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The peloton has gathered in Compiègne for the first edition of the men's Paris-Roubaix in over two years. Postponed and then cancelled in 2020, and then postponed once more this spring, l'Enfer du Nord finally takes place on the first Sunday in October in what are set to be extremely testing conditions.

The roll-out is at 11.00am local time, with the peloton set to hit kilometre zero at 11.15. The first of 30 sectors of cobblestones comes after 96km at Troisvilles.

Rain has been general over Compiègne and northern France overnight, and this will be the first wet edition of Paris-Roubaix since... yesterday, when Lizzie Deignan soloed to victory in treacherous conditions to win the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes. Read ten conclusions from the race here.

ROUBAIX FRANCE OCTOBER 02 Elisabeth DeignanArmitstead of United Kingdom and Team Trek Segafredo celebrates winning in the Roubaix Velodrome Vlodrome Andr Ptrieux during the 1st ParisRoubaix 2021 Womens Elite a 1164km race from Denain to Roubaix ParisRoubaixFemmes ParisRoubaix on October 02 2021 in Roubaix France Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The last rain-soaked men's edition of Paris-Roubaix came in 2002, when Johan Museeuw soloed to his third and final win on the famous old velodrome. Some riders in the field today, including Peter Sagan, Sep Vanmarcke, Michal Kwiatkowski and Matteo Trentin, sampled the Hell of the North in miserable weather on stage 5 of the 2014 Tour de France, when Lars Boom claimed stage honours in Arenberg and Vincenzo Nibali placed a hefty downpayment on final overall victory.

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) is among the top tier of contenders for today's delayed race, though his media duties in midweek were largely devoted to poring over the details of the World Championships road race after Remco Evenepoel queried the Belgian strategy. He did, however, have the time to look ahead to the Queen of the Classics. "It's going to be a big mess when the cobbles are wet," Van Aert told Cyclingnews. "I'm not really in the group of guys looking forward to a wet Roubaix actually. I think it's really dangerous and for me, the race doesn't need all these extra difficulties." Read more here.

Belgian Wout Van Aert of Team Jumbo-Visma pictured in action during a training session ahead of the 118th edition of the 'Paris-Roubaix' one day cycling race, from Compiegne, near Paris to Roubaix, Thursday 30 September 2021. Due to the ongoing corona virus pandemic, the 2020 edition was cancelled and the 2021 edition was postponed from spring to autumn. For the first time, there will be a women's race Paris-Roubaix as well. BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN (Photo by DAVID STOCKMAN/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

(Image credit: David Stockman/Belga/AFP/Getty Images)

Van Aert's eternal rival Mathieu van der Poel, on the other hand, has suggested that a wet Paris-Roubaix would be 'quite cool.' The Dutchman is making his thrice-delayed debut in the race today. "I think it's quite cool if it rains but yeah, it will dangerous, for sure," Van der Poel said. Read more here.

Mathieu van der Poel wins stage 2 of the 2021 Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Kasper Asgreen has the chance to complete the rarest Tour of Flanders-Paris-Roubaix double of them all this afternoon. The Dane beat Van der Poel to the line in Oudernaarde in April but has had to wait 6 months rather than 7 days for the chance to add Roubaix to his palmarès. "I’m in a completely different stage of my shape right now," Asgreen said on Thursday. "Had it been week apart, like normal, you could use the confidence that your shape was where it was supposed to be, but now it’s been so long, it’s like starting over." Read the full story here.

FOIA PORTUGAL MAY 06 Kasper Asgreen of Denmark and Team Deceuninck QuickStep during the 47th Volta Ao Algarve 2021 Stage 2 a 1828km stage from Sagres to Fia 890m VoltAlgarve VAlgarve2021 on May 06 2021 in Fia Portugal Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The peloton rolls out for the start of Paris-Roubaix beneath steady rain. The riders are negotiating the rain-slicked cobblestones of Compiègne, but they will face rather more daunting cobbles later in the afternoon. They a 7km neutralised zone to navigate before the start proper.

Paris-Roubaix

(Image credit: Daniel Ostanek)

The 30 sectors of pavé

  • 30 : Troisvilles to Inchy (km 96,3 – 2,2 km) ***
  • 29 : Viesly to Quiévy (km 102,8 – 1,8 km) ***
  • 28 : Quiévy to Saint-Python (km 105,4 – 3,7 km) ****
  • 27 : Saint-Python (km 110,1 - 1,5 km) **
  • 26 : Haussy to Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon (km 116,6 - 0,8 km) **
  • 25 : Saint-Martin-sur-Ecaillon to Vertain (km 120,9 - 2,3 km) ***
  • 24 : Capelle to Ruesnes (km 127,3 - 1,7 km) ***
  • 23 : Artres to Quérénaing (km 136,3 - 1,3 km) **
  • 22 : Quérénaing to Maing (km 138,1 - 2,5 km) ***
  • 21 : Maing to Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (km 141,2 - 1,6 km) ***
  • 20 : Haveluy to Wallers (km 154,2 - 2,5 km) ****
  • 19 : Trouée d'Arenberg (km 162,4 - 2,3 km) *****
  • 18 : Wallers to Hélesmes (km 168,4 - 1,6 km) ***
  • 17 : Hornaing to Wandignies (km 175,2 - 3,7 km) ****
  • 16 : Warlaing to Brillon (km 182,7 - 2,4 km) ***
  • 15 : Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières (km 186,2 - 2,4 km) ****
  • 14 : Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies (km 192,5 - 1,4 km) ***
  • 13 : Orchies (km 197,5 - 1,7 km) ***
  • 12 : Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée (km 203,6 - 2,7 km) ****
  • 11 : Mons-en-Pévèle (km 209,1 - 3 km) *****
  • 10 : Mérignies to Avelin (km 215,1 - 0,7 km) **
  • 9 : Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin (km 218,5 - 1,4 km) ***
  • 8 : Templeuve - L'Epinette (km 223,9 - 0,2 km) *
  • 8 : Templeuve - Moulin-de-Vertain (km 224,4 - 0,5 km) **
  • 7 : Cysoing to Bourghelles (km 230,8 - 1,3 km) ***
  • 6 : Bourghelles to Wannehain (km 233,3 - 1,1 km) ***
  • 5 : Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 237,8 - 1,8 km) ****
  • 4 : Carrefour de l'Arbre (km 240,5 - 2,1 km) *****
  • 3 : Gruson (km 242,8 - 1,1 km) **
  • 2 : Willems to Hem (km 249,5 - 1,4 km) ***
  • 1 : Roubaix - Espace Charles Crupelandt (km 256,3 - 0,3 km) *

-257.7km

The peloton has hit kilometre zero, with rain still falling heavily over northern France. The 2021 edition of Paris-Roubaix is formally - and finally - underway.

Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka) is the first rider to attack but he isn't given much leeway.

The day's first crash also takes place at the rear of the peloton, with Jonas Vangenechten (B&B Hotels) going down with an EF-Nippo rider. Both men are quickly back on their feet, but that is a pretty dispiriting way to start a race as demanding as this...

Mitch Docker was the EF rider to hit the ground in what is set to be the final race of his career.

