Skip to main content

Colbrelli wins in his Paris-Roubaix debut

Image 1 of 50

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 Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Sonny Colbrelli tops Florian Vermeersch (R) and Mathieu van der Poel (L) to win Paris-Roubaix 2021 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 2 of 50

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

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) wins Paris-Roubaix (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 3 of 50

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

Sonny Colbrelli tops Florian Vermeersch (R) and Mathieu van der Poel (L) to win Paris-Roubaix 2021 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 4 of 50

ROUBAIX FRANCE OCTOBER 03 Yves Lampaert of Belgium and Team Deceuninck QuickStep and Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo Visma cross the finishing line 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

Yves Lampaert and Wout van Aert finish from the chasing group (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 5 of 50

ROUBAIX FRANCE OCTOBER 03 A general view of Sonny Colbrelli of Italy and Team Bahrain Victorious lifts his bicycle to 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 Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images

Sonny Colbrelli celebrates his win (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 6 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Mathieu Van Der Poel NED AlpecinFenix photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) leads the race (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 7 of 50

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

Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers) on a solo attack (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 8 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Wout Van Aert BEL Jumbo Visma photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in the third group (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 9 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Scenery photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 10 of 50

Dutch Mathieu van der Poel of AlpecinFenix Italian Sonny Colbrelli of Bahrain Victorious and Canadian Guillaume Boivin of Israel StartUp Nation 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

Mathieu van der Poel leads Sonny Colbrelli and Guillaume Boivin (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 11 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Troue dArenberg Greg Van Avermaet BEL AG2R Citroen Team photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 12 of 50

Belgian Florian Vermeersch of Lotto Soudal and Belgian Greg Van Avermaet of AG2R Citroen Team 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

Florian Vermeersch of Lotto Soudal and Greg Van Avermaet of AG2R Citroen Team (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 13 of 50

Alpecin Fenix Mathieu Van Der Poel from Netherlands L competes in the 118th edition of the ParisRoubaix oneday classic cycling race between Compiegne and Roubaix northern France on October 3 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP via Getty Images

Mathieu van der Poe (Alpecin-Fenix) on the hunt (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 14 of 50

A competitors falls during the 118th edition of the ParisRoubaix oneday classic cycling race between Compiegne and Roubaix northern France on October 3 2021 Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI AFP Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTIAFP via Getty Images

Crashes on the Arenberg sector (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 15 of 50

A competitors falls during the 118th edition of the ParisRoubaix oneday classic cycling race between Compiegne and Roubaix northern France on October 3 2021 Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTI AFP Photo by FRANCOIS LO PRESTIAFP via Getty Images

A crash on the Arenberg sector took out Mads Pedersen (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 16 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Scenery photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 17 of 50

Alpecin Fenix Mathieu Van Der Poel from Netherlands L competes in the 118th edition of the ParisRoubaix oneday classic cycling race between Compiegne and Roubaix northern France on October 3 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP via Getty Images

Paris-Roubaix 2021 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 18 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Peter Sagan SVK Bora Hansgrohe photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Peter Sagan had a crash early and was on the back foot (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 19 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Jumbo Visma photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 20 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Simon Clarke AUS Team Qhubeka Assos photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 21 of 50

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

Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain Victorious) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 22 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Michal Kwiatkowski POL Ineos Grenadiers photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 23 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Astana Premier Tech photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 24 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Ludovic Robeet BEL Bingoal WB photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021 (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 25 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Troue dArenberg Gianni Vermeersch BEL AlpecinFenix photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

Florian Vermeersch and Nils Eekhoff on the Arenberg sector (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 26 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Troue dArenberg Scenery photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

The Trouée de Arenberg (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 27 of 50

Paris Roubaix 2021 118th Edition Denain Roubaix 2577 km 03102021 Troue dArenberg Scenery photo Luca BettiniBettiniPhoto2021

The Trouée de Arenberg (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 28 of 50

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

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 29 of 50

Jumbo Visma Wout Van Aert from Belgium L leads the pack during the 118th edition of the ParisRoubaix oneday classic cycling race between Compiegne and Roubaix northern France on October 3 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP via Getty Images

Wout van Aert and Michal Kwiatkowski (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 30 of 50

