto sector 16 at Warlaing, as Oss et al fight to hold his wheel. Sky and Lotto Soudal lead the chase in the peloton, 30 seconds down.

 

Boonen takes over in the chasing group on the cobbles and stretches things out. He knows he can't allow Sagan's advantage to yawn open past 30 seconds.

 

An unspecified problem for Sagan, and Bodnar waits for him. Stuyven and Oss press on without them.

 

It appears Sagan had a puncture. He has Bodnar for company in the no man's land between our leaders Stuyven and Oss, and the chasing peloton.

 

Sagan is caught at the entry to sector 15 at  Tilloy, though he opts to set the pace at the front of the group rather than melt back into it.

 

70km remaining from 257km

Stuyven and Oss have a lead of 25 seconds over a shrinking peloton where Boonen, Van Avermaet Stybar and Sagan are all placed towards the front.

 

Tom Boonen accelerates on the cobbles at Tilloy and his forcing looks like splitting this chasing group. Sagan and Degenkolb scramble to follow.

 

68km remaining from 257km

Boonen shook a few riders loose before swinging off, but there is something of a regrouping as they come off the cobbles. Stuyven and Oss, meanwhile, are 30 seconds up the road.

 

65km remaining from 257km

Arnaud Demare (FDJ) attacks from the peloton just ahead of sector 14 from Beuvry to Orchies and opens a small gap. Oss and Stuyven rattle onto the cobbles with a lead of 40 seconds over the chasers.

 

Tony Martin pegs back Demare on the cobbles of sector 14, and continues to force the pace in the chasing peloton. The German's effort string things out and some gaps are beginning to open.

 

Boonen comes through and then follows through with interest. His surging effort stetches those gaps a little further as they emerge from sector 14. Edvald Boasson Hagen, who recently punctured, is among the riders caught behind, and he looks to be irretrievably distanced.

 

Boonen relents once they hits smooth roads and the group increases in size once again. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) senses the lull and attacks to set off in lone pursuit of Oss and Stuyven.

 

60km remaining from 257km

Greipel's counter is brought to heel. There are around 30 rider in this group of favourites as they approach the cobbles at Orchies.

 

Onto sector 13 at Orchies, and Boonen takes up the reins in the chasing group once again. The Belgian has been increasingly active on the pave sectors as the race reaches its denouement.

 

58km remaining from 257km

Boonen lays down a rasping pace on the cobbles at Orchies, and again gaps open further back in the group, but Sagan, Van Avermaet, Degenkolb et al all hold firm behind him.

 

57km remaining from 257km

Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale) attacks just as the pace drops coming off the cobbles. Trentin and Sagan are swiftly onto his wheel and the move dies.

 

Oss and Stuyven lose a clutch of seconds every time the race rattles over the cobbles and then pad their advantage out again as soon as the favourites sit up and look at one other on smooth roads. That kind of stop-start rhythm has helped surprise winners at Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders over the years, but Oss and Stuyven's lead remains very manageable for their pursuers.

 

54km remaining from 257km

Stuyven and Oss extend their advantage to 40 seconds as they hit sector 12 from Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée. 

 

53km remaining from 257km

Stijn Vandenbergh leads the chasers onto the cobbles at Auchy-lez-Orchies. The big contenders seem content to hold their fire for Mons-en-Pévèle, the following sector of pave.

 

51km remaining from 257km

We understand that Luke Rowe (Sky) has abandoned Paris-Roubaix. Tony Martin leads a lined-out Boonen group off the cobbles of sector 12. There are still 30 or so riders in contention ahead of the five-star Mons-en-Pévèle.

 

50km remaining from 257km

Oss has looked more assured than Stuyven on the more recent cobbled sections, but  Mons-en-Pévèle will tell more about their respective prospects.

 

Boonen, Sagan, Van Avermaet, Degenkolb, Hayman, Van Baarle, Stybar, Martin, Demare and Kristoff are all still in this main peloton, which is 50 seconds down on Oss and Stuyven. Gianni Moscon (Sky), Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) and Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis), incidentally, are in a counter-attack just 16 seconds down.