-253km

The peloton is still together in this opening pahse of the race but there is no shortage of willing attackers. Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) and Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroën) are among the riders on the offensive, which already suggests this might be a very, very different kind of Paris-Roubaix...

Matteo Trentin and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) have opened a small gap over the peloton, but they will want some company if their raid is to establish itself as the day's early break.

-250km

Theuns and Trentin have been joined by Max Kanter (DSM) off the front. They have a gap of 10 seconds or so over the peloton.

-247km

Break:

Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates), Max Kanter (DSM) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)

Peloton at 0:23

Deceuninck-QuickStep have dispatched Davide Ballerini to try to forge across to this early break, which has prompted a reaction from the peloton. 15 seconds the gap to Trentin, Kanter and Theuns. 

-243km

Matteo Trentin sits up to wait for the peloton, reasoning that this move won't be granted much leeway. Kanter and Theuns remain in front, 10 seconds or so clear of the bunch.

-241km

Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and Max Kanter (DSM) remain committed to their move for the time being, still with a dozen seconds or so on the peloton. The rain continues to cascade over the race. 

-239km

Another group of counter-attackers is trying to bridge across to Kanter and Theuns as their lead stretches briefly to 20 seconds. It's been, unsurprisingly, a rapid start to proceedings on this edition of Paris-Roubaix.

Ludovic Robeet (Bingoal-WB) is alone between the break and the peloton, but closing the gap by himself will not be easy. The Belgian was an impressive winner of Nokere Koerse this spring. 

-236km

Theuns and Kanter now have 35 seconds on the peloton. In between, Robeet sits up and waits for the chasing bunch.

Theuns and Kanter are stretching their advantage but there is still plenty of activity at the head of the peloton, with Movistar and Deceuninck-QuickStep both seemingly keen to place a man in the early move if at all possible.

Those accelerations are stretching out the peloton and cutting into Theuns and Kanter's advantage, which has been pared back to 14 seconds. Tim Declercq is very active for Deceuninck-QuickStep at the head of the bunch.

-234km

That flurry of accelerations has seen Kanter and Theuns' advantage drop to 12 seconds. 

The driving rain has reduced visibility but when Theuns and Kanter look over their shoulders, they can clearly see the peloton bearing down upon them. Yet still they remain committed to their effort and the gap stays steady at 12 seconds for the time being.

-230km

Break:

Max Kanter (DSM) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo)

Peloton at 0:16

-228km

Theuns and Kanter have realised that their move is going nowhere fast, and they sit up. Gruppo compatto.

-227km

Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroen) and Sven Erik Bystrom (UAE Team Emirates) are the next riders to try their luck, opening a small gap over the peloton. Van Avermaet may have insisted that his chances of victory are slim in the extreme, but few will want to give the 2017 winner much leeway.

-224km

The Van Avermaet-Bystrom move is brought back. Now Silvan Dillier (Alpecin-Fenix) has a go, but there is precious little by the way of freedom to be had here and the bunch remains together. 

-221km

More accelerations off the front of the peloton, with AG2R and BikeExchange among the most active teams, but the bunch remains together. Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka) makes another effort, but nothing to be done. Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) is the next to have a go, but Tim Declercq quickly snuffs out his effort for Deceuninck-QuickStep.

-216km

The pace has been unrelenting thus far, and there's another flurry of attacks on an exposed section of road. This has strung out the peloton once again and some gaps are opening at the front, but still a break hasn't managed to establish itself.

-214km

A split in the peloton and there is a group of 20 or so riders with a small gap over the peloton. Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Luke Rowe (Ineos) and Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo) are among the riders up there. 

Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroen) is also up there. It looks as though the peloton should bring them back before the gap calcifies, but it's not a given either. There are plenty of strongmen in the front group and they seem keen to force the bunch to work to bring them back at the very least.

This front group of 30 riders or so has a lead of 15 seconds over the peloton.

Some of the riders in front include Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R), Tim Declercq, Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Luke Rowe (Ineos) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix). Jumbo-Visma also have a representative up here, which begs the question - who will lead the chase? 

-206km

Edoardo Affini and Nathan Van Hooydonck are the men in this front group for Jumbo-Visma. The leaders have stretched their advantage out to 40 seconds. 

-201km

The men at the head of the race are: Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Edoardo Affini, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Andre Carvalho (Cofidis), Owain Doull, Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe (Ineos), Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko), Niks Eeekhoof (DSM), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Imanol Erviti, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar).

Their lead over the peloton is 59 seconds. 

Bora-Hansgrohe have Daniel Oss in this front group, but Peter Sagan is their leader, and so they are leading the chase in the peloton, a minute down on the 27 leaders.

-200km

Break:

Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Edoardo Affini, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Andre Carvalho (Cofidis), Owain Doull, Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe (Ineos), Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko), Niks Eeekhoof (DSM), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Imanol Erviti, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar).

Peloton at 1:03

A group of almost 30 riders can often be unwieldy but the leaders are combining well for the time being. Astana missed the move altogether, and they have joined Bora is leading the pursuit in the peloton. 

A puncture for Owain Doull forces him out of the break and back to the peloton. Meanwhile, Stefan Küng has crashed while leading the break into a roundabout. He was the only rider to go down from the break, though Jordie Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe) crashed at the same point in the bunch.

Küng remounted but the Swiss rider looks set to be caught by the peloton. 

-194km

Break:

Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Edoardo Affini, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Andre Carvalho (Cofidis), Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe (Ineos), Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko), Niks Eeekhoof (DSM), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Imanol Erviti, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar).

Peloton at 0:57

Küng hasn't sat up and waited for the bunch. The Swiss rider is instead ploughing a lone furrow just ahead of the peloton. He should be brought back soon, mind, and that will leave Groupama-FDJ without representation in front. That, in turn, might see Marc Madiot's team join Bora and Astana in riding at the head of the bunch.

-190km

Stefan Küng is brought back by the peloton, which is 1:12 down on the escapees. 

-189km

A little under 30km to the first sector of cobbles at Troisvilles. This group has 1:22 on the peloton. It's a long, long way to Roubaix, but unlike in any other Monument, the winner of the race could well be in this move. 

A couple of names were missing from the original list of escapees. Lotto Soudal have three men up here and Marco Haller is also present for Bahrain Victorious. The current group in full is: Florian Vermeersch, Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Edoardo Affini, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright, Marco Haller (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Andre Carvalho (Cofidis), Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe (Ineos), Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko), Niks Eeekhoof (DSM), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Imanol Erviti, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels-KTM).

-186km

Astana and Bora-Hansgrohe lead the chase in the peloton, 1:17 down on the 29 leaders. 

-179km

Arkea-Samsic have also joined the chase effort in the peloton, 1:09 behind a 29-man move that is working reasonably cohesively for the time being. The rain, of course, remains constant. It has been a hard-fought race thus far and we have yet to see a cobblestone.

-177km

Break: 

Florian Vermeersch, Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Edoardo Affini, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright, Marco Haller (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Andre Carvalho (Cofidis), Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe (Ineos), Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko), Niks Eeekhoof (DSM), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Imanol Erviti, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels-KTM)

Peloton at 1:09

-174km

As well as the rain, the wind is persistent and the race is set to hit an exposed section of crosswind ahead of the first sector of cobbles. Never mind the Arenberg, this race could be blown wide open from Troisvilles. The men in front, meanwhile, will be doubly glad to have avoided the chaos that seems destined to ensue in the main peloton behind.

