Paris-Roubaix: Reactions from Van der Poel, Philipsen, Pedersen, Ganna, Sheffield: ‘Mathieu was the strongest, so chapeaux’
Van der Poel on solo victory: 'You need a bit of luck and you need good legs, and I had both today.'
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Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) — 1st
“The team rode amazing today. You cannot do better than this. I think I had one of the best days on the bike. I felt really great. I tried to do a couple of attacks already earlier, but it was really hard to drop the guys. Then on the last sector, first it was Degenkolb with the crash, and then I had to chase back to Wout, and I think he had a flat tire then. I found myself at the front, and I just rode as fast as I could until the finish line.
“I didn’t realize that Wout punctured, but when I passed him, his face was low, and I knew he had a problem, but I didn’t know it was a flat tire. For sure it’s unfortunate because I think otherwise we go with the two of us to the finish line. Sometimes that’s part of the race, and I said before, you need a bit of luck and you need good legs, and I had both today.
“It’s incredible. It’s hard to describe, I think I did my best classics season ever, and this was my last race, and to finish it off like this, it’s a dream.”
Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) — 2nd
‘We will remember this for a long time’
I can’t quite grasp it yet. We would not have dared to dream this, but it will stay with me for a long time. We can be very satisfied with the team. We are proud of ourselves. Everything had to fall into place and today it was for us. That is very beautiful.
“This is something that will stay with me to cross the line in such a way that I can see Mathieu cheering. And then sprinting for the podium yourself, that is unique.
“I was still relatively fresh in Wout’s wheel in the final. I had a good chance to win the sprint, but after 260 kilometers, no sprint is easy anymore. I place this achievement very highly. Certainly the way with the team. This is an achievement we will remember for a long time.”
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) — 4th
‘This is a step in the right direction’
“I am pretty empty now. I hoped to race into the final, and I did that today. This is a step in the right direction. Hopefully next year we can take a step up. In the forest I had to close the gap, and the legs were good. That was the moment to try to come back, and I managed to come back into the race. From then on, Alpecin were with three guys in the group, and they had to work to control it. I was trying to survive. Mathieu was super-strong today, so chapeaux. I was just waiting for Carrefour, and waiting for them to go. They did, and I just didn’t have the legs to follow. This is a step in the right direction. I am quite happy.
“I’m tired but also happy. Of course, I would have liked to be on the podium but, in the end, the legs were not there for it today. That’s how it is but I am just happy to finally be able to race the final, or closer to the final, of Paris-Roubaix. Once I was in that group, I was just thinking ‘follow, follow, follow,’ and then hopefully we could make it to a sprint, but I also knew that on Carrefour de l’Arbre, they would also go for it. I just had to hope that I could follow and I couldn’t. I definitely think this is a race that I can come back to win.”
Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) — 6th
“It was very hard today, I am a little disappointed for the result. This year was better than the years before. We arrived with my team all together, but just missing in the end the result. We tried to come back after the Carrefour, and we tried to get back to them, but it was impossible.”
Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) — 92nd
‘Hopefully one day I can come home with a rock from here’
“It was a really hard start. Everyone wanted to go into the breakaway today. It’s normal for this race, because that’s your ticket . it was hard from the start. It was quite slippery on those first sectors. We did a good job remaining calm, and keeping Filippo safe. Coming into the Arenberg, we kept Filippo in good position. I think that’s where the race split apart, and there was another crash that caused a massive gap.
“This race is full of action, and that’s why people love watching it. I am happy to finish it, and I can use this for my experience for later editions. I just didn’t have the legs to stay with that elite group in the final. You have to look at this positively. Every race you can learn something. Hopefully one day I can come home with a rock from here.”