 

The peloton hits the cobbles at Mons-en-Pévèle, and Zdenek Stybar instantly hits the front and forces the pace for Quick-Step.

 

47km remaining from 257km

Sagan comes past Stybar and responds in kind. Boonen is a lot further back in this group than he'd like...

 

Sagan has Stybar locked onto his wheel on the cobbles at Mons-en-Pévèle, and they open a gap over the Boonen group.

 

46km remaining from 257km

At the front, Claeys, Moscon and Roelandts are about to latch up to Oss and Stuyven to give us a five-man leading group. Sagan and Stybar continue to set the tempo just ahead of the Boonen group.

 

Boonen, Van Avermaet, Hayman and Degenkolb are among the riders who have caught back up to Sagan and Stybar just before the end of the Mons-en-Pévèle sector. This has the feel of a decisive selection, but we will see how the dust settles, so to speak...

 

Boonen, Van Avermaet, Hayman and Degenkolb are among the riders who have caught back up to Sagan and Stybar just before the end of the Mons-en-Pévèle sector. This has the feel of a decisive selection, but we will see how the dust settles, so to speak...

 

Boonen, Van Avermaet, Hayman and Degenkolb are among the riders who have caught back up to Sagan and Stybar just before the end of the Mons-en-Pévèle sector. This has the feel of a decisive selection, but we will see how the dust settles, so to speak...

 

44km remaining from 257km

Boonen accelerates on the smooth road that follows. Van Baarle, Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott) and Van Avermaet come with him. You suspect Sagan is going to be forced to close this gap...

 

42km remaining from 257km

Sagan is back up with Boonen on the cobbles at Mérignies. They have Degenkolb, Stybar, Van Baarle, Langeveld, De Back, Chavanel, Degenkolb and Keukeleire for company in this group, and they are just 7 seconds behind the leading quintet.

 

40km remaining from 257km

40 kilometres to go, 9 cobbled sectors remaining and 15 riders still in contention: Boonen, Sagan, Van Avermaet, Oss, Stybar, Degenkolb, Stuyven, De Backer, Moscon, Roelandts, Claeys, Chavanel, Langeveld, Van Baarle and Keukeleire.

 

39km remaining from 257km

Daniel Oss accelerates off the front just ahead of sector 9 from Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin. 

 

A mechanical issue for Keukeleire, and the Belgian loses contact with this elite front group. The remnants of the race, including a desperate Kristoff is reportedly almost a minute behind.

 

37km remaining from 257km

Oss comes through sector 9 with a handful of seconds of an advantage over the group of favourites. The short and relatively benign sector at Templeuve is next on the agenda.

 

35km remaining from 257km

Oss opens his lead out to 24 seconds. Stybar attacks from the chasing group and opens a small gap. 

 

33km remaining from 257km

The chasing group is fragmenting amid the flurry of attack and counter-attack. Daniel Oss is through Templeneuve with a lead of 25 seconds over the chasers.

 

Disaster for Sagan. A rear wheel puncture just as he was attempting to bridge up to Stybar, Roelandts and Van Baarle. 

 

31km remaining from 257km

The chasing group swells in size as Stybar, Roelandts and Langeveld are joined by Van Avermaet, Stuyven and Moscon,. They are 25 seconds down on Oss. Boonen, however, was caught on the wrong side of the split and is 50 seconds behind Oss. The Boonen group went past Sagan as he had his wheel change.

 

28km remaining from 257km

Sagan has bridged back up to the Boonen group, but they are a minute behind Oss. Van The Van Avermaet-Stybar group is 26 seconds down on Oss. Seven sectors of pave remain.

 

27km remaining from 257km

Oss hits the cobbles at Cysoing with a lead of 20 seconds over Stuyven, Van Avermaet, Stybar, Langeveld, Moscon and Roelandts. The Sagan-Boonen group is 50 seconds back.

 

25km remaining from 257km

The Boonen-Sagan group is swelling in number but they remain 45 seconds down on Oss. The Van Avermaet group is just 7 seconds down...

