Orica GreenEDGE are on cloud nine right now after taking victory in the Queen of the Classics. Matthew Hayman has won Paris-Roubaix and become the fourth oldest winner in the race’s history. The Australian won ahead of Tom Boonen and Ian Stannard.
Paris-Roubaix does a pretty good job of launching surprises, and over the 257.5km and 27 sections of cobblestones there was always a pretty strong likelihood that the script for the race might not pan out exactly as we expected. That said though, there was little question of the three principle favourites for the win today, with Peter Sagan of Tinkoff, Fabian Cancellara of Trek-Segafredo and Tom Boonen of Etixx-Quick Step all in contention for the win. Of the 27 cobbled sections the longest would be the third section at Quievy and the 12th section at Hornaing, both being 3.7km in length. But the most severe were expected to be Trouee d’Arenberg and Le Carrefour de l’Arbre at the 236.5km mark.
Racing got off to a very swift start with a number of attacks being launched, but nothing being able to stick. In fact it took almost 80km of racing before a breakaway properly established itself. In the move were sixteen riders including Sylvain Chavanel of Direct Energie, Salvatore Puccio of Team Sky, Johan Le Bon of FDJ, Janse Van Rensburg of Dimension Data, Michael Morkov of Tinkoff and Matthew Hayman of Orica GreenEDGE. The Australian was lining up for his fifteenth Paris-Roubaix and looking to potentially better his 8th place in 2012.
The first section of cobblestones in Troisvilles kicked into gear with 98.5km covered, the break not having everything their own way with Chavanel quickly running into mechanical difficulties. By the time the break had reached Quievy the advantage was a very modest 48 seconds, but the average speed was very high at 45.8kph. Eventually the gap did begin to climb properly and while Etixx-Quick Step marshalled the peloton at the front, the advantage climbed to 1.40mins with 133km remaining. Team Sky also played a strong role at the front of the peloton, but it would be a surge from Tony Martin of Etixx-Quick Step that would blow the race apart.
The German time trial rider’s pace on the front of the peloton completely decimated the field with 110km to go. It was a big move, a sharp move and it rattled many of the favourites who found themselves at the wrong end of the splitting peloton. Surprisingly Fabian Cancellara, Peter Sagan and Alexander Kristoff were all among those to miss the move. Tom Boonen made it across and immediately put himself into a very strong position to potentially claim yet another Paris-Roubaix title. The front runners really hit home their advantage to build a minute’s lead on the second bunch with Tony Martin still hitting the front of the peloton hard as the Trouee d’Arenberg was next on the agenda at the 158km mark.
Eventually just five riders were left in the front of the split, such was the aggression from Tony Martin. Tom Boonen was there, Ian Stannard of Team Sky was there, Edvald Boasson Hagen of Dimension Data was there as was Robert Wagner of LottoNL-Jumbo. Sep Vanmarcke found himself in no man’s land between Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara’s groups, with attacks going out of that group as well with Peter Sagan putting a number of digs in and a lot of work. The trouble for the world champion was that he was isolated in that group, and the group couldn’t really bridge across to the chasing group.
In fact the chasing group were catching up with the remnants of the breakaway, with Matthew Hayman still there. The catch to the break was made with just under 63km of racing remaining but Hayman wasn’t done yet, launching another dig while Tony Martin’s hard work came to an end. The chasers Cancellara, Sagan, Kristoff et al now faced a very tough challenge. The leading group that was a fusion of chasers and the breakaway was now a very substantial one. Orica GreenEDGE had Matt Hayman and Luke Durbridge in the move, Dimension Data had Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Edvald Boasson Hagen, Etixx-Quick Step had Tom Boonen, Team Sky had Danny Van Poppel, Luke Rowe and Ian Stannard all in the front too. Also present were Lotto Soudal’s Marcel Sieberg, IAM Cycling’s Heinrich Haussler, Syvlain Chavanel who had recovered from his mechanical issues and BMC Racing’s Marcus Burghardt. Interestingly it was Trek-Segafredo, Astana, Katusha and Tinkoff who were the big teams who had missed the boat.
The chasers cause was further damaged when a number of crashes brought down a couple of Team Sky riders while Fabian Cancellara himself also took a tumble; landing himself in the second chase group behind Sagan’s now. The gap between the Sagan group and the leading group was holding at a minute and looking like it might be game over for the world champion. A decisive move was made by Sep Vanmarcke, who needed to bring the group down to a more manageable size. His attack saw Ian Stannard, Imanol Erviti of Movistar, Tom Boonen, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Aleksejs Saramotins of IAM Cycling go with him along with the ever resilient Matthew Hayman.
Vanmarcke’s acceleration proceeded to build the lead to 1.40mins with 40km to go, but still with 8 sections of cobblestones remaining. GIANT-Alpecin were lending their aide to the Sagan group after the Slovakian had put in a lot of work and was starting to look a little the worse for ware. But as for the Cancellara his race was all but over as the gap to his group simply continued to grow.
As the riders hit Camphin-en-Pevele, sector 5 with 24km to go Ian Stannard made a big attack, shedding Luke Rowe who had managed to regain contact. That was the move that led to the final selection as only Boonen, Hayman, Boasson Hagen and Vanmarcke could go with the Brit; seeking to become Britain’s first Paris-Roubaix winner. From here it was a case of how would the race winner do it? Boonen or Boasson Hagen could certainly rely more on a sprint finish in the velodrome, but others needed to attack; and Sep Vanmarcke considered himself one of the others.