-171km

Break:

Florian Vermeersch, Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Edoardo Affini, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright, Marco Haller (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Andre Carvalho (Cofidis), Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe (Ineos), Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko), Niks Eeekhoof (DSM), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Imanol Erviti, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels-KTM)

Peloton at 1:28

10km to the cobbles at Troisvilles and the tension is palpable in the peloton, with riders scrambling for position at the front.

-169km

The break's lead has extended slightly on the approach to Troisvilles. 1:42 the gap.

A puncture in the break for Marco Haller just ahead of the first sector of cobbles. The Austrian is riding on the rim for the time being, hoping his team car can get up to provide a rapid bike change before he hits Troisvilles.

No team car for Haller, who has to stop and get a wheel change from the neutral car. That takes a little longer, even if the mechanic did it pretty swiftly, but Haller will struggle to get back on. Wright tries to slow the move on his behalf, but it won't be easy.

-164km

A crash in the peloton ahead of the cobbles at Troisvilles. A Groupama-FDJ rider slid out on a corner and brought a few riders with him. Wout van Aert was safely tucked in behind a Jumbo-Visma teammate at the front of the bunch and he avoided the incident.

-163km

The unfortunate Stefan Kung was the Groupama-FDJ faller. He's back on his bike but that's two crashes even before the first sector of cobbles.

-162km

Break:

Florian Vermeersch, Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Edoardo Affini, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Andre Carvalho (Cofidis), Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe (Ineos), Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko), Niks Eeekhoof (DSM), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Imanol Erviti, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels-KTM)

Chaser at 0:35:

Marco Haller (Bahrain Victorious)

Peloton at 1:52

-161km

The break hits the cobbles at Troisvilles with a lead of 1:40 over the peloton. This first sector is 2.2km in length and given a difficulty rating of three stars.

Luke Rowe and Gianni Moscon lead the break through this first sector. The bunch has also reached the cobbles at Troisvilles. For many, this will be the point to abandon all hope...

Van Avermaet is at the rear of the break, the Belgian taking a cautious approach through the first sector of cobbles, which is quite treacherous. The peloton, meanwhile, is strung out in a long line.

-157km

The escapees are safely through the first sector of cobbles with a lead of 1:40 over the peloton. A couple of riders were shaken loose, including Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies).

The peloton, meanwhile, was splintered into at least three groups by that opening sector of cobbles. One down, 29 to go. This will be a race of elimination...

Matteo Trentin is among the riders caught on the wrong side of the split in the peloton but he might get back on if the pace relents a notch after that first, thunderous passage over the cobbles.

The break hits sector 29 at Viesly with a lead of 2:08 on the peloton.

The break is splintering still further on this second sector, with Tim Declercq among those who risk being left behind. It appears as though the Belgian has a puncture...

-151km

Luke Rowe and Gianni Moscon have been well placed at the head of the break and they lead again onto the third sector of cobbles. There are still 20 or so riders in this group, with Declercq, Haller, Oss and Erviti among those to have been dislodged. They have 2:20 on a very fragmented peloton.

-148km

The break comes off sector 28 with a lead of 2:20 over the peloton. The escapees have stretched their advantage over the peloton through the first three sectors. And peloton is a very loose term. The bunch has splintered to pieces, and the front of the peloton has been whittled down to its bare bones. Men like Van Aert and Van der Poel won't have many teammates around them to help chase down the early break.

-146km

Onto sector 26 for the leaders, who have 2:12 on the peloton. Luke Rowe continues to force the pace across this sector in a bid to force another selection in this move.

-144km

Coming out of sector 26, Luke Rowe has managed to bring a group of four riders clear. Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), Nils Eeekhoof (DSM) and Max Walscheid (Qhubeka) combine with Rowe to open a small gap over the rest of the break. 

-143km

Break:

Luke Rowe (Ineos), Nils Eeekhoof (DSM), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal)

Chasers at 0:18

Peloton at 2:36

-141km

A mechanical incident for Mathieu van der Poel in the main peloton. Silvan Dillier waits for him to help pace him back up to the group of favourites, which is now 2:42 down on the four leadewrs Rowe, Walscheid, Eekhoff and Vermeersch. 

-140km

Rowe, Walscheid, Eekhoff and Vermeersch hit sector 26 (800m) with a lead of 18 seconds over the rest of the break, 2:42 on the peloton and 3:02 on the chasing Van der Poel.

Break:

Luke Rowe (Ineos), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), Nilks Eekhoff (DSM)

Chasers at 0:17:

Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Edoardo Affini, Timo Roosen, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Andre Carvalho (Cofidis), Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Gianni Moscon (Ineos), Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels-KTM)

Pelototn at 2:49

-136.5km

Onto sector 25 for Rowe, Eekhoff, Walscheid and Vermeersch. The sector from Saint-Martin-sur-Ecaillon to Vertain is 2.3km long and given a three-star rating.

-135.5km

A crash in the main peloton for Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe). A rider came down in front of him and the 2018 winner couldn't avoid coming down heavily. He remounts and begins to give chase, but this crash has undoubtedly complicated his task considerably this afternoon. 

Sagan is pedalling quite gingerly, and it's not clear if he will be able to make his way back up to the group of favourites. 

Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), meanwhile, hits the front of the reduced peloton on sector 25 and strings things out once again.

Luke Rowe (Ineos) has correctly deduced that the safest place to be in this race is on the front. The Welshman leads through sector 25 and opens a small gap over his three breakaway companions.

Back in the main peloton, Stefan Küng falls for the third time. The Swiss rider has done well to chase back after his second crash but this might be the end of his race as he waits a long, long time for a replacement bike. 

Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) is also on the roadside waiting for a new bike and this could torpedo his challenge to boot.

-133km

Break:

Luke Rowe (Ineos), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), Nilks Eekhoff (DSM)

Chasers at 0:18:

Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Edoardo Affini, Timo Roosen, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Andre Carvalho (Cofidis), Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Gianni Moscon (Ineos), Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels-KTM)

Peloton at 2:27

Rowe has been rejoined by Walscheid, Eekhoff and Vermeersch after sector 25. The Welshman is pedalling smoothly and now he is trying to marshal this four-man move to collaborate with him. 

Luke Rowe (Ineos), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal) and Nils Eekhoff (DSM) have stretched their lead over the rest of the earlyh break to 31 seconds as they enter sector 24, which is 1.7km in length and rated three stars. The peloton is at 2:35. 

Peter Sagan is still in the race but he is not pedalling fluidly and he appears to be 4:28 down on the leaders and almost two minutes down on the group of favourites. 

Max Walscheid crashes out of the front group on sector 24, and it appears that Luke Rowe had already lost contact, though our television pictures did not show precisely what fate befell the Welshman. Vermeersch and Eekhoff remain in front, 54 seconds clear of what now appears to be a completely fragmented chasing group. And the peloton, such as it is, is now 2:47 back. Word has been reaching us that both Van Aert and Van der Poel have been trying to escape the peloton, but the television cameras have yet to pick that up.

