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Paris Roubaix - Best of 2015

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John Degenkolb (TGA) doubly made history when he became the first German since Josef Fischer in1896 to win the Queen of Classics and the first man since Sean Kelly in 1986 to achieve the Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix double in the same year. A frustrated second in 2014, the Giant Alpecin team leader made the right move at the right time to finally outsprint the magnificent seven left in contention on the Roubaix velodrome and snatch his third major classic after Paris-Tours in 2013 and...

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"It was difficult. I knew John was one of the fastest guys in all the bunch, and it would be very hard to beat him. But after such a hard race, you never  know. I was hoping he would be tired but everyone was on their knees. It was a matter of who gets something left. I just couldn't beat him today. Congrats to him. There was a chance to attack in the finale and it was probably the only time to beat John. But I couldn't. I think we (Etixx Quick Step) were very competitive in every race....

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"San Remo was already emotional but this is topping everything. This is the race I always dreamt of winning. I had to work very hard for it. My team worked the whole day to hold the situation under control until I could start. We knew it was going to be hard and that a big group would make it to the finish. I really did not want to find myself in the same situation as last year . I was in a situation where I had to go, I had to invent something. I was not afraid to fail and that was the key....

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Newsflashes (Local time)

16:39Top five placings

1. John Degenkolb (Germany, TGA)

2. Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic, EQS)

3. Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium, BMC)

4. Lars Boom (Netherlands, AST)

5. Martin Elmiger (Switzerland, IAM)

16:33Degenkolb wins Paris-Roubaix

Germany's John Degenkolb (TGA) wins Paris-Roubaix ahead of Zdenek Sybar (EQS) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC).

16:32Seven in the lead

Seven battle it out for the victory on the velodrome:  Lars Boom (AST), Martin Elmiger (IAM), Jens Keukeliere (OGE), Zdenek Stybar (EQS) , Yves Lampaert (LTS), Greg Van AVermaet and John Degenkolb (TGA)

16:30Wiggins tries

Two kilometres to go and Wiggins also raised the tempo to try and chase down the gang of four.

16:29Four in the lead

Zdenek Stybar (EQS) joins John Degenkolb (TGA), Yves Lampaert (EQS) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in the lead.

16:28Four chasers

Four riders are chasing behind the three with 4 kms to go: Lars Boom (AST), Martin Elmiger (IAM), Jens Keukeleire (OGE) and Zdenek Stybar (EQS). 

16:23Degenkolb back on the two

John Degenkolb (TGA), last year's runner-up, bravely chased behind Van Avermaet and Lampaert and he joins the two Belgians with 7 kms to go.

16:20Degenkolb and De Backer chase

John Degenkolb (TGA), second last year, is chasing with team-mate Bet de Backer behind Van Avermaet and Lampaert.

16:18Lampaert and Van Avermaet in the lead

Yves Lampaert (EQX) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) attacked together and took the group off their guard (12 kms to go)

16:16Roelandts caught

Lars Boom (AST) attacks as Jurgen Roelandts (LTS) is caught with 14 kms to go.

16:1215 kms to go...

... and Jurgen Roelandts (LTS) keeps a slim lead over Borut Bozic (AST) with Niki Terpstra (EQS) and John Degenkolb (TGA) among the most active at the front of the pack.

16:10Still in contention

The group of favourites notably includes Alexander Kristoff, Peter Sagan, John Degenkolb,  Bradley Wiggins, Zdenek Stybar, Niki Terpstra, Sep Vanmarcke, Greg Van Avermaet, Lars Boom and Ian Stannard. 

16:07Roelandts alone in the lead

The former Belgian champion dropped Bozic and leads the pack by 10 seconds.

16:06Bozic and Roelandts atatck

Borut Bosic (AST) and Jurgen Roelandts (LTS) attacked with 20 kms to go. 

16:02Vanmarcke accelerates

Sep Vanmarcke (TLJ) raised the tempo as the group of favourites catch the last four escapees except Gougeard, who insists.