 

24km remaining from 257km

Seven riders at the front with six sectors to go. Van Avermaet, Oss, Stuyven, Roelandts, Moscon, Langeveld and Stybar are 30 seconds clear of the Boonen-Sagan-Degenkolb group.

 

23km remaining from 257km

Marcus Burghardt takes up the pace-making in the Boonen-Sagan group for Bora-Hansgrohe. The gap stands at 28 seconds as they hit sector 6 at Bourghelles.

 

22km remaining from 257km

It's certainly not over for Boonen and Sagan. The gap to Van Avermaet et al has steadied at around 30 seconds with five sectors, including the Carrefour de l'Arbre, still to come.

 

21km remaining from 257km

No one team is seizing the initiative in the Boonen group. Rather than a coherent chase, it's going to take a big surge from one of the main contenders on the cobbles of Camphin-en-Pévèle or the Carrefour de l'Arbre to pin back Van Avermaet and Stybar's advantage.

 

19km remaining from 257km

36 seconds for the leaders as they hit  Camphin-en-Pévèle. Oss swings off, his job done. Six riders left in front: Van Avermaet, Stybar, Langeveld, Moscon, Stuyven and Roelandts.

 

19km remaining from 257km

On paper this is a dream scenario for Van Avermaet - but how much energy did he expend chasing back on across the Arenberg Forest?

 

18km remaining from 257km

Boonen sets the pace in the chasing group on the cobbles at Camphin-en-Pévèle, but their deficit is at 40 seconds and his hopes are fading.

 

17km remaining from 257km

Moscon, Roelandts, Stybar, Stuyven, Van Avemaet and Langeveld reach the Carrefour de l'Arbre with 44 seconds in hand on the chasers. 

 

Van Avermaet puts in a ferocious dig at the beginning of the Carrefour de l'Abre. He won't have five riders for company out the other end...

 

Van Avermaet sets the pace, Stybar is on his wheel. Langeveld and Stuyven follow but Moscon and Roelandts are distanced.

 

16km remaining from 257km

In the chasing group, Boonen accelerates with Degenkolb on his wheel. He is 31 seconds behind the leaders...

 

And then there were three.. Stybar leads Van Avermaet and Langeveld at the head of the race. They seem to have shaken Stuyven loose.

 

Boonen, Degenkolb and Naesen have formed a chase group, 29 seconds down on Van Avermaet, Stybar and Langeveld. A struggling Sagan has lost all hope, and is 59 seconds back.

 

14km remaining from 257km

Van Avermaet, Stybar and Langeveld rattle across the cobbles at the third last sector in Grusson. They have 35 seconds in hand on the Boonen group.

 

13km remaining from 257km

Only two sectors remaining for Van Avermaet, Stybar and Langeveld, who have extended their lead to 37 seconds over the Boonen group. The winner will surely come from this trio...

 

12km remaining from 257km

Stybar is contributed least to this leading trio, doubtless citing his commitment to Boonen.

 

11km remaining from 257km

The Boonen group swells to 15 or so riders, but they are 46 seconds down. There will be no victorious farewell for Tommeke.

 

10km remaining from 257km

10 kilometres and two sectors to go. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac) and Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step) lead by 50 seconds.

 

9km remaining from 257km

Although the gap has yawned out to 50 seconds, Stybar continues to sit on the back on this group. Surely they won't give him a free ride to the gates of the velodrome.

 

8km remaining from 257km

Moscon and Stuyven, incidentally, are between the leading group and the Boonen group. They trail Van Avermaet et al by 35 seconds.

 

8km remaining from 257km

Onto the 1.4km sector at Willems for the three leaders. They are 45 seconds up on Moscon and Stuyven, 1:07 ahead of Boonen.

 

7km remaining from 257km

Langeveld leads the break through the cobbled sector. Stybar sits in second wheel, while Van Avermaet rides third.