Now we see the 'peloton' which is the third group on the road, composed of 12 riders or so. Wout van Aert, Florian Senechal and Kasper Asgreen are in there, but another dozen or so riders are about to make contact with them. 

John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal) was among the riders trying to catch the Van Aert group, but the German's wheels slip from under him. He gets back to his feet but he has bike issues and that has stopped him on the side of the road on sector 24.

-125km

Nils Eekhoff (DSM) and Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal) are the men at the head of the race, but it's carnage behind. Luke Rowe (Ineos) has dropped back to the remnants of the break, which is at 43 seconds. The Van Aert group, which we're generously describing a peloton, is at 2:42. We believe Van der Poel and the Deceuninck-QuickStep duo of Asgreen and Senechal are in that group of 20 or so riders. The men missing from that group include 2019 winner Philippe Gilbert and crash victim Peter Sagan. 

-123km

On smooth roads, Matej Mohoric attacks from the Van Aert group, but his move is immediately shut down by Michal Kwiatkowski. Sector 23 is the next stretch of cobbles, 1300m in length and rated two stars. 

Florian Vermeersch is a Paris-Roubaix debutant, but he has an aptitude for this kind of fare, writes our man in Roubaix Brecht Decaluwé. He has the body to go well over the cobbles: 193cm & 85kg, according to Sporza. He rode cyclo-cross in the junior category, battling it often out with men like Thomas Pidcock and Ben Turner.

-121km

Vermeersch and Eekhoff hit sector 23 with a lead of 54 seconds on the chasers and 2:45 on the peloton, aka the Van Aert-Van der Poel group.

Nils Eekhoff, so controversially disqualified from the under-23 Worlds road race two years, is also making his Paris-Roubaix debut. The two neophytes at the head of the race have raced with considerable poise thus far in the most trying of conditions. Van Aert, Van der Poel et al will hope that they don't have the endurace to cope with that additional hour of racing in the finale of a Monument. 

Florian Senechal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) leads the peloton onto sector 23. Peloton is perhaps a generous description of this group, which also includes his teammates Asgreen and Zdenek Stybar, plus the big favourites Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel. They are 2:50 down on the two young leaders. 

The leaders are on sector 22, as is the chasing group, which trails by 56 seconds. The peloton, meanwhile, is at 2:56.

Some of the names to note in this peloton, which perhaps 30 riders, include Van Aert, Van der Poel, Colbrelli, Mohoric, Stybar, Senechal, Asgreen and Kwiatkowski. 

The stars in that group are a little bereft of water carriers, however, and that might explain why their deficit is stretching out towards 2:55. At the back of the peloton, meanwhile, it looks as though Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) has worn out his brakes, and he has to use his foot to slow down...

-116km

Vermeersch and Eekhoff rattle off sector 22 and then quickly onto sector 21 with 55 seconds on their immediate pursuers and 2:53 on the peloton.

Wout van Aert takes matters in hand in the peloton. The Belgian champion stretches things out on sector 22, with Kwiatkowski on his wheel. Affini, who dropped back from the break, is in third wheel, with Van der Poel fourth, and this surge has split the peloton...

We haven't seen the second group on the road in a while, but we believe Deceuninck-QuickStep still have Davide Ballerini in there. They have Senechal, Asgreen and Stybar in the Van Aert group...

Van der Poel responds to Van Aert's surge with an acceleration of his own once the peloton hits smooth roads between sectors 22 and 21. This race is absolutely brutal... And they haven't even reached the Arenberg...

Christophe Laporte, meanwhile, continue to rest his right foot on his rear wheel to brake, demonstrating both his own remarkable skills - and the limitations of disc brakes... The Frenchman is, not surprisingly, starting to lose contact with the peloton.

The rain has stopped for the first time, per Sporza's Renaat Schotte, but the conditions underwheel remain so treacherous that it will be only a marginal relief at this point.

Deceuninck-QuickStep also have Yves Lampaert in the Van Aert group. The Belgian had a mechanical issue a few sectors ago, but he has managed to get himself back into the race.

-112km

Break:

Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), Nils Eekhoff (DSM)

Chasers at 1:00

Peloton at 2:35

-110km

After that earlier exchange of accelerations from Van Aert and Van der Poel, the peloton has expanded in size to 40 or more riders. They are 2:52 down on the leaders. There is a brief detente on a stretch of smooth road and Van Aert avails of the opportunity to jump aboard a clean bike ahead of the Forest of Arenberg. 

-108km

Vermeersch and Eekhoff are 5km away from the four-star sector from Haveluy to Wallers, which precedes the Arenberg. Back in the peloton, meanwhile, Jasha Sutterlin (DSM) and Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty) go down in a crash. Van Aert is back in the bunch after his bike change. Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) is also in this group, incidentally, but Sagan is some way down after his earlier crash.

-105km

Break:

Nils Eekhoff (DSM), Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal)

Chasers at 0:44

Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal), Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Timo Roosen, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Andre Carvalho (Cofidis), Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Luke Rowe, Gianni Moscon (Ineos), Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies), Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar)

Peloton at 2:39

Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal) has managed to fight his way back up to the main peloton ahead of the Wallers and Arenberg combination.

A crash in the peloton as they negotiate a roundabout. Max Schachmann slides off on the left-hand side, with two DSM riders following him, while a pair of AG2R men go down to the right.

-103km

Onto sector 20 at Wallers (2.5km, four stars) for the two leaders Vermeersch and Eekhoff, who have 46 seconds on the chasers and 2:20 on the peloton.

Greg Van Avermaet looks into the camera and exhales as the television motorbike draws up beside him in the peloton. This has already been a most arduous edition of Paris-Roubaix.

Kasper Asgreen rides on the front of the peloton on sector 20 with Colbrelli and Van Aert on his wheel. That effort briefly splits the peloton with Van der Poel caught on the wrong side. Van Aert then takes over in front, now with Asgreen on his wheel. 

Andre Carvalho (Cofidis), meanwhile, has crashed out of the chasing group on sector 20. 

-100km

Into the final 100km, and Van Aert's effort has sundered the peloton. He is in a group of ten riders of so, with Van der Poel and three QuickStep men.

Yves Lampaert piles on the pressure as this Van Aert group comes off sector 20. Van Aert immediately follows. Van der Poel is a little slower to respond but he makes it across, dragging the rest of the group of 10 or so riders with him.

-98km

Break:

Nils Eekhoff (DSM) and Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal)

Chasers at 0:38:

Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal), Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Timo Roosen, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Luke Rowe, Gianni Moscon (Ineos), Florian Maitre (TotalEnergies), Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar)

Van Aert-Van der Poel group at 1:45

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious), Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert, Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

The next stretch of cobbles is, of course, the Forest of Arenbeg. Five stars in difficulty, 2.3km in length and a potentially defining moment in this race. It would be a surprise if the Van Aert-Van der Poel group survives the forest intact and with a deficit of 1:46.

-95km

Vermeersch leads Eekhoff onto the Trouée d'Arenberg. The two debutants have ridden with such assurance thus far, and they carry a lead of 43 seconds over the chasers and 1:50 over Van Aert and Van der Poel.