15:56Gap down to 20 seconds

Only four men left in the lead as Tim Declercq (TSV) has been dropped. Rast, Saramotins, Gougeard and Backaert hold a slim 20 seconds lead over the pack (25 kms to go). 

15:55Wiggins caught

The Wiggins group were caught with 28 kms to go and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) moved on the junction.

15:50Four chasers

Wiggins (SKY) and Vandenbergh (EQS) are now joined by Zdenek Stybar (EQS) and Jens Debusschere (LTS) in the chase behind the break.

15:48Wiggins attacks

As the peloton regrouped, Bradley Wiggins (SKY) attacked on his own with 22 km to go to join Stijn Vandenbergh (EQS). 

15:46Four move from the peloton

Ramon Sinkeldam (TGA), Maarten Wynants (TLJ), Manuel Quinziato (BMC) and Belgian champion Jens
Debusschere (LTS) broke with the peloton, chasing beind Stijn  Vandenbergh (EQS)

15:4235kms to go...

... and the five lead Stijn Vandenbergh (EQS) by 50 seconds and the peloton by 1:10.

15:40Puncture for Demare

French champion Arnaud Demare (FDJ) flatted in sector 9 with 40 kms to go.

15:3840 kms to go...

... and Gregory Rast (FR), Alexis Gougeard (ALM), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM), Tim Declercq (TSV) and Frederik Backaert (WGG) lead Stijn Vandenbergh (EQS) and the peloton by 1:10.

15:35FDJ chase behind Vandenbergh

Yoann Offredo is leading the peloton's chase behind Vandenbergh with French champion Arnaud Demare on his heels.

15:30Vandenbergh attacks

Stijn Vandenbergh (EQS) surges at the front of the pack and goes.

15:28Five in the lead

Adam Blythe (OGE) and Ralf Matzka (BOA) are being dropped by the breakaway group in the Mons-en-Pevele sector.

15:24The break in sector 10

The seven escapees are into the ill-famed Mons-en-Pevele cobbled sector with a 1:40 lead over a nervous peloton, still comprising some 60 riders. 

15:20Van Summeren and Breschel crash

2011 winner Johan Van Summeren (ALM) crashed with Matti Breschel (BMC).

15:19Sagan moves

Peter Sagan (TCS) attacks in sector 11, but Alexander Kristoff (KAT) is keeping a close watch.

15:15200 kms covered

And the seven escapees lead the peloton by just over two minutes. A group of six riders broke from the peloton but only lead the back by a few hundred meters for now.

15:10Another acceleration by Etixx

Yves Lampaert, Stijn Vandenbergh and Guillaume van Keirsbuck keep working extremely hard at the front of the bunch in sector 12 in Orchies for their leaders Niki Tersptra and Zdenek Stybar.

15:05Gap under three minutes

60 kms to go for the seven escapees, who lost Pierre-Luc Perichon (BSE) after a puncture. The break lead the peloton by less than three minutes.

15:03Peloton regroups

65 kms to go and Etixx still lead the regrouped bunch with Stijn Vandenbergh and Yves Lampaert. If it is any indication of the current form of the favourites, Peter Sagan (TCS), John Degenkolb (TGA), Ian Stannard (SKY) and Lars Boom (AST) were among the other riders in the front group when the pack split.

14:56Etixx attacks

Km 190 - Five Etixx Quick Step riders raised the tempo with the help of sidewind in sector 13 and seriously split the main bunch. Stijn Vandenbergh is leading the way and among the riders dropped for now are Alexander Kristoff and Bradley Wiggins.

14:52Etixx Quick Step still lead the peloton

Niki Terpstra's team-mates are lined up at the front of the pack, some four minutes behind the break, who saw Backaert make it back after his puncture. 

14:49Thomas dropped

Geraint Thomas (SKY) is still incapable of making it back inside the main pack. His chances look seriously hampered now after his crash and two punctures.

14:47Average speed

The average speed in the fourth hour of the race was 40.6 kph for an overall speed of 44.4 kph.