On Le Carrefour de l’Arbre at the 236.5km mark he launched an audacious move, taking some big risks over the category 5 rated cobblestones. It succeeded in putting distance into his former breakaway companions too, with Boonen and Stannard being the principle chasers. Hayman, who had been out all day, now looked to be struggling, but Vanmarcke couldn’t build a significant enough gap on the rest. He had 10 seconds in hand with 13.3km remaining but that would be about the extent of his lead as he would eventually be caught by the group led by Stannard with 12km of racing to go.
Perhaps it was the knowledge that a small group containing Heinrich Haussler were closing and just 21 seconds behind them that kept the aggression levels up in the leading group. Whatever the reason the final 7km were rampant with attacks as first Sep Vanmarcke, then Stannard, then Hayman, then Vanmarcke, then Boonen, then Stannard, then Boonen attacked again. It was a phenomenal finish to the race and at one point it looked like it would be all between Matthew Hayman and Tom Boonen.
The Australian countered Boonen’s move and the two had a reasonable gap on the rest as they entered the velodrome until first Vanmarcke then the rest joined them with one lap to go. Tom Boonen had the lead in the final lap going around the back straight, with Hayman and Vanmarcke watching him. On the latter stages of the back straight Hayman hit for home with Ian Stannard launching a big kick from fourth wheel. Around the final bend Boonen tried to go but there was nothing left in the tank to come around the 37 year old Hayman as he raced away to Australia’s second win, and his first in fifteen outings at Paris-Roubaix.
Boonen, looking dejected, crossed the line in second place with Ian Stannard completing the podium and taking Britain’s first podium in Roubaix since Roger Hammond in 2004. Sep Vanmarcke had to settle for fourth ahead of Boasson Hagen, with Heinrich Haussler leading home the next group. Peter Sagan, touted as one of the favourites crossed the line in 11th place.
Jesse Sergent of AG2R La Mondiale was the first of three Kiwis to cross the line in the Roubaix velodrome. He arrived home in the Alexander Kristoff group, and in that group was also Cannondale’s Jack Bauer. Two groups later Shane Archbold arrived home to continue his 100% completion record in Paris-Roubaix. Sam Bewley didn’t finish this year’s race, but his work for the team paid off handsomely with victory today being the team’s 11th of the season so far.
|5||Edvald BOASSON HAGEN||NOR||DDD||+3|
|16||Dylan VAN BAARLE||NED||CPT||+2:20|
|17||Bert DE BACKER||BEL||TGA||+2:20|
|21||Gijs VAN HOECKE||BEL||TSV||+6:18|
|23||Koen DE KORT||NED||TGA||+6:18|
|25||Tom VAN ASBROECK||BEL||TLJ||+6:18|
|31||Preben VAN HECKE||BEL||TSV||+7:12|
|42||Bert VAN LERBERGHE||BEL||TSV||+11:14|
|43||Magnus Cort NIELSEN||DEN||OGE||+11:14|
|57||Kenny DE HAES||BEL||WGG||+14:23|
|59||Vicente REYNES MIMO||ESP||IAM||+14:23|
|61||Danny VAN POPPEL||NED||SKY||+14:23|
|63||Laurens DE VREESE||BEL||AST||+14:23|
|65||Lars Ytting BAK||DEN||LTS||+14:23|
|68||Guillaume VAN KEIRSBULCK||BEL||EQS||+14:23|
|72||Reinardt JANSE VAN RENSBURG||RSA||DDD||+14:23|
|83||Johan LE BON||FRA||FDJ||+16:52|
|98||Markel IRIZAR ARANBURU||ESP||TFS||+18:30|
|117||Jay Robert THOMSON||RSA||DDD||+24:45|
|DNF||Søren Kragh ANDERSEN||DEN||TGA|
|DNF||Lars VAN DER HAAR||NED||TGA|
|DNF||Jasper DE BUYST||BEL||LTS|
|DNF||Kenneth VAN BILSEN||BEL||COF|
|DNF||Michael VAN STAEYEN||BEL||COF|
|DNF||Boy VAN POPPEL||NED||TFS|
|DNF||Murilo Antonio FISCHER||BRA||FDJ|
|DNF||Olivier LE GAC||FRA||FDJ|
|DNF||Mario Jorge FARIA DA COSTA||POR||LAM|
|DNF||Chun Kai FENG||TPE||LAM|
|DNF||Jorge ARCAS PENA||ESP||MOV|
|DNF||Juan Jose LOBATO DEL VALLE||ESP||MOV|
|DNF||Javier MORENO BAZAN||ESP||MOV|
|DNF||Nelson Filipe SANTOS SIMOES OLIVEIRA||POR||MOV|
|DNF||Dayer Uberney QUINTANA ROJAS||COL||MOV|
|DNF||Francisco José VENTOSO ALBERDI||ESP||MOV|
|DNF||Mikel ARISTI GARDOKI||ESP||DMP|
|DNF||Fredrik Strand GALTA||NOR||DMP|