Not for the first time, Van Avermaet is slightly off the back of the chasing group coming into the Arenberg. He's happy to leave a gap in front of him to avoid any crashes out in front of him.

Vermeersch is alone in front in the Arenberg with small lead over Eekhoff, with the chasers closing in behind them.

What a save from Wout van Aert.... A BikeExhcange rider crashes just in front of him, but Van Aert somehow manages to avoid falling. He loses a bit of ground in the group of favourites as Van der Poel piles on the pressure, but he stays in the game at least. 

Eekhoff has rejoined Vermeersch in front. This duo has a minute on the chasers. Van der Poel is 1:49 down with five riders on his wheel. Van Aert has about 15 seconds to make up on Van der Poel.

Mads Pedersen was on Van der Poel's wheel, but he crashes just as the Van der Poel group catches a flagging Luke Rowe. Rowe also goes down in the same incident...

Van der Poel comes off the Arenberg with a couple of QuickStep riders for company, 1:33 down on the leaders and with a handful of seconds over Van Aert, who has joined forces with Sep Vanmarcke. Stybar is battling to stay in contact with Van Aert.

Van der Poel has Guillaue Boivin, Sonny Colbrelli and Matteo Jorgensen for company - but where have Asgreen and Lampaert gone? This fragmented race is proving very difficult to cover with a limited number of tv motorbikes so there are pieces of the puzzle to fill in. It felt as though at least one bike was missing during the Arenberg...

-89km

It appears that both Asgreen and Lampaert have punctured and are behind the Van Aert groupm, but we await visual confirmation.

Vermeersch and Eekhoff remain in front on sector 18, with 26 seocnds on the chasing group, which should still include Van Avermaet, Gianni Moscon, Tim Declercq and Davide Ballerini. The third group on the road contains Van der Poel, Colbrelli, Boivin and Jorgensen, 1:07 down. The Van Aert group is at 1:15.

Vermeersch and Eekhoff exit sector 18 with 34 seconds on their immediate pursuers. Meanwhile, Van Aert and Van der Poel's groups have reformed, and they lie 59 seconds back.

See more

-86km

Van Aert looked utterly unfazed in chasing back up to the Van der Poel group and the Belgian looks to be pedalling very smoothly indeed this afternoon. 

The location of Deceuninck-QuickStep's riders is always a key factor in the geography of Paris-Roubaix. It appears that Tim Declercq is still in the second group, 25 seconds down on Vermeersch and Eekhoff. Ballerini and Stybar are in the Van Aert-Van der Poel group at 53 seconds. Asgreen and Lampaert, it appears, are chasing back on following punctures. 

-85km

Break:

Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal) and Nils Eekhoff (DSM)

Chasers at 0:14:

Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Timo Roosen, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Gianni Moscon (Ineos), Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko)

Chasers at 0:48:

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Jeremhy Lecroq (B&B Hotels)

Van Aert-Van der Poel group at 0:54

-83km

Vermeersch and Eekhoff are caught by the chasers, leaving 15 riders in front. Colbrelli is with Lecroq and Boivin, 28 seconds down, while the Van Aert-Van der Poel group is at 53 seconds. 

The leaders hit sector 17 from Hornaing to Wandignies, which is 3.7 km and four stars in difficulty.

Yves Lampaert, meanwhile, has rejoined the Van Aert group, as have Jonas Rutsch and Sebastian Langeveld (EF-Nippo). They are 59 seonds down on the leaders.

-80km

Nils Eekhoff (DSM), Florian Vermeersch, Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Timo Roosen, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Toms Skuijns (Trek-Segafredo), Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Gianni Moscon (Ineos), Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), and Evaldas Esiskevicius (Delko) are the men in front on sector 17, with a lead of 27 seconds in hand on Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious), Jeremy Lecroq (B&B Hotels), Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Baptiste Planckaert (Intermarche-Wanty). The Van Aert-Van der Poel group is at 59 seconds. 

A puncture for Van Hooydonck forces him out of the front group. Van Aert still has teammate Timo Roosen in the front. Tim Declercq, meanwhile, has been distanced. 

And now Roosen crashes into the back of Siskevicius, which means that Van Aert risks having nobody out in front of him from his Jumbo-Visma team. Roosen gives chase in a bid to regain the front.

The front group has splintered in that confusion following sector 17. Roosen has fought his way back up to Van Avermaet and a couple of Lotto Soudal riders. The television pictures, unfortunately, have yet to show us who is out in front.

Sonny Colbrelli, meanwhile, appears unhappy with the collaboration from Boivin, Lecroq and Planckeaert, and he tries to bridge up tio the front alone.

-74km

Gianni Moscon, Stefan Bissegger, Jasper Philipsen, Tosh Van der Sande, Tom Van Asbroeck and Robert Stannard are the six men in front as the race hits sector 16. It's 46 seconds back to Colbrelli and 1:42 back to the Van Aert-Van der Poel group. Van der Poel takes a quick bike change on the smooth roads preceding this sector.

A crash for Sep Vanmarcke in the Van Aert group at the start of sector 16, and that might be the end of his challenge.

Gianni Moscon sets the tempo at the very head of the race, with Van der Poel's teammate Jasper Philipsen on his wheel in the leading group of six. 

Van der Poel, meanwhile, rejoins the Van Aert group thanks to the pace-making of Jonas Rickaert. This group is 1:36 down on the six leaders.

-70km

The six men out in front are Gianni Moscon (Ineos), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Tosh Van der Sande (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Max Walscheid (Qhubeka). They have 59 seconds in hand on the Sonny Colbrelli group and 1:30 on the Van Aert-Van Avermaet group on sector 15 at Warlaing.

Mathieu van der Poel accelerates viciously at the start of sector 15, and this looks like a big, big move...

Van der Poel brings Zdenek Stybar, Yves Lampaert and Heinrich Haussler with him... Van Aert has missed this move and will have to chase.

Van der Poel kicks once again and only Lampaert can follow the second part of his onslaught...

The six leaders - Moscon, Walscheid, Bissegger, Van Asbroeck, Van der Sande and Philipsen - come off sector 15 with a lead of 56 seconds on the first group of chasers and 1;24 on the Van der Peol group.

Van Aert was caught behind when Van der Poel attacked, and the Belgian champion has quite some ground to make up...

Van der Poel has managed to shake Lampaert loose at the end of sector 15, and he is now zooming across to Sonny Colbrelli's group, which contains Siskevicius, Boivin, Planckaert and Lecroq...

-67.5km

And now Van der Poel accelerates again, opening a small gap over the Colbrelli group...

-67km

Van der Poel realises he shouldn't go it all alone, perhaps, and he relents just enough to allow Colbrelli et al to come back and start taking turns. The Van der Poel-Colbrelli group is 52 seconds down on the six leaders, with Van Aert trailing at 1:26.

-64km

Break:

Gianni Moscon (Ineos), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Tosh Van der Sande (Israel Start-Up Nation), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen) and Max Walscheid (Qhubeka)

Chasers at 0:52

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious), Timo Roosen (Jumbo-Visma), Harry Sweeny (Lotto Soudal), Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation), Edvald Siskevicius (Delko), Nils Eekhoff (DSM), Jeremy Lecroq (B&B Hotels), Baptiste Planckaert (Intermarche-Wanty).