14:46Seven in the lead

Punctures forced Sean de Bie (LTS) and Frederik Backaert (WGG) out of the breakaway group. Seven riders are now in the lead: Gregory Rast (FR), Adam Blythe (OGE), Alexis Gougeard (ALM), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM), Pierre-Luc Perichon (BSE), Tim Declercq (TSV) and Ralf  Matzka (BOA).

14:41Etixx Quick Step set the pace

Etixx Quick Step raised the tempo on sector 16 and stretched the bunch without any consequence yet.

14:37Greipel leads the bunch

Already seen working hard in Flanders a week ago, Andre Greipel (LTS) is leading the pack in sector 16. Title-holder Niki Terpstra is not far behind.

14:33Thomas crashes

Km 164 - Hard luck continues for Geraint Thomas who hit a kerb and crashed. He was quickly back on his bike, but after two punctures looks really jinxed.  

14:29Peloton waits for the delayed riders

The front part of the peloton was neutralised by a race motorcycle to wait for the half of the bunch halted at the railway crossing.

14:27Peloton split by a railway crossing

French champion Arnaud Demare (FDJ) almost hit the fence at a railway crossing and was one of the last riders to cross as the peloton was split when a train ran past.

14:22Split peloton

The peloton split in several groups on the Arenberg trench. Bradley Wiggins was in a second group who just managed to make it back on the flat (Km 162).

14:20Haussler now takes the reins

Australian champion Heinrich Haussler (IAM) led the bunch out of Arenberg 5:40 behind the escapees. His team-mate Sylvain Chavanel was among the riders dropped on the trench. 

14:17Van Avermaet leads the chase

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), third in the Tour of Flanders last Sunday, is leading the peloton in the trench.

14:16The peloton on Arenberg

The pack, led by Lotto Soudal riders, tackled the Arenberg Trench with a 5:50 deficit on the breakaway.

14:13Saramotins in the lead

Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM) attacked on Arenberg and is now alone in the front, leading his former breakaway companions by some 30 metres.

14:11De Bie flatted

Sean De Bie (LTS) punctured and is dropped on the Arenberg Trench.

14:10The break in Arenberg

Gregory Rast (FR), Adam Blythe (OGE), Alexis Gougeard (ALM), Sean De Bie (LTS), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM), Pierre-Luc Perichon (BSE), Tim Declercq (TSV), Frederik Backaert (WGG) and Ralf  Matzka (BOA) are in the Arenberg Trench (km 158).

14:07Westra crashes again

Second fall of the day for Lieuwe Westra (AST), involved in a crash with three other riders, including Giovanni Bernaudeau (EUC).

14:05Geraint Thomas punctured

Flat tyre for the Welshman, who punctures for the second time shortly before cobbled sector number 19 (km 149)

13:59Gap up again

The nine escapees are on sector 19, the last before the Arenberg trench, with a 6:50 lead over the peloton who eased off a bit, allowing some dropped riders like Yoan Offredo, Tyler Farrar or Davide Cimolai to make it back in the bunch.

13:50And another puncture for Offredo

The French FDJ rider flatted for the third time...

13:49Average speed

The average speed in the third hour of the stage was 41.2 kph for an overall average speed of 45.5 kph.

13:48Devolder out

As could be feared after his crash, Stijn Devolder (TFR) has officially given up.

13:43Declercq punctures

Flat tyre for Tim Declercq (TSV) in the leading group.

13:38Several crashes at the back

Several crashes took place at the back of a fast peloton. Lieuwe Westra (AST), Adriano Malori (MOV) and Adrien Petit (COF) were among the riders to hit the tarmac.

13:33Gap stable

Gregory Rast (FR), Adam Blythe (OGE), Alexis Gougeard (ALM), Sean De Bie (LTS), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM), Pierre-Luc Perichon (BSE), Tim Declercq (TSV), Frederik Backaert (WGG) and Ralf  Matzka (BOA) lead the peloton by seven minutes on sector 22 (km 130).

