Surprise at Paris – Roubaix: Van Baarle gets the cobblestone

Outsider tip Exhausted, Dylan van Baarle leaned on the handlebars and buried his face in his hands in disbelief. The Dutch professional cyclist won the fastest Paris-Roubaix in history on Easter Sunday and celebrated the greatest success of his career with the triumph in the “Hell of the North”. With an average speed of 45.792 km/h, van Baarle crossed the finish line as a soloist in the famous Roubaix velodrome. Wout van Aert from Belgium came second ahead of Stefan Küng from Switzerland. Former winner John Degenkolb was the best German in 18th place, Nils Politt was 22nd.

“I couldn’t believe it when I rode into the velodrome alone. I checked where the others are. But I was alone. That was crazy,” said van Baarle after the 254.5 kilometer ride over 30 cobblestone sectors. Two weeks ago, the 29-year-old had to settle for second place in the Tour of Flanders. Now he made the big leap. As usual, the trophy was a massive cobblestone.

The women’s race on Saturday was won by Italian champion Elisa Longo Borghini as a soloist ahead of Lotte Kopecky of Belgium and Lucinda Brand of the Netherlands. After 124.7 kilometers, Romy Kasper was the best German in 19th place in the second edition of the women’s race.

The men’s race picked up speed with just over 200 kilometers to go. The British team Ineos-Grenadiers drove the field apart on a wind crest and a leading group of over 70 riders formed. The favorites Mathieu van der Poel, van Aert and Kasper Asgreen all missed the attack, as did Degenkolb. But Politt was at the forefront.

The group had a lead of well over a minute, but due to several crashes and defects, the race had to be reorganized after the notorious sector in the Arenberg forest. A trio of Matej Mohoric, Tom Devriendt and Laurent Pichon led the race with a good 80km to go, while the favorites were in the field behind, around two minutes behind.

Especially Mohoric, known for his long escapes, worried the stars of the race. After all, the Slovenian has already celebrated victories in the Tour de France and Milan-Sanremo through daring escapes. Van Aert personally increased the pace about 57 kilometers before the finish, which finally left Degenkolb and Politt behind.

On the brutal five-star Mons-en-Pévèle sector, van Aert competed again and the group of top riders shrank again. However, the Belgian champion couldn’t get the race under control. His compatriot Yves Lampaert and Dutchman Dylan van Baarle formed a strong new group with Mohoric and Devriendt with a lead of more than 40 seconds.

Although Flanders winner van der Poel was finally left behind, van Aert did not see the top again. Van Baarle finally pulled away just before the 2100 meter long Carrefour de l’Arbre, one of the toughest sectors, and didn’t let the triumph be taken away from him.

By Editor

Leave a Reply