Wout van Aert group at 1:17

Van Avermaet gamelhy fought his way up to the leaders ahead of sector 14. Van der Poel leads the chasers at 49 seconds, with the Van Aert group at 1:18.

Gaps open in the front group over sector 14, with Philipsen and Bissegger seemingly caught on the wrong side of the split. 

Van der Poel kicks once again in the chasing group. Boivin, Colbrelli and Planckaert are the only men who can follow...

-62km

The camera work on the front group has been... patchy, but we can see that Gianni Moscon, Florian Vermeersch and Tom Van Asbroeck are the three men in front after sector 14. They are now heading towards sector 13 at Orchies. 

-61km

Van Avermaet, Philipsen, Bissegger, Walscheid and Van der Sande are the second group on the road at 28 seconds. It's 53 seconds back to the Van der Poel-Colbrelli group and 1:27 to the peloton, aka the Van Aert group. 

Van der Poel has Sweeny, Boivin, Planckaert and Colbrelli for company in the third group on the road, 53 seconds down on Moscon, Vermeersch and Van Asbroeck.

Timo Roosen has dropped back to the Van Aert group and he is setting the pace on the smooth roads ahead of Orchies with his leader on his wheel. They are 1:22 off the front of the race and half a minute behind Van der Poel.

-59km

Moscon, Van Asbroeck and Vermeersch hit the cobbles at Orchies (three stars, 1.7km) with a lead of 25 seconds on the Van Avermaet group, 52 seconds on the Van der Poel-Colbrelli group and 1:23 on the Van Aert group.

Gianni Moscon, who joins Astana next season, is performing very strongly indeed at the head of the race, and this leading trio won;t be easy to bring back...

-57km

The Van der Poel-Colbrelli group catches the Van Avermaet group, which also includes Alpecin-Fenix's Jasper Philipsen. They are 46 seconds down on the three leaders. The Van Aert group trails at 1:35.

The names in this second group: Van der Poel, Philipsen, Colbrelli, Van Avermaet, Bissegger, Walscheid, Planckaert, Boivin, Van der Sande and Sweeny.

-56km

The rain has abated, meanwhile, and the sun is poking through the clouds, but the conditions remain treacherous.

A gear issue for Yves Lampaert in the Van Aert group and he will need a bike change. QuickStep have no riders in the front two groups and they are now lacking firepower to help lead the chase in the Van Aert group.

Van der Poel has Philipsen for coming in the chasing group, but he isn't relying on the Belgian. Instead, he simply piles on the pressure in front, with Colbrelli providing occasional turns. 

-54km

Break:

Gianni Moscon (Ineos), Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Chasers at 0:47:

Mathieu van der Poel, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Stefan Bissegger (EF-Nippo), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka), Baptiste Planckaert (Intermarche-Wanty), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen), Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Van Aert group at 1:41

A ceash in the chasing group on sector 12. Walscheid's wheels slip from under him and he brings down Van Avermaet and Van der Sande with him.

-53km

Gianni Moscon is alone at the head of the race after distancing Van Asbroeck and Vermeersch on the cobbles of sector 12 from Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée.

Van der Poel, meanwhile, has surged once again after that crash in the chasing group. Only Colbrelli and the hugely impressive Boivin can hold his wheel.

-51km

Gianni Moscon (Ineos) comes off the cobbles at the end of sector 12 now with a lead of 1:05 over the Van der Poel, Colbrelli and Boivin group.

Both Van der Poel and Colbrelli endured scares on that sector, but both men managed to stay upright. Van der Poel piles on the pressure again on the exit to the cobbles. Boivin brings Colbrelli back up to him. 

-50km

We haven't seen Vermeersch and Van Asbroeck in a while, but that duo must be somewhere between Moscon and the Van Aert group on the approach to the five-star, 3km sector of cobbles at Mons-en-Pévèle.

Break:

Gianni Moscon (Ineos)

Chasers at 0:35:

Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal) and Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Chasers at 1:07:

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Van Aert group at 2:25

-48km

Moscon has 35 seconds in hand on Vermeersch and Van Asbroeck at the beginning of Mons-en-Pévèle. Van der Poel, Colbrelli and Boivin are at 1:10. The Van Aert group may well be out of the hunt now, because of the 2:20 deficit and the sheer lack of allies for the Belgian champion.

Moscon has not conceded any ground to Van der Poel et al since he struck out alone, and the Italian is still riding strongly on Mons-en-Pévèle. 

The conditions in Mons-en-Pévèle are quite extreme. It's difficult to see the cobbles beneath this thick blanket of mud...

Moscon maintains as smooth a line as he can on the crown of this cobbled section, maintaining his buffer over the chasers behind. He has more than half a minute on Van Asbroeck and Vermeersch and still 1:15 on Van der Poel, Colbrelli and Boivin.

Van der Poel is doing all the work in this third group on the road, but he hasn't clawed back any seconds on Moscon in a while...

The Van Aert group, meanwhile, is closing in slightly on the Van der Poel group. They are at 2:04, while Van der Poel is now 1:21 down on Moscon.

-45km

Break:

Gianni Moscon (Ineos)

Chasers at 0:50:

Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal) and Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Chasers at 1:22:

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Van Aert group at 2:05

Van der Poel, Colbrelli and Boivin come off the cobbles at Mons-en-Pevele some 1:22 down on Moscon. They lost ground on both Moscon in front and the Van Aert group behind on that sector.

-43km

Ten sectors of pavé remain. Moscon has 50 seconds on Vermeersch and Van Asbroeck, 1:26 on Van der Poel, Colbrelli and Boivin, and 1:58 on a peloton that contains Van Aert and, we assume, Deceuninck-QuickStep's remaining leaders.

The Van Aert group looks to have been reduced in number at Mons-en-Pevele. The Belgian champion is 1:58 down on Moscon and 30 seconds down on Van der Poel.

-41km

Out in front, Moscon smoothly navigates sector 10 at Merignies, still with his lead intact. The Italian can perhaps start to believe in his prospects of victory. Van der Poel isn't gaining ground anymore and Van Aert is running out of road...

-40km

Into the final 40km for Gianni Moscon, who approaches sector 9 at Ennelevin with over a minute on Van Asbroeck and Vermeersch. Van der Poel, Boivin and Colbrelli are at 1:25. The Van Aert group is at 1:52, and it's down to just ten or so riders, including Vanmarcke, Haussler, Lampaert and Jonas Rutsch.

-39km

Onto sector 9 for Moscon who is showing no sign of relenting. His career has been mired in controversy since his 5th place finish in this race in 2017, starting with his racist abuse of Kevin Reza weeks afterwards. He was later disqualified from that year's Worlds for holding onto a car, disqualified from the 2018 Tour de France for punching Elie Gesbert and disqualified from last year's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne for throwing his bike at Jens Debusschere. 

Moscon maintains his lead over sector 9, where the Van der Poel group catches Vermeersch and Van Asbroeck. 1:27 the gap.

-37km

Break:

Gianni Moscon (Ineos)

Chasers at 1:18

Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Van Aert group at 1:52

-36km

Van der Poel doesn't want company. He accelerates again and this time his opens a gap over his erstwhile companions. He is also beginning to claw back some seconds on Moscon...