 

6km remaining from 257km

Van Avermaet zooms to the front towards the end of the cobbled sector. He shot Stybar a look as he came past. His displeasure at Stybar's lack of collaboration is clear.

 

6km remaining from 257km

Still Stybar sits int he wheels as Van Avermaet and Langeveld exchange turns on the smooth roads that follow Willems. 

 

5km remaining from 257km

Boonen is over a minute behind. Stybar really no longer has an alibi, but Van Avermaet and Langeveld continue to tow him towards the velodrome.

 

4km remaining from 257km

Van Avermaet continues to pile on the pressure at the front. Langeveld comes through. Stybar remains locked in third wheel.

 

4km remaining from 257km

It was inevitable. Stybar attacks from the back of the group with four kilometres remaining. Van Avermaet shuts him down instantly.

 

3km remaining from 257km

Langeveld ghosts off the front and Van Avermaet pulls aside. Over to you, Zdenek. Stybar gives chase and brings Van Avermaet back up to Langeveld.

 

3km remaining from 257km

The mutual distrust in this leading group is something to behold, but they still have 40 seconds in hand on the chasers.

 

2km remaining from 257km

Stybar belatedly takes a turn on the front, but it's short. Van Avermaet comes through once again.

 

2km remaining from 257km

Langeveld is now the man locking himself onto the rear of the group, as Van Avermaet and Stybar uneasily exchange passive-aggressive turns.

 

1km remaining from 257km

Onto the gentle final sector of cobbles in the streets of Roubaix for the three leaders.

 

1km remaining from 257km

Van Avermaet leads Stybar and Langeveld into the final kilometre. They will arrive together to the velodrome.

 

Van Avermaet leads onto the velodrome. Stybar moves up to the top of the banking.

 

Stybar leads into the final lap at the top of the banking, with Van Avermaet behind him. They soft pedal around the crown of the bend, and Stuyven and Moscon have caught them!

 

Moscon goes immediately...

 

Stybar opens his sprint and comes around Moscon with Van Avermaet on his wheel...

 

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) wins Paris-Roubaix ahead of Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors).

 

Sebastien Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac) takes third ahead of Moscon and Stuyven.

 

Van Avermaet joins the club and becomes a Monuments man. The multi-talented James Startt captures the moment for posterity on the grass in the centre of the Roubaix velodrome.

 

Result:

1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing 5:41:07
2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
3 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
4 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
5 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky
 

 

Arnaud Demare (FDJ) won the sprint for 6th place, 12 seconds back. A disappointed Tom Boonen came home in that sizeable group.

 

Result:

 

1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing 5:41:07
2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
3 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
4 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
5 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky
6 Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ  00:00:12
7 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
8 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9 Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
10 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
 

 

 

Greg Van Avermaet speaks: "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. I had a bit of bad luck before the Arenberg but the team did good work. Everybody was in the right place for me and Daniel Oss did really good work and everything came together for me.

 

The average speed for this Paris-Roubaix was 45.204kph. This was the fastest in history, out-stripping Peter Post's longstanding 1964 record when, of course, the race featured far fewer kilometres of cobbles.

 

 

 

Tom Boonen finished his final race in 13th place, 12 seconds down on Van Avermaet. After a shower aboard the Quick-Step bus, he performed his final media duties as a professional bike rider in the scrum that formed outside.

 

 

 

Defending champion Mat Hayman finished in 11th place, in the same group as Boonen.

 

 

Peter Sagan, meanwhile, came home in 38th place, 5:12 down on Van Avermaet, his race undone by two punctures. So it goes.

 

Result:

1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 5:41:07
2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
3 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
4 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
5 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Sky
6 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ 0:00:12
7 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
8 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9 Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
10 John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
11 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica-Scott
12 Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
13 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
14 Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
15 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team
16 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
17 Piet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise
18 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal
19 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie
20 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
 

 

Thanks for joining our live coverage on Cyclingnews today. A full report, results and pictures will follow here, and we'll have all the news and reaction from Stephen Farrand, Sadhbh O'Shea and Brecht Decaluwe in Roubaix.

 

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