By VeloNews Interactive
This report filed at 12:06 p.m. Eastern:
Domo-Farm Frites finshed 1-2-3 at today’s Paris-Roubaix.
Servais Knaven won, then teammate Johan Museeuw jumped away with one kilometer to go and finished second, and then Romans Vainsteins, the world champion, outsprinted U.S. Postal’s George Hincapie for third place.
Hincapie’s fourth place is the same spot he earned here two years ago. Vainsteins now has taken the lead of the UCI men’s World Cup.
Domo’s Wilfried Peeters finished fifth, and Telekom’s Steffen Wesemann finished sixth.
After the finish, Hincapie said: “There was nothing I could do. The Domo team had a super race. Every time I tried to do something there was a Domo guy on my wheel. When Knaven went, we tried to chase … but at that point there was no hope.”
Look for more coverage from Roubaix on VeloNews.com later today.
Paris-Roubaix Updates: Knaven looks like he’s riding for the win
This report filed at 11:47 a.m. Eastern:
With only 4km remaining, Servais Knaven (Domo) has a lead of 54 seconds. The chase group continues to hold two more Domo riders (Museeuw and Vainsteins) and they’re working to control the chase and get Vainsteins away to take second-place.
Vansteins has attacked twice, but Dierckxsen has chased him down each time. Hincapie is also trying to get some action going, but each time he accelerates, Museeuw is tight to his wheel. Wesemann is also in the mix, but Domo isn’t letting anything go.
With 3km to go, the rain has started again. Dierckxsen is trying to get away once more, but Domo is just too strong.
Paris-Roubaix Updates: Peeters caught, but Domo still leads race
This report filed at 11:37 a.m. Eastern:
Peeters was caught by the four chasers with 14km to go, then just 4km later Museeuw was able to rejoin the leaders. Another chaser, Telekom’s Steffen Wesemann also rejoined the front, bringing the total to seven. Just as the bunch regrouped, Domo’s Servais Knaven attacked and he’s got a 20-second gap with 8km to go.
It looks like this guy could win. If Hincapie or Dierckxsen chase, the other Domo riders will sit on – which mean’s they’ll be there for the sprint. To win, Hincapie or Dierckxsen would need to make a huge effort here to chase, or hope that Knaven dies at the front. There is one hill, with 4km remaining.
And now the gap is 25 seconds – it’s growing.
Paris-Roubaix Updates: Hincapie in the hunt with Peters lead dwindling
This report filed at 11:20 a.m. Eastern:
With 16km remaining, the leader and chase group are on the final tricky section of pavé: Section No. 3. Peeters has a 35-second lead over four chasers: Hincapie, Dierckxsen, and two Domo teammates of Peeters, Knaven and Vainsteins.
The fourth Domo rider, Johan Museeuw flatted and is about 20 seconds behind the group of four.
Mercury’s Van Bon is no longer in the chasing group, after taking a bad fall. He and Mattan are 1:15 back.
Now Dierckxsen is accelerating, with Hincapie. The two Domo riders are sitting on. It’s a very wet and muddy stretch of cobbles.
Peeters lead is now down to just 10 seconds. It looks like it will come back together, then split again. Right at the end of the pave Peeters is about to be caught. Then it’s a big gap to Museeuw; about 20 seconds.
Peeters has been caught with 14km remaining.
Peters flats but holds lead, Hincapie’s group at 20 seconds
This report filed at 10:50 a.m. Eastern:
With 35km remaining, Domo’s Wilifried Peeters remains in the lead – but the gap has dropped to 20 seconds. Hincapie’s group closed a bit after Peeters flatted 5km earlier, but he got a quick tire change from the Mavic support moto.
Another reason for the closing gap is an attack by Hincapie and Telekom’s Steffen Wesemann from the chase group. The pair moved clear momentarily, but the other seven riders have now caught back up to them.
The chase now includes three Domo riders (Knaven had flatted but rejoined), two Cofidis, Lampre’s Dierckxsen, Mercury’s Van Bon – plus Hincapie and Wesemann. Lotto’s Tchmil continues to drive the next chasing group (which includes Max Sciandri, Rolf Sorensen, and Dario Pieri), 2:20 back of Peeters.
The rain and clouds are giving way to clear skies, but five sections of wet pavé remain in the closing 35km..
Paris-Roubaix Updates: Peters leads, Hincapie attacks
This report filed at 9:50 a.m. Eastern:
With a four-pack of Domo riders in the lead group, it came as no surprise when one attacked in the Arenberg Forest section of pavé. Wilfried Peeters was the rider to go, and now has a 1:15 lead. Postal’s Hincapie just attacked, but took the other Domo riders with him: Musesuuw. Vansteins, and Knaven. Cofidis’ Nico Mattan and Lampre’s Dierckxsen are also in that group, and they’ve just rolled out of the Forest.