-35km

Moscon hits sector 8 at Templeuve with a lead of 1:17 over the lone chaser Mathieu van der Poel, but the Dutchman is about to be clawed back once again by Colbrelli et al.

Servais Knaven, winner of a similarly muddy Paris-Roubaix twenty years ago, is in the team car behind Moscon and he gives a thumbs up the television motorbike as it comes by. 1:12 the gap to Van der Poel, Colbrelli, Boivin, Vermeersch and Van Asbroeck.

-34km

Moscon has 1:12 on the Van der Poel-Colbrelli group and 1:54 on the Van Aert group. 

This has been a startling display from Moscon, but the time gap on the on-screen graphic suddenly drops from 1:20 to 45 seconds... Information and pictures have been muddled at times today from France Televisions today, so we await confirmation of the precise timing...

-32km

The graphic is quickly corrected. Moscon maintains his lead of 1:18 over Van der Poel et al. The Italian has scarcely conceded a metre since he struck out alone. Remarkable.

Moscon hits sector 7 with 1:12 on the Van der Poel group and 1:56 on the Van Aert group. This sector from Cysoing to Bourghelles is 1.3km in length and rated at three stars.

-30km

A rear wheel puncture for Gianni Moscon... He continues to ride on the flat tyre, but he will need to make a change...

He finally stops at the roadside for a bike change. He gets the change about as quickly as circumstances allow, but between the puncture, the stoppage and the loss of momentum, he will have lost at least 15 or 20 seconds off his lead...

-29km

Moscon's lead is down to 46 seconds over Van der Poel, Vermeersch, Colbrelli, Boivin and Van Asbroeck. He still has 1:57 on the Van Aert group.

-28km

That puncture obviously hasn't ended Moscon's hopes but it's certainly left the door ajar for Van der Poel et al behind just when it had appeared to be slamming shut..

Wout van Aert is piling on the pressure in the third group on the road now. They are 1:41 down on the lone leader Moscon but still a minute behind Van der Poel and company.

-27km

Break:

Gianni Moscon (Ineos)

Chasers at 0:40

Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Van Aert group at 1:45

-26km

A crash for Gianni Moscon on the cobbles at Bourghelles... If the puncture wasn't race-altering, then this crash certainly is. Moscon's wheels slid from under him. He remounts quickly but his gap is down to 15 seconds...

Moscon comes off sector 7 with a lead of 15 seconds on the Van der Poel group. One wonders if the change of bike - and tyre pressure - had an impact on his handling on that sector...

-25km

Moscon enters the final 25km with a lead of 12 seconds on the Van der Poel group and 1:19 on the Van Aert group.

Moscon hits the 1.1km long sector 6, which is rated at three stars. He has managed to his stride again despite that crash and he remains 13 seconds cleare of Van der Poel, Colbrelli, Boivin, Vermeersch and Van Asbroeck.

Van der Poel et al are inching closer to Moscon on this sector. Van der Poel sits on the front and brings the gap beneath 10 seconds for the first time on the exit of sector 6.

-23km

The four-star Camphin-en-Pévèle (1.8km) is next up, followed by the fearsome, five-star Carrefour de l'Arbre (2.1km). Moscon is, somehow, still 11 seconds up on the chasers. 

-22km

Break:

Gianni Moscon (Ineos)

Chasers at 0:11

Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Start-Up Nation), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation)

Van Aert group at 1:12

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Gianni Moscon ITA Ineos Grenadiers photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

This was Moscon's earlier crash:

See more

-21km

Despite that crash, Moscon has extended his lead over Van der Poel, Colbrelli, Boivin, Van Asbroeck and Vermeersch to 21 seconds... Colbrelli seems reluctant to commit too much to the chase at this point, perhaps mindful of the prospect of a Van der Poel onslaught at Carrefour de l'Arbre...

-20km

Moscon begins sector 5 at Camphin-en-Pévèle with 22 seconds on Van der Poel et al and 1:13 on Van Aert. His rear mech is also bent, which might limit his gear options and his wheels slip to one side yet again, but he somehow manages to keep himself upright. 

More drama on sector 5! Guillaume Boivin crashes out of the chasing group, but the rest of the group managed to avoid coming down with him... That leaves four in the chasing group: Van der Poel, Colbrelli, Van Asbroeck and Vermeersch.

Vermeersch takes over the chase effort with Van der Poel on his wheel. Colbrelli is in difficulty but he manages to claw back up to Van der Poel's wheel. Van Asbroeck has been distanced...

-18km

Moscon comes off sector 5 with 10 seconds on the impressive Vermeersch, Van der Poel and Colbrelli. The winner will come from this quartet.

Next up is the Carrefour de l'Arbre - five stars and 2.1km in length. This could be decisive...

-17km

Moscon leads onto the Carrefour de l'Arbere with 12 seconds in hand on Van der Poel, Vermeersch and Colbrelli...

Van der Poel accelerates at the beginning of the sector, but Colbrelli and Vermeersch resist fiercely...

Van der Poel, Vermeersch and Colbrelli have caught Moscon with 1.1km of the Carrefour de l'Arbre. Four men at the front to fight out the victory.

Colbrelli makes his move... He had been notably content to follow Van der Poel while Moscon was out in front, but now the European champion shows his hand with a fierce acceleration...

Colbrelli's acceleration has distanced Moscon and he will struggle to recoup that deficit, especially if, as it seems, his tyres are carrying a little more pressure than is ideal.

Still Colbrelli piles on the pressure... Van der Poel and Vermeersch hold firm as they exit Carrefour de l'Arbre. 

Shades of Tom Boonen in 2002 about Vermeersch's ride today, but could he go a couple of steps better than Tommeke and win this race?

-14km

Break:

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) and Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal)

Chaser at 0:10

Gianni Moscon (Ineos)

Van Aert group at 1:16

Vermeersch is growing in belief. He tried to force his way clear on sector 3 but Van der Poel and Colbrelli but they were wise to the danger.

-13km

Colbrelli, Vermeersch and Van der Poel have 18 seconds in hand on Moscon. They're 5km from sector 2 from Willems to Hem.

Wout van Aert has Lampaert, Boivin, Haussler and Christophe Laporte for company, 1:02 down on the leaders. No way back for the Belgian champion, who is racing for 5th place - or perhaps 4th, if Moscon falters. 

-11km

Colbrelli, Vermeersch and Van der Poel have 25 seconds on Moscon and 1:08 on Van Aert et al. 

Logic says this race should be a fight between Van der Poel and Colbrelli, but Vermeersch has been so impressive this afternoon and this is a race where seemingly anything can happen, not least in a sprint on the velodrome...

-10km

Into the final 10km for the three leaders. Moscon continues to give lone pursuit, but his deficit is almost at half a minute. Van Aert, Boivin, Lampaert, Laporte and Haussler are at 59 seconds. 

-9km

Colbrelli and Van der Poel are also debutants in this race, but their experience on the cobbles and top level racing vastly outstrips that of Vermeersch.