13:24Tough luck for Offredo

France's Yoann Offredo has ben unlucky since the start. He punctured twice - including once on his way to the start - and just crashed after taking his bag at the feeding. His team-mate Matthieu Ladagnous, sick, quit at the feeding. Bad news for French champion and team leader Arnaud Demare.

13:17Checking Tour route?

The cobbled sectors 25, 24 and 22 will be on the course of the Tour de France stage in the North in July.

13:13Matthew Hayman: «The most important race of the season for me»

Australian Matthew Hayman is among the most experienced Paris-Roubaix riders as he is taking part in his 14th Queen of Classics. He believes experience could be an advantage.

“Experience is definitely an advantage but it can also be a disadvantage because you can tell yourself this is where this and this happened or so and so crashed or attacked and it could stop you moving, but by and large, yes it helps,” he said before the start.

“This is the most important race of the...

13:06Devolder injured in crash

Trek Factory leader Stijn Devolder looked the most seriously hurt rider in the crash. He was sitting on the tarmac by his bike, looking stunned. 

13:04Crash at the back

Gert Steegmans (TFR) is among the many riders held by a massive pile-up at the back of the pack in sector 26.

13:03Latest gap

Team Sky lead the peloton in the second cobbled sector between Viesly and Quievy with a 7:50 gap behind the nine-man break (Km 105).

13:01Matzka in shape

Ralf Matzka (BOA) is in good shape in the current classics. He was already in the morning break of last weekend's Tour of Flanders.

12:59Demare looking for Top Five finish

French champion Arnaud Demare changed bikes shortly before the first cobbled sector. His ambitions are real in the race this year : "What I'm hoping for is to finish in a small group at the front. On Paris-Roubaix, a top 5 or a podium would suit me, it would be part of my progression. I think it"s feasible. When I see that last year John Degenkolb finished second and that I came close to stay in their group, I tell myself it's possible. I k now that this season I can handle the distance...

12:54Peloton on the pavés

The main pack, led by Team Sky riders, tackled the first cobbles eight minutes behind the nine escapees (km 98.5).

12:50Perichon flats

Perichon (BSE) punctured and is now 20 seconds behind his former breakaway companions.

12:50Mechanical for Geraint Thomas

The Welshman is quickly brought back into the peloton by Christian Knees.

12:47The break on the cobbles

The nine escapees are tackling the first cobbled sector of Troisvilles (Km 98.5) with an 8:45 lead over the main pack.

12:46Average speed

The average speed in the second hour of the race was 45.4 kph for an overall average speed of 47,9 kph. 

12:4210 kms from the first cobbles

Km 86 - The nine escapees are ten kilometres from the first cobbled sector and lead the peloton by 8:55.

12:30Gougeard a cobbles lover too

France's Alexis Gougeard is also a cobbles expert of sorts, having finished second in the junior race in 2011 behind Florian Senechal.

12:26Gap nears 10 minutes

Km 76 - The nine escapees now lead the bunch by 9:40 as the first cobbled sector is less than 30 km away.

12:22Gap up again

The lead of the nine front riders goes up again to reach 8:15.

12:19Rast a Paris-Roubaix specialist

Of the nine escapees, former Swiss champion Gregory Rast (TFR) is the most experienced Paris-Roubaix rider. At 35, he took part in 11 editions for a best place of 4th in 2011. He also finished 10th in 2010.  

12:10Lead rises

The nine escapees now lead the peloton by 5:10.

12:03Latest gap

Km 62 - Gregory Rast (FR), Adam Blythe (OGE), Alexis Gougeard (ALM), Sean De Bie (LTS), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM), Pierre-Luc Perichon (BSE), Tim Declercq (TSV), Frederik Backaert (WGG) and Ralf  Matzka (BOA) lead the peloton by 2:55.

