Phillipe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) outsprinted Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) to win his first Paris-Roubaix after a fast, windy race, Sunday. His experience and strength allowed him to maneuver Politt into leading around the velodrome, and kicked past the German with 200 meters to go and win by several lengths.
Fellow Quick-Step man Yves Lampaert took third, having been pivotal in enabling Gilbert to split the final breakaway and shed dangermen Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First). Sagan came home in fourth. Having looked dangerous and aggressive through the race, his legs left him in the final 10km, still not looking quite his best following his Tirenno-Adriatico illness.
“It’s hard to believe it. I’m happy,” said Gilbert, who was instrumental in drawing out the final selection.”Its really special. It was a really daring attack and it came off.”
The race was dry and battered by a strong northerly wind, which made the race that bit more intense as the bunch split and came back together several times in the first half of the race.
In the first three hours of racing, there were two large splits with key men at the front each time. However, the race was back together with 100 kilometers to go, at which point the key pavé sectors approached, with the infamous Trouee d’Arenberg falling first.
A run of bad luck for pre-race favorite Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) commenced through the five-star sector, as he mounted the grass and was dropped from the bunch. Once he was back on the pavement and chasing, he got a bike change, then immediately crashed, losing more time.
The decisive action kicked off with 65km to go. The attrition of the cobbles had reduced the front group to around 40 riders, with all the big hitters present save Van Aert, who was one minute back and chasing after his earlier misfortunes, Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Team Emirates), who was around two minutes back, and Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal), who had abandoned.
On cobbled sector number 14 – from Beuvry to Orchies – Politt attacked and drew out Gilbert, Rudiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Wesley Kreder (Wanty-Gobert), and they soon took 15 seconds on the reduced peloton. 15km later, Gilbert was the last of the quartet remaining and was the sole man out front of the race.
Sagan led the chase to regroup with the Quick-Step man, bringing Politt, Van Aert, Vanmarcke, Lampaert, Christophe Laporte (Confidis-Solutions Credits) and Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ) with him. This group of eight led the race going into the five-star sector at Mons-en-Pevele.
Behind, the peloton was rapidly losing ground and was soon 40 seconds back, with Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) looking anxious to chase. However, with Stybar stifling the momentum for Quick-Step, and Sebastien Langeveld (EF-Education First) doing the same for Vanmarke, he was unable to gain any time.
As the cobbled sectors came thick and fast, the group soon dropped to six, with just Gilbert, Lampaert, Van Aert, Vanmarcke, Sagan, and Politt remaining.
With two Quick-Step riders in the move, the Belgian superteam again had the advantage, much as they have had through much of the classics season. They started playing their cards with 30km to go, with Gilbert accelerating off the front, with Sagan and Politt following. Lampaert slowed the chase for Vanmarcke and Van Aert. Once the Belgian champion had disrupted long enough to give the lead trio a clear gap, he set off in pursuit, dropping Van Aert, who was clearly fatigued from his chase after the Arenberg.
Gilbert and Lampaert worked their team advantage through the cobbles of the Carrefour de L’Arbre, taking turns to attack and wear down Sagan, Vanmarcke, and Politt.
Politt remained strong and attacked when the racing was back on the pavement, and Gilbert shadowed, and the pair built a gap. Behind, Sagan was clearly suffering, and Vanmarcke, riding a teammates bike, was struggling with a mechanical.
In the final 10km, it was clear the race would come down to Politt and Gilbert, and, safe in the knowledge he had Lampaert behind, the Belgian was able to let Politt do the majority of the work. The pair went into the velodrome together, and from thereon, it seemed all-but-certain that Gilbert’s vast experience would win out.
“I still have this dream of winning all five monuments,” said Gilbert after the race, who has now won all the monuments except for Milano-Sanremo. “It’s a bit of a crazy dream that has inspired me for ten years and little by little I’m getting closer to it. I feel great pride today. When I decided to take on this challenge three years ago, many people told me the cobbles weren’t for me. I’ve won the Tour of Flanders and now Paris-Roubaix. I was able to transform my qualities as a puncheur. Now, I’m a different rider and I’m very happy to have done it. I’m not afraid of long attacks.”