The three leaders hit the final real sector of cobbles at Hem. They have one more, 'symbolic' sector in Roubaix, but this is perhaps the last chance for someone to avoid a sprint on the velodrome...

Van der Poel leads through the cobbles at Hem, with Colbrelli and Vermeersch on his wheel. Moscon is at 35 seconds and Van Aert's group is 58 seconds down.

-6.5km

The worst of the cobbles are over, Colbrelli and Van der Poel take on a last gel before the ineluctable sprint. Vermeersch watches for an opportunity to escape them. 

-5km

Van der Poel does the lion's share of the pace-making. Like last year's postponed Tour of Flanders, when Van der Poel pipped Van Aert, it's hard to pick a favourite between Van der Poel and Colbrelli here, even if the Italian has perhaps spent a little less time on the front. And, of course, there's the great variable of Vermeersch...

-4km

Colbrelli, Vermeersch and Van der Poel are swapping turns on the approach to Roubaix, but as their gap extends over Moscon, one imagines the game of cat and mouse might soon begin...

-3.2km

Van der Poel lost a sprint he was expected to win against Asgreen at the Ronde this April. Colbrelli has had the better form in recent weeks, of course, including that European title. But now Vermeersch takes a flyer....

-3km

Colbrelli shuts down Vermeersch's move just ahead of the last sector of pavé.

-2km

Vermeersch looks to be readying himself for another attack. Van der Poel and Colbrelli will be happy to back themselves in a unique sprint...

-1.5km

Colbrelli leads onto the final sector, where the pace drops noticeably. Van der Poel takes over...

-1km

Van der Poel leads into the final kilometre with Colbrelli and Vermeersch on his wheel...

Van der Poel leads into the velodrome, still with Colbrelli and Vermeersch on his wheel...

One lap to go. Van der Poel leads through the bell and looks over his shoulder at Colbrelli...

Vermeersch goes from distance...

Colbrelli is coming back at him but Vermeersch resists...

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) wins Paris-Roubaix.

Some way, some how, Colbrelli has the strength to lift his bike over his head when he wheels to a halt, and then he promptly crumples in a heap on the infield and bursts into loud sobs. Shades of Marco Tardelli about this celebration.

A disconsolate and exhausted Van der Poel lies face down on the grass. The Dutchman had nothing left for the sprint and he came home in third behind Vermeersch.

Result

1 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 06:01:57
2 Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
4 Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 00:00:44
5 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 00:01:16
6 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis 00:01:16
7 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 00:01:16
8 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation 00:01:16
9 Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation 00:01:16
10 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious 00:01:16
11 Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-Nippo 00:01:16

ROUBAIX FRANCE OCTOBER 03 Sonny Colbrelli of Italy and Team Bahrain Victorious covered in mud celebrates winning in the Roubaix Velodrome Vlodrome Andr Ptrieux during the 118th ParisRoubaix 2021 Mens Eilte a 2577km race from Compigne to Roubaix ParisRoubaix on October 03 2021 in Roubaix France Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The three leaders lapped Moscon just off the crown of the final bend, but his presence had no real impact on the sprint. Colbrelli was the freshest of the trio and his remarkable strength told in the end.

Sonny Colbrelli on his victory: "Unbelievable, my first Parigi-Roubaix and I win. I don’t know, I’m very happy. Today is a legendary Roubaix with the rain and the weather at the start and an attack with 90km to go after Arenberg… I followed only Van der Poel in the final and in the end I had a super sprint. I’m very happy for this victory. Gianni [Moscon] went after 30 or 40km and he was super strong but behind we worked well together. I followed Van der Poel for the sprint but this rider from Lotto Soudal started at 200m to go but I think at 20 or 25 metres, I came past for the victory. I was at the limit in the final. It was super difficult because I had to pay attention for the crashes form the first sectors and then there’s always the stress to be in position in the cobbles. This year is my year, I’m very happy."

ROUBAIX FRANCE OCTOBER 03 Sonny Colbrelli of Italy and Team Bahrain Victorious covered in mud celebrates winning in the Roubaix Velodrome Vlodrome Andr Ptrieux during the 118th ParisRoubaix 2021 Mens Eilte a 2577km race from Compigne to Roubaix ParisRoubaix on October 03 2021 in Roubaix France Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Gianni Moscon on his fourth place finish: “This race is I think the most beautiful race. I tried to attack from far and then I gave everything. I had a little bit of bad luck with that puncture, but then I was a little bit on the limit, and when you are on the limit, you will make mistakes. I crashed but I didn’t lose too much. And then when they came from behind, I didn’t have the legs, but I tried. Fourth place. We will try again next year.”

Asked if the puncture and crash cost him victory, Moscon takes a stoical view: “Who knows? We cannot say this. I don’t know. The race went like this. I don’t know actually how much I lost with those two things. The race has been like this. Now I’m just looking forward to take some rest. Maybe I’ll race Lombardia on Saturday I don’t know.

“It has been a really spectacular race. I tried to play my cards attacking from far. The race went like this. Another Italian won, so we can be happy as a nation anyway.”

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Gianni Moscon ITA Ineos Grenadiers photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

ROUBAIX FRANCE OCTOBER 03 Sonny Colbrelli of Italy and Team Bahrain Victorious covered in mud celebrates winning ahead of Florian Vermeersch of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal and Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix in the Roubaix Velodrome Vlodrome Andr Ptrieux during the 118th ParisRoubaix 2021 Mens Eilte a 2577km race from Compigne to Roubaix ParisRoubaix on October 03 2021 in Roubaix France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Sonny Colbrelli ITA Bahrain Victorious photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Sonny Colbrelli ITA Bahrain Victorious Mathieu Van Der Poel NED AlpecinFenix photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Sonny Colbrelli ITA Bahrain Victorious Heinrich Haussler AUS Bahrain Victorious photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

A full report, results and pictures from today's dramatic edition of Paris-Roubaix are available here.

Wout van Aert had to settle for 7th place: “This was a difficult race. I felt good, I was in a good situation until Mathieu accelerated. Then I was too far behind, that was my own fault. I also couldn't see anything with glasses. And when I took them off, it didn't get much better. Maybe it was the wrong choice to take my glasses off.”

The Belgian confirmed this was the last road race of his season: “You won’t see me for a while.”

Belgian Wout Van Aert of Team JumboVisma pictured in action during the men elite race of the ParisRoubaix cycling event 2577km from Compiegne to Roubaix France on Sunday 03 October 2021 BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

ROUBAIX FRANCE OCTOBER 03 Sonny Colbrelli of Italy and Team Bahrain Victorious covered in mud celebrates winning ahead of Florian Vermeersch of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal and Mathieu Van Der Poel of Netherlands and Team AlpecinFenix in the Roubaix Velodrome Vlodrome Andr Ptrieux during the 118th ParisRoubaix 2021 Mens Eilte a 2577km race from Compigne to Roubaix ParisRoubaix on October 03 2021 in Roubaix France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Paris Roubaix 2021 -118th Edition - Denain - Roubaix 257,7 km - 03/10/2021 - Sonny Colbrelli (ITA - Bahrain Victorious) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Sonny Colbrelli and Lizzie Deignan, winners of the 2021 Paris-Roubaix

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

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