Illustration picture shows the pack of riders 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)
Image 31 of 50

Alpecin Fenix Mathieu Van Der Poel from Netherlands competes in the 118th edition of the ParisRoubaix oneday classic cycling race between Compiegne and Roubaix northern France on October 3 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP via Getty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 32 of 50

Illustration picture shows the pack of riders 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

The peloton splashes through a flooded road in Paris-Roubaix (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 33 of 50

Paris-Roubaix 2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021: Early attacks in the rain (Image credit: Getty Images)
Image 34 of 50

Belgian Wout Van Aert of Team JumboVisma L 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

Rain pellets the Van Aert group on the early sector (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 35 of 50

Alpecin Fenix Mathieu Van Der Poel from Netherlands L and the pack ride during the 118th edition of the ParisRoubaix oneday classic cycling race between Compiegne and Roubaix northern France on October 3 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP via Getty Images

Heavy rain made for a lot of mud in Paris-Roubaix 2021 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 36 of 50

Illustration picture shows the pack of riders 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

The breakaway tackles the early sectors of cobbles (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 37 of 50

Intermarche Wanty Gobert Materiaux Team Wesley Kreder from Netherlands L and UAE Team Emirates Alexander Kristoff from Norway 2nd L compete during the 118th edition of the ParisRoubaix oneday classic cycling race between Compiegne and Roubaix northern France on October 3 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP via Getty Images

Wes Kreder (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 38 of 50

A motorbike carrying a photographer slips on the cobblestone during the 118th edition of the ParisRoubaix oneday classic cycling race between Compiegne and Roubaix northern France on October 3 2021 Photo by AnneChristine POUJOULAT AFP Photo by ANNECHRISTINE POUJOULATAFP via Getty Images

The race motor even struggled with the conditions (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 39 of 50

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

Wout van Aert before the mud covered him from head to toe (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)
Image 40 of 50

Paris-Roubaix 2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021: Several riders tried to go clear in the early stages of the race (Image credit: Getty Images)
Image 41 of 50

Paris-Roubaix 2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021: Movistar are marked by QuickStep and Ineos Grenadiers (Image credit: Getty Images)
Image 42 of 50

Paris-Roubaix 2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021: Fans turned up in force for the race (Image credit: Getty Images)
Image 43 of 50

Paris-Roubaix 2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021: Ready for action and the cobbles (Image credit: Getty Images)
Image 44 of 50

Paris-Roubaix 2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021: The Delko team in their retro Look jerseys (Image credit: Getty Images)
Image 45 of 50

Paris-Roubaix 2021

Paris-Roubaix 2021: The last winner of the race, Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal) (Image credit: Getty Images)
Image 46 of 50

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

Sonny Colbrelli takes the win (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 47 of 50

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

Colbrelli collapses on the infield (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 48 of 50

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

Heinrich Haussler congratulates his teammate (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 49 of 50

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

Sonny Colbrelli with the cobblestone trophy (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 50 of 50

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

Mathieu van der Poel on the podium (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) took the biggest win of his career in an all-time epic edition of Paris-Roubaix after beating Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) in a three-rider sprint on the Roubaix velodrome.

After a Roubaix dominated by atrocious weather, mud and crashes, the three riders ensured that they would decide the win after catching and dropping lone leader Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers) on the Carrefour de l'Arbre.

The three riders arrived on the velodrome with Van der Poel on the front and
Vermeersch hovering at the back and as the three, all debutants, hit the bell lap it was the young Vermeersch who struck for home first. It appeared as though Colbrelli, the better sprinter on paper, was initially caught out and slow to respond with Vermeersch not relenting with the line in sight but somehow, and from somewhere, Colbrelli came through on the line to take a historic win.

"Unbelievable, my first Parigi-Roubaix and I win. I don’t know, I’m very happy," Colbrelli said after gathering his composure, having collapsed to the ground in tears of disbelief and joy after his victory. 

"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 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."

The pattern of the race never truly settled with several contenders, including Peter Sagan and Mads Pedersen suffering crashes, while an early break of 30 riders built up a lead of almost three minutes and almost decided the entire outcome of the race.

