April 15, 2015
Paris-Roubaix 2015 – Compiègne – Roubaix : 253,5 km
For a supposed lottery, Paris-Roubaix has had an increasing tendency to run very much according to the form book in the last decade.
April 15, 2015
Paris-Roubaix 2015 – Compiègne – Roubaix : 253,5 km
For a supposed lottery, Paris-Roubaix has had an increasing tendency to run very much according to the form book in the last decade. There have still been occasional surprise winners, such as Stuart O’Grady (2007) and Johan Vansummeren (2011), but by and large, one tenet has consistently held true – the strongest man at the Tour of Flanders is still the strongest man seven days later on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. To illustrate the point, Peter Van Petegem’s Flanders-Roubaix double of 2003 was the first since Roger De Vlaeminck’s 26 years previously and just the eighth in history. Since then, however, Tom Boonen (2005 and 2012) and Fabian Cancellara (2010 and 2013) have helped themselves to two Flanders-Roubaix doubles apiece, a trend that has often left the Queen of the Classics divested of the same suspense that accompanies the build-up to the Ronde. With Boonen and Cancellara both ruled out of this year’s Paris-Roubaix through injury, however, the build-up has taken on a rather different guise, despite Alexander Kristoff’s show of force in winning the Tour of Flanders last week. Although his Ronde win was sandwiched between domination of the Three Days of De Panne and victory at Scheldeprijs, Kristoff’s uneven back catalogue on the Roubaix pavé means that while he is the bookmakers’ favourite, he offers none of the guarantees provided by Boonen and Cancellara in yesteryear. In theory at least, the most open and unpredictable Paris-Roubaix of the past decade awaits.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) rode a near-perfect race to take the 2015 edition of Paris-Roubaix in a sprint finish ahead of Zdeněk Štybar (Etixx-QuickStep) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing).
The German rider latched onto a dangerous move initiated by Van Avermaet and Yves Lampaert (Etixx-QuickStep), and even after the lead group swelled to seven riders he had more than enough to take his second Monument of the season after winning Milan-San Remo last month.
“This is the race I’ve always dreamt of winning,” Degenkolb said before hugging his teammates at the finish.
In a race that ebbed and flowed with different dynamics and groups coming into play with each sector of cobbles, Degenkolb stood out, not just for his expected strong finish – he was second on the velodrome last year – but for his aggression and precision at key points in the race.
When Van Avermaet and Lampaert created a small buffer on the elite contenders inside the final 12 kilometres Degenkolb’s teammate Bert De Backer jumped clear. It created an opportunity for Degenkolb to follow just moments later and he quickly linked up with his teammate before forging clear and joining Van Avermaet and Lampaert.
When the Etixx rider understandably refused to work Degenkolb didn’t panic. He and Van Avermaet continued to share the work as a move that included Stybar, Lars Boom and Jens Keukeleire joined up to form the final winning break inside the final few kilometres.
Coming into the velodrome it was Etixx who hit the front with Stybar in second wheel and Degenkolb riding in his slipstream. When the Milan-San Remo winner opened his sprint on the final banking there was little challenge from the rest of the break. Stybar hung on for second with Van Avermaet claimed yet another podium in a spring Monument.
“This is unbelievable. I can’t believe it, right now. I’ve had to work very hard for it and my team was there the whole day to hold the situation under control, until I could start my race. We knew that it was going to be hard and that a big group could go to the finish. I was in a situation that I had to go, otherwise I’d be in the same situation as last year [when he finished second behind lone winner Terpstra, ed.]. I had to invest something and I was not afraid to fail. That was the key.
“When you are probably the fastest guy, nobody wants to work with you and bring you to the finish. That’s why I decided to go by myself. I think it was the right decision and at the right moment. It was really, really hard but I’m just so happy and proud.”
How it unfolded
In stark contrast to the grey clouds, wind and rain that featured in Compiègne on Saturday, the 200 riders who lined up at the start line on Sunday were treated to sun and a favourable tailwind that blew them towards the first of 27 sectors of pavé.