12:01Lavenu: «AG2R not yet a classics team»

AG2R-La Montagne manager Vincent Lavenu admitted before the start that his team were not yet classics specialists: “On paper, we have the right line-up with a rider who won in Roubaix (Van Summeren), a rider who came second (Turgot) and another one who finished 5th (Gaudin). Still we never managed to deliver so far. We reinforced our group for the classics in the past couple of years but we have not yet found the key to win theses races. In the same time, we don't want to put any pressure...

11:44Average speed

The average speed in the first hour of the race was 50.4 kph.

11:44The break at kilometre 50

Km 50 - Gregory Rast (FR), Adam Blythe (OGE), Alexis Gougeard (ALM), Sean De Bie (LTS), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM), Pierre-Luc Perichon (BSE), Tim Declercq (TSV), Frederik Backaert (WGG) and Ralf Matzka (BOA) lead the  peloton by 1:10.

11:39Tailwind on Arenberg

According to race director Thierry Gouvenou, a tailwind will be blowing on the Arenberg Trench.

11:36Wind on the peloton

Km 43 - A sidewind is now blowing and a few riders, including Bradley Wiggins, were temporarily dropped at the back but quickly bridged the gap.

11:28Nine in the lead

Km 34 - Nine men parted with the main pack and lead the peloton by 20 seconds.  
Rast (FR), Blythe (OGE), Gougeard (ALM), Saramotins (IAM), Perichon (BSE), Declercq (TSV), Backaert (WGG)  Matzka (BOA

11:18All together again

Km 29 - Peloton packed at full speed, nearing 60 kph.

11:14Split in the front

Km 25 - A group of some 15 riders split with the peloton and lead slightly.

11:12Greg Van Avermaet: «Avoid a sprint»

Fourth in Roubaix two years ago and third last week in the Tour of Flanders, Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) said the main tactics would be to avoid a sprint involving Alexander Kristoff or John Degenkolb.

“Normally Flanders is a race that suits me better than Roubaix. But I'm in good shape and I have a good team. I guess we should avoid a sprint at all costs and that means joining the right group at the right time. That's what I hope for, to be left with a small group of...

11:04Perfect weather

The weather on the race is mild at 17 degrees with a slight tail breeze.

11:02All together

Km 14 - The peloton is still packed and riding fast.

10:55The four reined in

The first move of the day was short-lived as the peloton quickly reeled in the four escapees.

10:53Four men in the lead

Km 5.5 - The first attack of the day involves Alexis Gougeard (ALM), Lieuwe Westra (AST), Tom Devriendt (WGG) and Adriano Malori (MOV).

10:48Damien Gaudin: «I came here to win»

AG2R-La Mondiale's Damien Gaudin is among the riders who relish Paris-Roubaix and the Frenchman, 5th in 2013, is convinced he could become the first local rider to win the race since Frederic Guesdon in1997.

“It would be good to see that change tomorrow. And honestly I would love it to be me. I showed in Flanders what a good shape I'm in and I'm starting this Paris-Roubaix to win it”, said Gaudin, who staged a long breakaway last week in the Ronde.

“Kristoff is probably...

10:48Fast tempo

The peloton is riding at a fast pace from the start.

10:43Start given

The actual start was given at 10:42 to 200 riders.

10:34Boonen's favourites

In l'Equipe, absent four-times winner Tom Boonen cited his favourites for today's race: Alexander Kristoff, Geraint Thomas, John Degenkolb, Tijs Benoot, Greg Van Avermaet, Sep Vanmarcke, Stijn Devolder and of course his Etixx team-mates Niki Terpstra and Zdenek Stybar.

“(Kristoff) is full of confidence, everything works out for him. He is in an euphoric period and I can't see why he couldn't add Paris-Roubaix to his record. His team ride 100 pc behind him and he is the man to beat....

10:33On their way to the actual start

The riders have left Compiegne and are now on their way to the actual start.

10:17Welcome to Paris-Roubaix

Welcome to the 253.5-km 113th edition of Paris-Roubaix. Two hundred riders will start from Compiegne at 10:30 and tackle 52.7 km of cobbled sectors. The start has been delayed by ten minutes.


Honours list 2015


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