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ROUBAIX, France (VN) — There’s only one winner in Paris-Roubaix, but the entire peloton deserves credit for racing in such extreme conditions.
In what was the first wet and muddy edition since 2001 and 2002, the race was filled with thrills, spills and luck.
Sonny Colbrelli won in a three-up sprint coming into the velodrome to deliver Italy’s first win on the cobbles since the 1990s.
Here’s what some of the leading contenders had to say after the race:
Florian Vermeersch (Lotto-Soudal), 2nd place
“I am having mixed feelings right now because it was an incredible day. I was in the break all day and I could follow two big champions like Van der Poel and Colbrelli, and this in my first Paris-Roubaix. I am also really disappointed that I missed out on the win. It was not much at the finish, and it came down to a sprint. I hope fin a few hours or a few days, the proud feelings will increase, but right now, I am quite disappointed.”
“I tried to attack in the last kilometers, but it wasn’t meant to be. Colbrelli was super strong, and he counted the attack. I don’t have to blame myself. I did everything right. It’s a shame I finished second.
“I didn’t see it coming. I knew I was strong, in this rain you also need so much luck. I was happy I was in the big break, and in the first sectors, we got away with four. I didn’t make it easy on myself, in the end it works out perfectly. Moscon dropped me on the sector, and I could recover, so when van der Poel and Colbrelli came up, I could follow. In the last 20km, I felt really good … it’s a shame.”
Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers), 4th place
“This race is one of the most beautiful races in the world, and I tried to attack from far. I gave everything. I had a little bit of bad luck with puncture, then I was on the limit. When you’re on the limit, you will make mistakes, and I crashed. I didn’t lose too much time. When they came from behind I didn’t have the legs. I tried, 4th place, well, we will try again next time
“Win? Who lows? We cannot say this, maybe, but I don’t know. The race went like this, I don’t know how much I lost with those two things. Now I am just now looking forward to some rest, next season, and maybe Lombardia on Saturday.
“It’s been a speceilatcuar race, I tried to to play my cards by attacking from far. It’s done – another Italian won, and our nation can be happy anyway.”
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), 7th place
“A lot of pain right now. It was a really tough race. It was really hard to focus for so long from the first to the last sector. It was really difficult to ride on the wheels. I couldn’t use my glasses, and it was tough to have a good vision.
“I am not really satisfied with how I rode on the cobbles. I was too afraid sometimes and lost some energy closing gaps. I really don’t think I had the legs for more than sixth or seventh.
“Mathieu was completely in the front when he attacked, and I was too far back. It was a bad mistake from me in being in a bad position. We lost a lot of time, in the end in and I just missed out on because I was not good enough.”