Pre-race favourites Deceuninck-QuickStep looked in contention until the Arenberg Forest when several of their riders lost contact with the front group, and despite briefly fighting back the Belgian squad saw the race disappear up the road. 

Colbrelli delivered a tactically astute race, and even went on the attack with over 80km to go after he responded to a move by Jeremy Lecroq. That acceleration ensured that the Italian was able to link up with riders who had previously been dropped from the break and put the other pre-race favourites on the back foot.

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), who had been in a promising position for most of the race, was unable to respond when Van der Poel countered through sector 17 with over 70km still to race. The Dutchman’s move also burnt off QuickStep’s faint hopes of winning before most of the remnants of the early break were caught by a chase group that included both Van der Poel and Colbrelli.

When Moscon attacked through sector 12, it looked as though the controversial Italian would take the win as he extended his lead to minute. However, the race was turned on its head when the Ineos rider flatted with 30km to and then crashed soon after. Another fall reduced the chase group to just Van der Poel, Vermeersch and Colbrelli before they caught and passed the Italian through the most difficult sector of the race.

Vermeersch, who at 22 announced himself on the world stage with a Paris-Roubaix performance not too dissimilar from Tom Boonen’s debut back in the early 2000s, not only had made it into the early break of 30 riders but had lead through the Arenberg after escaping from the day’s main move. Despite being caught by more experienced riders in the latter stages he showed little fear, and even had the power to attack again with 3km to go in order to deny Colbrelli’s superior sprinting legs but in the final the Italian had too much for Van der Poel – who also raced aggressively – and the young Belgian.

How it unfolded

After Lizzie Deignan’s and the women’s peloton put on an incredible show 24 hours earlier it was time for the men’s field to try and match Saturday’s excitement. Ahead of the field lay 30 sectors of cobbles, along with wind, rain and mud in what promised to be another epic edition of the race.

After a flurry of early activity and a crash for Mitch Docker in his final outing, a huge group pushed clear with over 211km to go with 29 riders, 12 of them debutants, escaping the peloton.  

Florian Vermeersch, Harry Sweeny, Tosh van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Edoardo Affini, Timo Roosen, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom van Asbroeck (Israel Start Up-Nation), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Tom Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Marco Haller, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroën), Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Nippo), André Carvalho (Cofidis), Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers), Florian Maître (TotalEnergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Edvaldas Siskevicius (Delko), Nils Eekhoff (DSM), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka-NextHash), Imanol Erviti, Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) and Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels-KTM) formed the escape and before the first sector of cobbles the break had established a lead of 1:55. The group had included Stefan Küng and Owain Doull but the Ineos rider was forced to drop back due to a mechanical, while Küng crashed and was forced to wait for the peloton.

The Swiss rider hit the deck for the second time in the day while riding at the front and took down several competitors with 164km to go. Onto the Troisvilles to Inchy and the breakaway was down to 28 riders after Haller lost contact due to a rear-wheel puncture. Wout Van Aert made sure that he was in the first few places as the peloton made its way through the first sector. Although not the hardest sector in the race, the Troisvilles to Inchy caused major splits in the main field with Matteo Trentin one of the early casualties, and Nils Politt also forced to chase back.

A puncture robbed Declercq of his position in the breakaway with 153km to go with the group able to build their lead up to 2:20. Rowe and Moscon took control and set the pace through Viesly to Quiévy and Quiévy to Saint-Python, while Matej Mohoric ensured that his leader Sonny Colbrelli was well-placed through the latter sector with the peloton down to less than 60 riders as the mud and rain began to wear down the riders.

Through Saint-Python with 144km to go, Eekhoff, Vermeersch, Rowe and Walscheid pressed on from the break after establishing a slender advantage, while a crash in the peloton took down riders from Movistar, Qhubeka and Arkéa.

Soon after, with 141km to go, Van der Poel was forced to stop for a mechanical with Sylvain Diller – second back in 2018 – forced to stop and help his team leader chase back to the main field. The Dutch rider made contact with 139km remaining but with the break at almost three minutes and the Rowe group still dangling off the front, the race took on a new dynamic.

Exiting the Haussy to Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon sector, Peter Sagan took a heavy fall on his right-hand side, and almost hydroplaned along the road before coming to standstill. Up the road, Küng crashed for a third time, this time through Saint-Martin-sur-Ecaillon to Vertain.

