Roubaix - Dutch rider Niki Terpstra has attacked just over 6km from home to stun a
host of favourites and win Paris-Roubaix at the end of 257km of racing
The race had seemed set for a sprint finish among 11
riders but Terpstra took advantage of the marking of favourites Tom
Boonen, Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan to go solo and win in the
Roubaix velodrome after five hours 38 minutes and 57 seconds.
German sprinter John Degenkolb won the sprint for second 20 seconds later with Cancellara third.
finished fifth two years ago and third last year, 29-year-old Terpstra,
who rides for Omega Pharma, finally delivered on his immense potential
on the biggest Spring Classics stage of all.
In so doing, he became the first Dutch winner of the 'Hell of the North' since Servais Knaven in 2001.
been a while for the Dutch people. Servais was a teammate of mine in
Milram. I learnt a lot from here when we rode Paris-Roubaix together
five years ago," said Terpstra.
"I'm happy to close this gap of Dutch wins, it's (been) too long.
I was a little child and I started cycling, Paris-Roubaix was the most
special race for me. Now I've won it, it's a dream come true."
winner Degenkolb said: "Terpstra won the race but we can be really
proud of second place. It's definitely the next step of growing
(improving) to be on the podium of a Monument."
The finish was an anti-climax to what seemed set to be the most thrilling end to the 'Queen of the Classics' in many years.
team-mate Boonen had started hostilities 64km out when he attacked on
the Beuvry-la-Foret cobbled section -- one of 28 separate cobbled
section covering a total of 51.1km.
He helped close down the gap
to the early breakaway and took a host of dangerous riders, including
Briton Geraint Thomas, with him.
The BMC team of Belgian Greg Van
Avermaet, who was second in last week's Tour of Flanders, led the chase,
with Cancellara -- the reigning champion here and winner in Flanders --
biding his time.
A lead group of six opened up a 50-second lead
but with 38km left, Belgian Sep Vanmarcke -- second to Cancellara last
year and third in Flanders -- led a counter-attack, taking Cancellara
That closed the gap to under 30 seconds before they sat
up and Sagan was next to try to close the distance, which he managed
with 24km left.
Within a few more kilometres, another
Vanmarcke-Cancellara acceleration breached the peloton's gap to the
leaders and almost immediately, that pair went on the attack.
Boonen's team-mate Zdenek Stybar and Sagan went with them, with 2012
Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins in a group of six chasers who kept
the gap at only 15-20 seconds.
Wiggins's Sky team-mate Thomas worked hard with Boonen and Terpstra to join the quintet in front with 9km left.
made Degenkolb, as the best sprinter, the main dangerman and as the
favourites watched each other to see who would make a break for home,
Terpstra jumped away with just over 6km remaining.
no-one reacted and he quickly eked out a lead of over 10 seconds, at
which point it was clear the rest were racing for second.
came together in the last few kilometres at the end of the cobblestones
(sports director) Wilfried (Peeters) told me to attack and 20 seconds
later I was able to do so," explained Terpstra.
"Wilfried said we
go for the sprint with Tom but if you can attack it's always good to
open the final. They know I like to attack so it was good."
Sagan was sixth while Wiggins trailed home in ninth and Boonen a disappointing 10th.
Results from the 257 kilometres Paris-Roubaix cycling race on Sunday:
1. Niki Terpstra (NED/OPQ) 6hr 09min 01sec, 2. John Degenkolb (GER/GIA) at 20sec, 3. Fabian Cancellara (SUI/TRE) same time, 4. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL/BKN) s.t., 5. Zdenek Stybar (CZE/OPQ) s.t., 6. Peter Sagan (SVK/CAN) s.t., 7. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) s.t., 8. Sebastian Langeveld (NED/GRM) s.t., 9. Bradley Wiggins (GBR/SKY) s.t., 10. Tom Boonen (BEL/OPQ) s.t., 11. Bert De Backer (BEL/GIA) 26, 12. Arnaud Demare (FRA/FDJ) 47, 13. Bernhard Eisel (GER/SKY) s.t., 14. Sebastien Turgot (FRA/ALM) s.t., 15. Bjorn Leukemans (BEL/WGG) s.t.
17. Greg Van avermaet (BEL/BMC) s.t., 38. Johan Van Summeren (BEL/GRS) 2.59