A blistering fast hour of racing at an average of 50 km/h featured a lot of attacks and despite the high-speed nine riders managed to power away. They were Sean De Bie (Lotto-Soudal), Grégory Rast (Trek Factory Racing), Alexis Gougéard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Adam Blythe (Orica-GreenEdge), Tim Declercq (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Ralf Matzka (Bora-Argon 18) and Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).
After 75 kilometres of racing the nine had a maximum lead of 10 minutes over the peloton with Team Sky and Katusha starting to pick up the speed.
The gap slowly started to come down on the third sector of pavé while heading towards the first monstrous sector of Arenberg. Just before the forest team Sky’s Geraint Thomas flatted, forcing him to start the Arenberg at the back of the peloton.
BMC led the main field over the first part of the Arenberg, about five minutes behind the leaders.
Possibly due to the dry weather conditions, there were few incidents and a large group exited the forest at more than five minutes from the leaders, where Sean De Bie punctured. Bradley Wiggins was among the riders who was distanced but he quickly returned.
On a railroad crossing after the Arenberg forest, a major incident occurred with train barriers coming down with three quarters of the peloton ignoring the lights and slaloming over the tracks shortly before a TGV-train passed through. A little later, the race jury placed motorbikes in front of the peloton to make them wait for the riders who were held up.
The Etixx-QuickStep team made their first surge at sector 14 over the Tilloy – Sars-et-Rosières, after 180 kilometres of racing, while trailing the leaders by less than four minutes.
After coming off the sector the course turned briefly right, resulting in a section with crosswinds. Five Etixx–QuickStep riders featured at front of the peloton and created a lot of damage. Van Avermaet and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) were among the riders who were caught behind in a second echelon, and Wiggins even further behind, but they all managed to work their way back into the mix.
With just over 50 kilometres from the finish the peloton hit pavé sector 11 over the Auchy-lez-Orchies – Bersée at less than two minutes from the break. While Slovakian champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) accelerated, his teammate Matti Breschel and former winner Johan Vansummeren (AG2R-La Mondiale) were among the victims of a crash just before the Mons-en-Pévèle at sector 10.
The remains of the peloton – about 40 riders – hit the cobbles and Etixx–QuickStep made a second move with a fierce acceleration into crosswinds from Stijn Vandenbergh. In the peloton, FDJ took the initiative on sector 9 over the Mérignies – Avelin with Yoann Offredo leading out French champion Arnaud Démare. The FDJ-led field was about 15 seconds down on Vandenbergh, who was a minute down on the five leaders.
Wiggins lived up to his role of favourite by emerging alone at Moulin de Vertain. The former Tour de France winner quickly caught up with Vandenbergh, and Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Soudal) and Stybar also bridged across.
Katusha worked hard in the peloton to bring the Wiggins-group back, which happened just before sector 6 through the Cysoing – Bourghelles. Lars Boom (Astana) led the peloton over the sector with the breakaway group within sight.
The move from Boom caused damage in the peloton and once off the cobbles Van Avermaet and Sagan kept the pace high.
On the following sector of Bourghelles – Wannehain, last year’s winner Niki Tersptra attacked. Once off the cobbles an select group bridged up to the breakaway. The pace dropped back and with 21 kilometres to go about 20 riders were together in front of the race.
In front Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) and Borut Bozic (Astana) attacked, however, on the cobbles of Camphin-en-Pévèle (sector 5) Roelandts dropped the Astana rider ahead of the typically crucial sector of Le Carrefour de l’Arbre.
Thought it was a strong late-race effort, the Lotto-Soudal rider was reeled in with 14 kilometres to go after a ferocious acceleration from Boom. Once caught, the lull in pace allowed Van Avermaet and Lampaert to jump clear.
With the pair still within sight, De Backer set up Degenkolb.
Even when Stybar, and then a trio of Boom, Elmiger and Keukeleire made it seven riders at the front of the race, Degenkolb remained composed. With Sagan and Kristoff out of the picture, he was undoubtedly the fastest finisher in the group.
He kept close to the front and survived the final and relatively gentle sector of cobbles in Roubaix, and rounded the track before doing what he does best — winning the sprint to the line.