The four-man group looked relatively comfortable with 129km to go but an issue for Rowe, followed by a crash for Walscheid, halved their number. Eekhoff and Vermeersch still had 56 seconds on the chase group and 2:28 on the peloton as they exited Capelle to Ruesnes.

Former winner John Degenkolb fell on that sector along with a race moto, as Van der Poel clung on at the back of the heavily reduced peloton that included Van Aert and several QuickStep rivals.

The Belgian team began to up the tempo as the peloton exited the Artres to Quérénaing sector with 117km to go. Both Van Aert and Van der Poel were wise to the move as out front ,Eekhoff and Vermeersch mainted a 54 second gap on the chase and 2:53 over the peloton. Van Aert himself moved to the front through the 1.3km long sector with the likes of Van der Poel, Senechal, Stybar, Lampaert, Stuyven, Pedersen, Asgreen, Kwiatkowski, Colbrelli and Mohoric among those still in contention.

Once back on the tarmac and Van der Poel took over from Van Aert with a vicious acceleration with 114km to go. That move strung out the reduced peloton but there was a slight lull soon after as the Arenberg came into view. Van Aert took a new bike, several others dropped back for food, while Taco van der Hoorn took a heavy fall near the back of the group. Max Schachmann was the next rider to slide out with 103km to go on one side of a roundabout as on the other side two AG2R-Citroën riders replicated the German’s actions just before the Haveluy to Wallers – the penultimate sector before the Arenberg.

Deceuninck-QuickStep, and especially Asgreen, put the hammer down just as the stretch to Wallers began and the injection of pace caused several splits with just seven riders able to initially follow the Danish Tour of Flanders winner. Both Theuns and Stuyven crashed into a ditch mid-way through the sector as Lampaert, realising that Van Aert was isolated from his teammates, accelerated as the main group of contenders made it back onto the tarmac. Another regrouping took place with van der Poel himself trading turns as the race entered the final 98km.

Into the Arenberg

Eekhoff and Vermeersch hit the vital sector with 94.8km to go. The pair had a 42-second gap on the rest of the break with the main pre-race contenders at 1:44.

Van Aert found himself 30m back after Simon Clarke crashed just in front of him, and the Belgian did well to stay upright as Van der Poel set a ferocious pace that only four riders could initially follow.

Luke Rowe, who had been dropped from the second group, moved into the path of the chasing group and took out Pedersen, who was one of the few riders able to match Van der Poel. Out of the forest and Van Aert was able to link up with Vanmarcke and Stybar while Van der Poel, Colbrelli, Boivin and surprise package Matteo Jorgenson carried on ahead. There were problems for Lampaert and Asgreen, with several mechanicals for the QuickStep team.

Through Wallers to Hélesmes, the two leaders held a slender lead of 36 seconds with Van Aert and his group latching onto Van der Poel and company with around 88km to go.

Jeremy Lecroq accelerated with 85km to go before sector 17 and as the favourites slowed Colbrelli attacked and caught the Frenchman. With 83km to go Eekhoff and Vermeersch were reeled in by the remnants of the early break that included Moscon and Durbridge. 

On the Hornaing to Wandignies, the break had 30 seconds on Colbrelli and Lecroq with the Van Aert and Van der Poel group – which had regained Asgreen and two teammates – setting the pace at 57 seconds.

Colbrelli and Lecroq were reinforced by Boivin and Planckaert as Van Aert lost a teammate to a crash and another to a mechanical with 77km to go. Colbrelli, keen to maintain his advantage, moved clear from the second group with the gap to the early break at 43 seconds. Up ahead, the race split again as Moscon and just a handful of riders made it onto sector 16 to Brillon. Van der Poel took a new bike soon after as Vanmarcke crashed heavily before hobbling to his feet.

Moscon, Bissegger, Vermeersch, Philipsen, Van der Sande, Van Asbroeck and Stannard held a 55 second lead over Colbrelli and the riders he had previously tried to distance.