With his victory, Gilbert continues Quick-Step’s stranglehold on the classics, which began all the way back at the ‘opening weekend’ with Zdenek Stybar’s win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
|1||GILBERT Philippe||Deceuninck - Quick Step||5:58:02|
|2||POLITT Nils||Team Katusha Alpecin||0:00|
|3||LAMPAERT Yves||Deceuninck - Quick Step||0:13|
|4||VANMARCKE Sep||EF Education First||0:40|
|5||SAGAN Peter||BORA - hansgrohe||0:42|
|6||SÉNÉCHAL Florian||Deceuninck - Quick Step||0:47|
|7||TEUNISSEN Mike||Team Jumbo-Visma||0:47|
|8||ŠTYBAR Zdeněk||Deceuninck - Quick Step||0:47|
|9||ŠIŠKEVIČIUS Evaldas||Delko Marseille Provence||0:47|
|10||LANGEVELD Sebastian||EF Education First||0:47|
|11||KÜNG Stefan||Groupama - FDJ||0:47|
|12||VAN AVERMAET Greg||CCC Team||0:47|
|13||NAESEN Oliver||AG2R La Mondiale||0:47|
|14||HAUSSLER Heinrich||Bahrain Merida||1:24|
|15||PETIT Adrien||Team Total Direct Energie||1:25|
|16||HALLER Marco||Team Katusha Alpecin||1:36|
|17||DÉMARE Arnaud||Groupama - FDJ||1:36|
|18||TURGIS Anthony||Team Total Direct Energie||1:36|
|19||HOFSTETTER Hugo||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||1:36|
|20||DE BACKER Bert||Vital Concept - B&B Hotels||1:36|
|21||VAN BAARLE Dylan||Team Sky||1:40|
|22||VAN AERT Wout||Team Jumbo-Visma||1:42|
|23||VANDENBERGH Stijn||AG2R La Mondiale||2:14|
|24||BURGHARDT Marcus||BORA - hansgrohe||2:14|
|25||DE VREESE Laurens||Astana Pro Team||2:36|
|26||BACKAERT Frederik||Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team||2:36|
|27||STUYVEN Jasper||Trek - Segafredo||2:38|
|28||DEGENKOLB John||Trek - Segafredo||3:00|
|29||KEUKELEIRE Jens||Lotto Soudal||3:06|
|30||KOREN Kristijan||Bahrain Merida||3:39|
|31||BALLERINI Davide||Astana Pro Team||4:25|
|32||ROWE Luke||Team Sky||4:25|
|33||LAPORTE Christophe||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||7:06|
|34||WÜRTZ SCHMIDT Mads||Team Katusha Alpecin||8:14|
|35||SARREAU Marc||Groupama - FDJ||9:09|
|36||DENZ Nico||AG2R La Mondiale||9:11|
|37||DEVRIENDT Tom||Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team||9:11|
|38||KREDER Wesley||Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team||9:11|
|39||SELIG Rüdiger||BORA - hansgrohe||10:19|
|40||WYNANTS Maarten||Team Jumbo-Visma||10:19|
|41||GARCÍA CORTINA Iván||Bahrain Merida||10:19|
|42||VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume||CCC Team||10:20|
|44||ARNDT Nikias||Team Sunweb||11:51|
|45||BOASSON HAGEN Edvald||Team Dimension Data||11:51|
|46||RUSSO Clément||Team Arkéa Samsic||11:51|
|47||VAN HOOYDONCK Nathan||CCC Team||11:51|
|48||TOUZÉ Damien||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||11:51|
|49||DE KORT Koen||Trek - Segafredo||11:51|
|50||ASGREEN Kasper||Deceuninck - Quick Step||11:51|
|51||PEDERSEN Mads||Trek - Segafredo||11:51|
|52||DUPONT Timothy||Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team||11:51|
|53||SCHILLINGER Andreas||BORA - hansgrohe||11:51|
|54||LEMOINE Cyril||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||11:51|
|55||THEUNS Edward||Trek - Segafredo||11:51|
|56||KRISTOFF Alexander||UAE-Team Emirates||14:15|
|57||DILLIER Silvan||AG2R La Mondiale||14:15|
|58||HOLLENSTEIN Reto||Team Katusha Alpecin||14:15|
|59||VALLÉE Boris||Wanty - Gobert Cycling Team||14:18|
|60||BRESCHEL Matti||EF Education First||15:47|
|61||JANSE VAN RENSBURG Reinardt||Team Dimension Data||15:47|
|62||BOL Cees||Team Sunweb||15:47|
|63||EENKHOORN Pascal||Team Jumbo-Visma||15:47|
|64||DUVAL Julien||AG2R La Mondiale||15:47|
|65||LE GAC Olivier||Groupama - FDJ||15:47|
|66||EISEL Bernhard||Team Dimension Data||15:47|
|67||TURGIS Jimmy||Vital Concept - B&B Hotels||15:47|
|68||GODON Dorian||AG2R La Mondiale||15:47|
|70||MOHORIČ Matej||Bahrain Merida||15:47|
|71||TRARIEUX Julien||Delko Marseille Provence||15:47|
|72||LECROQ Jérémy||Vital Concept - B&B Hotels||15:47|
|73||ERVITI Imanol||Movistar Team||15:47|
|74||BOOM Lars||Roompot - Charles||15:47|
|75||CURVERS Roy||Team Sunweb||15:47|
|76||DOCKER Mitchell||EF Education First||15:47|
|77||WIŚNIOWSKI Łukasz||CCC Team||15:51|
|78||HOULE Hugo||Astana Pro Team||15:51|
|79||DEWULF Stan||Lotto Soudal||15:51|
|80||SCHÄR Michael||CCC Team||15:51|
|81||KONOVALOVAS Ignatas||Groupama - FDJ||15:51|
|82||STANNARD Ian||Team Sky||15:51|
|83||JARRIER Benoît||Team Arkéa Samsic||15:51|
|84||MOSCON Gianni||Team Sky||15:51|
|85||ZABEL Rick||Team Katusha Alpecin||20:25|
|86||VERMOTE Julien||Team Dimension Data||23:26|
|87||TRATNIK Jan||Bahrain Merida||23:26|
|88||BONNAMOUR Franck||Team Arkéa Samsic||23:26|
|89||ROOSEN Timo||Team Jumbo-Visma||23:26|
|90||ERMENAULT Corentin||Vital Concept - B&B Hotels||23:26|
|91||BAK Lars Ytting||Team Dimension Data||23:26|
|92||PICHOT Alexandre||Team Total Direct Energie||23:26|
|93||VAN POPPEL Boy||Roompot - Charles||23:26|
|94||SCULLY Tom||EF Education First||23:26|
|95||DOULL Owain||Team Sky||23:37|
|96||MULLEN Ryan||Trek - Segafredo||23:37|
|97||BOECKMANS Kris||Vital Concept - B&B Hotels||23:43|
|100||FORTIN Filippo||Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||27:17|
Results provided by ProCyclingStats.