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Mathieu van der Poel powers to dominant victory in Paris-Roubaix
Cycling Sport

Mathieu van der Poel powers to dominant victory in Paris-Roubaix

Mathieu van der Poel recorded a crushing triumph at Paris-Roubaix with a memorable 60km solo attack, his second consecutive victory at the race, and the Dutchman’s second Monument in eight days following his Ronde van Vlaanderen success.

The one-day specialist, who rides for Alpecin–Deceuninck, broke away from a large leading group and demon­strated his power and ­technique on the cobbles of ­northern France to win by a huge margin of three minutes.

The fastest edition of the race, with a winning time of 5hr 25min 58sec, was a one-two for ­Alpecin‑­Deceuninck: Jasper Philipsen won the sprint for second against Mads Pedersen (Lidl–Trek).

Van der Poel, 29, has won six Monument Classics – three Ronde van Vlaanderen, two editions of the “Hell of the North”, and one Milano-Sanremo.

“It’s hard to believe actually,” Van der Poel said. “Maybe the team were even stronger than last year. I’m super proud of the boys and very happy to finish it off.”

Mathieu van der Poel powers clear on the cobblestonesView image in fullscreen

Asked if the long solo attack was planned, he said: “Not really … I felt super good today. I knew it was a tailwind to the finish … You always know at Roubaix a puncture is never far away but I was confident, and I could enjoy the moment more than I could last week.”

With 50km remaining the ­Dutchman led the chasers by 42sec, but that had extended to 1min 6sec just a kilometre down the road as it appeared the chasers abandoned hope of catching him. With 35km left Van der Poel led by two minutes and only a crash or a mechanical was going to deny him. ­Organisers reportedly said they intend to try to track down a fan at roadside that appeared to throw a hat at Van der Poel’s back wheel.

A three-man group featuring Nils Politt, Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin–Deceuninck) and Stefan Küng (Groupama‑FDJ) had earlier been chased down, after crosswinds had been a factor in splitting the peloton with around 150km to race on the gruelling 259.9km course.

Philipsen, Pedersen and Politt counterattacked in the closing kilometres but it was only ever for ­second place. Politt launched his sprint early inside the Roubaix velodrome but Philipsen and Pedersen came past him to take the podium places.

The Welsh rider Josh Tarling, of Team Ineos, was disqualified for holding on to a team car, while his teammate Elia Viviani was among those forced to retire following a large crash in the bunch.

“I never could have dreamed of this as a child,” Van der Poel said. “I was super-motivated for this year. I wanted to show the jersey in a nice way … it goes beyond expectations.”

Source: theguardian.com