Sonny Colbrelli wins Paris-Roubaix in muddy, brutal conditions

Sonny Colbrelli wins Paris-Roubaix in muddy, brutal conditions

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ROUBAIX, France (VN) — Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Victorious) won a dramatic edition of Paris-Roubaix in brutal conditions Sunday.

Florian Vermeersch was second and Mathieu van der Poel  rounded out the podium with second and third in a three-up sprint coming into the Roubaix velodrome.

“Unbelievable!” he said. “My first Paris-Roubaix, I am very happy, Today was a legend of a Roubaix with the rain in the start. I follow all the moves in the final, and I could do my best sprint. I am so happy for this victory.”

Neither had even started Roubaix before Sunday, and all three rode onto the podium.

The victory is the first by an Italian since 1999.

Carrefour de l’Arbre sees selection

Riders were pushed to the edge in what was the first wet and muddy edition of Paris-Roubaix since 2001 and 2002.

Riders were covered in mud and grime from head to toe.

Things reached a crescendo at the decisive Carrefour de l’Arbre sector with 15km to go.

Gianni Moscon was nursing a promising 1:20 lead, but punctured then crashed only to see his lead dissolve.

“I had some bad luck,” Moscon said. “I don’t know what would have happened. The race unfolded the way that it did. When they caught me, I did not have the legs to follow them. At least another Italian won, and our nation can be happy. I have fourth — I will try again.”

The Italian was leading by more than a minute before luck turned against him, and he rode into the velodrome in a bitter fourth.

Further behind, van Aert and others in a favorites chase group were finally coming to life, but it was too late. Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) lead the group in with fifth.

Van der Poel, Colbrelli and Vermeersch led coming off the Carrefour with a gap of 1:03 to the Van Aert group.

Chaos in the wet and grime

It was chaos throughout the race. The peloton woke up to rain, cool temperatures and gusting winds.

A big group went early with 30 riders pulling clear before the first sectors of cobbles. There were crashes and chaos across the race.

Many of the top names crashed, including Peter Sagan and others. 

Remnants of the early break continued to hold off a determined chase group featuring many of the pre-race favorites. The race hit the Arenberg with the race fractured into groups.

The muddy and slick cobbles took their fair share of victims, and Van Aert barely missed a crash in the Arenberg. 

A baker’s dozen still held off the leaders in the peloton by about a minute when van der Poel bolted clear with about 70km to go. A few tried to go with him, but ceded to his superior power.

Van der Poel bridged up to a chase group featuring Colbrelli, which settled in about 50 seconds behind the leaders, with the Van Aert dangling about 40 seconds behind.

The race settled in a regrouping going into the decisive final sectors.

Moscon alone at the front

The race entered its next decisive phase at the five-star Mons-en-Pevele. Moscon, who rode into the day’s early break, found himself alone at the front.

The Italian widened his gap to more than a minute when van der Poel jumped out of a chase group with about 38km to go.

Behind them, the Van Aert group was hovering at about two minutes back, but without teammates, the Belgian star was finding it hard to make a big move.

Conditions improved as rain stopped and wind picked up, leaving the pavement sectors nearly dry and the cobbles ending up with thicker but perhaps a bit less treacherous racing conditions for the final hour. 

With 30km to go, Moscon suffered a puncture. A quick bike change saw his gap shrink to about 45 seconds. The Van Aert group was getting closer to the Van der Poel group heading toward the Carrefour de l’Arbre.

Paris-Roubaix Results

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