1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin 5:49:51
2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
4 Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team
5 Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling
6 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge
7 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:07
8 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:28
9 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:29
10 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 0:00:31
11 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
12 Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Alpecin
13 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling
14 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
15 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx – Quick-Step
16 Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
17 Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
18 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
19 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
20 Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing
21 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
22 Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
23 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
24 Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team 0:01:38
25 Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
26 Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
27 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:02:21
28 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 0:02:55
29 Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
30 Tim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
31 Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
32 Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ.fr
33 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
34 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team
35 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal
36 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal 0:02:58
37 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:03:21
38 Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
39 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
40 Yannick Martinez (Fra) Team Europcar 0:03:24
41 Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
42 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
43 Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
44 Luca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha
45 Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
46 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
47 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky 0:03:29
48 Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha 0:06:05
49 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
50 Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Team Katusha
51 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:07:35
52 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:07:48
53 Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise 0:07:50
54 Tyler Farrar (USA) MTN – Qhubeka
55 Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
56 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Team Europcar
57 Oliver Naesen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
58 Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
59 Frederico Zurlo (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
60 Davide Frattini (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
61 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida
62 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
63 Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC Racing Team
64 Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
65 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
66 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar Team
67 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team
68 Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
69 Scott Thwaites (GBr) Bora-Argon 18
70 Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha
71 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky
72 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
73 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC Racing Team
74 Markel Irizar (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
75 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
76 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
77 Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:07:56
78 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
79 John Gadret (Fra) Movistar Team
80 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
81 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky
82 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ.fr
83 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
84 Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:08:13
85 Adam Blythe (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:08:24
86 Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:10:53
87 Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
88 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise 0:11:59
89 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:12:25
90 Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling 0:13:06
91 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
92 Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora-Argon 18
93 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:15:21
94 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
95 Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
96 Ralf Matzka (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
97 Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
98 Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Bora-Argon 18 0:16:32
99 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
100 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
101 Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement 0:17:16
102 Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 0:17:24
103 Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team
104 David Boucher (Fra) FDJ.fr
105 Andrew Fenn (GBr) Team Sky
106 Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
107 Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
108 Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
109 Antoine Duchesne (Can) Team Europcar
110 Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:17:27
111 Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale
112 Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
113 John Murphy (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
114 Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
115 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory Racing 0:17:32
116 Pieter Van Speybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
117 Simone Antonini (Ita) Wanty – Groupe Gobert 0:17:34
118 Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
119 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:17:39
120 Robert Wagner (Ger) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
121 Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
122 Christophe Laborie (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
123 Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:24:54
124 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN – Qhubeka
125 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
126 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
127 Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
128 Julien Morice (Fra) Team Europcar
129 Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
130 Frédéric Brun (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
131 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:27:12
132 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica GreenEdge
133 Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
OTL Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica GreenEdge
OTL Morgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar
OTL Daniil Fominykh (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
OTL Tanner Putt (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
OTL Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
OTL Shane Archbold (NZl) Bora-Argon 18
OTL Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN – Qhubeka
DNF Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN – Qhubeka
DNF Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) MTN – Qhubeka
DNF Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN – Qhubeka
DNF Matt Brammeier (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka
DNF Théo Bos (Ned) MTN-Qhubeka
DNF Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
DNF Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.fr
DNF Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Jonas Ahlstrand (Swe) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNF Kristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNF Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNF Clément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNF Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
DNF Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
DNF Stijn Steels (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
DNF Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team Europcar
DNF Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar
DNF Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar
DNF James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert
DNF Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
DNF Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team
DNF Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
DNF Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Movistar Team
DNF Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team
DNF Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
DNF Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
DNF Daniel Mclay (GBr) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
DNF Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
DNF Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Team Katusha
DNF Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Team Katusha
DNF Vladimir Isaychev (Rus) Team Katusha
DNF Rick Flens (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNF Bram Tankink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
DNF Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
DNF Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
DNF Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
DNF Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNF Robert Förster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
DNF Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNF Maxat Ayazbayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
DNF Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ.fr
DNF Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team
DNF Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
DNF Hayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing
DNF Gert Steegmans (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
DNF Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica GreenEdge
DNF Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale
DNF Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNF Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
DNF Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
DNF Chun Kai Feng (Tpe) Lampre-Merida
DNF Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida
DNF Luka Pibernik (Slo) Lampre-Merida
DNF Ariel Maximiliano RICHEZE
DNF Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling
DNF Jérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling
DNF Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team