Van der Poel puts the hammer down

Having returned from his bike change the Dutchman accelerated almost as soon as the peloton hit sector 15 with 70km to go. Only Haussler, Lampaert and Declercq could initially follow before the pace-setting from Van der Poel – especially through the corners – left only Lampaert able to keep up. By the end of the sector, the Dutch rider was on his own before he latched onto the Colbrelli group with ease. Seconds after making contact the Alpecin rider kicked again with his new companions hanging on for dear life as his group swelled to nine after picking up riders from the early break.

Van der Poel’s group had 30 seconds almost immediately but by the time the van Aert selection reached Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies, the time gap had been almost halved. With 63km to go Van der Poel hit the afterburners again as up ahead the front of the race had been reduced to just Moscon Van Asbroeck and the impressive Vermeersch.

With 57km to go, the Van der Poel and Colbrelli group caught a batch of riders that included Van Avermaet and Philipsen, with Van Aert and QuickStep 48 seconds in arrears.

With 57km to go, the group of Van der Poel and Colbrelli caught a batch of riders that included Van Avermaet and Philipsen, with Van Aert and QuickStep 48 seconds in arrears. With Van Aert without teammates, and with QuickStep unable or unwilling to collaborate, Van der Poel and his companions extended their lead to over a minute as the sun, at last, began to shine with a shade over 53km to go.

Former winner Van Avermaet and two other riders crashed through sector 12 and with 53km to go Moscon dropped his two riders with Van der Poel, Colbrelli and Boivin at 48 seconds. The Ineos Grenadiers rider managed to extend his lead to over a minute. By the time the Italian reached the entry point to the key sector of Mons-en-Pévèle his advantage had moved out to 1:08.

At this point, the race hung in the balance but tellingly Van der Poel’s next round of accelerations was unable to eat into Moscon’s lead or drop his two remaining followers.

Through sector 9, Van der Poel’s group caught Van Asbroeck and Vermeersch but the gap to Moscon had extended to 1:27. With 36km to go Van der Poel briefly managed to drop his companions and cut ten seconds off Moscon’s lead almost immediately but Colbrelli dragged the group together once again.

Moscon’s flat and crash

With 30km to go and with a lead of 1:10 Moscon suffered a rear wheel puncture. The resulting bike change was relatively rapid and Moscon remained calm but by the time he found his pace his advantage had dropped to 45 seconds. 

It looked as though the Italian had stemmed the tide but when he fell with 26km through sector 7 the race turned on its head with the gap dropping to just 15 seconds as a result. By the time the Italian exited the sector his lead was down to just nine seconds with the chasers within touching distance.

Heading into sector 5, the Camphin-en-Pévèle, the gap had drifted out to 21 seconds, reviving Moscon’s hopes of a win. Behind, Boivin crashed and then a race moto had to ditch the bike to avoid him. A huge turn from Vermeersch reduced the gap to just 11 seconds before Moscon again extended the gap on the road section leading up to Carrefour de l'Arbre.

Van der Poel accelerated as soon as he hit the sector with Colbrelli and Vermeersch able to latch on with the catch finally made with 16km to go. Colbrelli immediately countered with Vermeersch hanging on as Moscon’s hopes slipped away.

The trio cooperated all the way into the Roubaix velodrome, where Vermeersch opened up the slow-motion and Colbrelli muscled his way past, posted his victory salute, then collapsed to the infield in hysterics, laugh-crying as he absorbed the fact he'd won the biggest race on the calendar.

Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 6:01:57
2Florian Vermeersch (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
4Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:44
5Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:01:16
6Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
7Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
8Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
9Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
10Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain Victorious
11Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-Nippo
12Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka NextHash 0:03:17
13Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies
14Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 0:04:40
15Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
16Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education-Nippo 0:04:45
17Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain Victorious 0:06:21
18Amaury Capiot (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
19Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
20Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
21Laurenz Rex (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
22Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
23Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
24Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team DSM 0:06:26
25Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
26Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep
27Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team 0:07:14
28Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:07:22
29Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:07:26
30Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) TotalEnergies 0:08:37
31Dries Van Gestel (Bel) TotalEnergies
32Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team 0:09:23
33Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko
34Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
35Clément Davy (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
36Ludovic Robeet (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
37Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:09:26
38Bert De Backer (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:09:29
39Harry Sweeny (Aus) Lotto Soudal 0:10:03
40Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:10:52
41Bram Welten (Ned) Team Arkea-Samsic
42Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:11:06
43Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:11:11
44Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team DSM 0:12:24
45Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-up Nation
46Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
47Silvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix
48Cees Bol (Ned) Team DSM
49Alfred Wright
50Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
51John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
52Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange
53Simon Clarke (Aus) Qhubeka NextHash
54Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
55Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
56Stan Dewulf (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
57Cyril Lemoine (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:12:28
58Owain Doull (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:12:32
59Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-Nippo 0:12:37
60Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo
61Timo Roosen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:13:19
62Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB 0:16:21
63Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team 0:16:25
64Jack Bauer (NZl) Team BikeExchange 0:17:59
65Luke Rowe (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:20:28
66Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
67Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
68Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
69Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
70Tom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis
71Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
72Juraj Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
73Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
74Adrien Petit (Fra) TotalEnergies
75Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
76Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates
77Wesley Kreder (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
78Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education-Nippo
79Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
80Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma 0:22:50
81Robert Stannard (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:22:53
82Szymon Sajnok (Pol) Cofidis 0:23:04
83Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:24:33
84Mathias Norsgaard (Den) Movistar Team 0:26:09
85Piet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis 0:26:14
86Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Qhubeka NextHash 0:26:18
87Jordi Meeus (Bel) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:27:22
88Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation 0:28:36
89Christophe Noppe (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
90Timothy Dupont (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
91Eddy Fine (Fra) Cofidis
92Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal
93Lluís Guillermo Mas Bonet
94Emils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 0:28:46
HDSébastien Grignard (Bel) Lotto Soudal
HDMaciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
HDRamon Sinkeldam (Ned) Groupama-FDJ
HDDylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers
HDNiki Terpstra (Ned) TotalEnergies
HDFlorian Maitre (Fra) TotalEnergies
HDDavide Martinelli (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
HDBenjamin Perry (Can) Astana-Premier Tech
HDTom Paquot (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
HDTom Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
DNFNils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFDaniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFDavide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
DNFPascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
DNFHugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFMads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Israel Start-up Nation
DNFSenne Leysen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFJasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFAlex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
DNFMads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
DNFQuinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo
DNFEdward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
DNFJonathan Milan (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
DNFMatej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
DNFMarcel Sieberg (Ger) Bahrain Victorious
DNFMichael Schär (Swi) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFDamien Touze (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFGijs Van Hoecke (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
DNFStefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
DNFOlivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFFabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
DNFJake Stewart (GBr) Groupama-FDJ
DNFMichael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
DNFMitch Docker (Aus) EF Education-Nippo
DNFJean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Cofidis
DNFAndré Carvalho (Por) Cofidis
DNFSven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
DNFFernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
DNFVegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
DNFRui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
DNFMatteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
DNFLeonardo Basso (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFMichal Golas (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
DNFGeoffrey Soupe (Fra) TotalEnergies
DNFSam Bewley (NZl) Team BikeExchange
DNFChristopher Juul-Jensen (Den) Team BikeExchange
DNFBarnabás Peák (Hun) Team BikeExchange
DNFPierre Barbier (Fra) Delko
DNFClément Carisey (Fra) Delko
DNFAlexandre Delettre (Fra) Delko
DNFAugust Jensen (Nor) Delko
DNFDusan Rajovic (Srb) Delko
DNFJulien Trarieux (Fra) Delko
DNFNikias Arndt (Ger) Team DSM
DNFMax Kanter (Ger) Team DSM
DNFCasper Pedersen (Den) Team DSM
DNFJasha Sütterlin (Ger) Team DSM
DNFAimé De Gendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFPieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
DNFVictor Campenaerts (Bel) Qhubeka NextHash
DNFDimitri Claeys (Bel) Qhubeka NextHash
DNFMichael Gogl (Aut) Qhubeka NextHash
DNFGiacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Qhubeka NextHash
DNFGabriel Cullaigh (GBr) Movistar Team
DNFImanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFJuri Hollmann (Ger) Movistar Team
DNFBenjamin Declercq (Bel) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFDaniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFHugo Houle (Can) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFGleb Brussenskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFYevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFYevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFDmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFQuentin Jauregui (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFJérémy Lecroq (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFJonas Van Genechten (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
DNFJonas Castrique (Bel) Bingoal Pauwels Sauzen WB
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Daniel Benson

 Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.

Latest on Cyclingnews