Hincapie’s group of six is 1:15 down on Peeters.
Lotto’s Tchmil had closed to within 1:30 going in to the Forest, but he must have crashed because he’s now three minutes back.
The wind has dropped off, but the rain continues to come and go. With 70km remaining to the velodrome finish in Roubaix, it appears that Domo has the best hand to play. So Hincapie’s response must be to attack on each remaining section of pavé.
Hincapie at front of brutal race
This report filed at 8:50 a.m. Eastern:
After 10 sections of pavé, this has been absolutely brutal Paris-Roubaix. The original break was pulled in, with another group going clear then pulled back together. It’s now down to 15 rides at the front – and U.S. Postal’s Georg Hincapie is part of the group.
The biggest danger in that group is four Domo-Farm Frites riders. They include: Johan Museeuw, , Servaais Knaven, Wilfried Peeters, and world champion Romans Vainsteins
But there is other talent in the bunch, too, that Hincapie will keep an eye on. Rabobank’s Sven Nijs; Lotto’s Hans De Clercq (his team leaders, Andrei Tchmil is about 1:40 back); Steffan Wesemann (Telekom), Leon Van Bon (Mercury-Viatel); Rolf Sorensen (CSC-World Online); Florent Brard (Festina); Ludo Dierckxsen (Lampre-Daikin); Jens Voight (Credit Agricole).
The group is headed into the 14th pave section. Following is Mapei’s Taffi and Ballerini at 1:24 (and they’re going backwards), and a charging Tchmil at 1:40. There is one more section before the Forest.
This report filed at 7:20 a.m. Eastern: The six-rider group is down to five – Agnolutto, who started the break, flatted on the first section of pavé. The rain has stopped but there are black clouds ahead.
Paris-Roubaix Update: The first breakaway
This report filed at 6:45 a.m. Eastern:
Were now at kilometer 59, and the rain eased off for a little while but it has started falling again. There are six riders in the lead. The break started at 20km; Christophe Agnolutto (AGR2 Pervoyance) started the break and was joined by Daniele Contrini (Liquigas-Pata). But Contrini soon flatted and Agnolutto rode on alone. He was caught by three riders, then two more.
The break includes: Steven De Johng (Rabobank), Florent Brard (Festina), Jens Voight (Credit Agricole), Agnolutto and his teammate Stephane Berbes, and Slyvain Chavenel (Bounjour).
The group’s lead is approaching 2 minutes, and they have some 40km before entering the first pavé.
Paris-Roubaix Update: Crashes, flats in early kilometers
This report filed at 5:30 a.m. Eastern:
As expected, the rain was falling at the start. Riders rolled away at 11:04, local time. We spoke with a number of riders last night, and Derek Bouchard-Hall (Mercury-Viatel) said he expected that half the peloton would go down in crashes in the course of the race. That’s probably a conservative estimate going by this weather . All pavé sections will be soaked
The westerly tailwind encouraged breaks in the first 10km…but there has already been a lot of flats and crashes too.
The Postal riders said they’re all motivated to ride for George. Hincapie himself was looking very confident, and his father is here to cheer him on. On George’s bike this morning, you could see that he’s taped a list of the 24 sections of cobbles. The first of those is at 98,8km.
As for George’s strongest teammate, Viatceslav Ekimov, he said he hasn’t raced Paris-Roubaix in conditions like this. Not many members of the peloton have. The last year when there was notable rain was back in 1994.
Mapei-Quick Step’s Franco Ballerini is entered in the final race of his career. He did a four-month contract extension with Mapei just so he could retire after this event – his favorite race, he said.
Also last night, we spoke with Sean Kelly, a two-time winner of this race. We asked his opinion of today’s likely winner. His choice? Steffen Wesemann.
First Paris-Roubaix Report: Messy weather—cold, wet and windy.
This report filed at 4 a.m. Eastern:
With an hour to go before the start of the 99th Paris-Roubaix, the rain is falling steadily in Compiegne. It’s been Raining steadily for four hours already so we know the cobbles up 100km from here will be treacherous., with mud on the side of the road. This will be the messiest Paris-Roubaix in seven years, at least.
Also, the wind has changed in the night, so the opening 100km to the first pave section will be mostly with the wind. So we can expect some early breakaways. Maybe a group could gain a few minutes before the pavé – with the wind at their back they’ll be flying