France’s Sebastien Turgot (EUC) was second ahead of Italy’s Alessandro Ballan (BMC).
Belgium’s Tom Boonen (OPQ) wins the 110th Paris-Roubaix.
One kilometre to go and Tom Boonen makes a four sign with his hand as he prepares to ride into the velodrome.
and Boonen holds a 1:30 lead over Flecha, Ballan and Boom.
Only eight kilometres to go and the suspense is now about the podium placings.
12 kms to go - Alessandro Ballan (BMC) now goes for second place as Ladagnous punctures.
Ballan, Flecha and Ladagnous are making it back on Lars Boom. They are now battling it out for second and third.
At Carrefour de l’Arbre, Boonen holds a 1:10 lead over Lars Boom.
It is now each man for himself in the chase behind Boonen. Lars Boom (RAB) has gone on his own behind the Belgian.
and Tom Boonen holds the same lead over the chasing group — 1:10.
Km 227.5 - Boonen’s lead reaches the minute.
Into sector 7 (Km 224) - Boonen’s lead goes up to 52 seconds.
The riders in the chase are: Van Summeren (GRM), Terpstra (OPQ), Boom and Wynants (RAB), Ballan (BMC), Flecha, Boasson-Hagen, Hayman and Stannard (SKY), Paolini (KAT), Ladagnous (FDJ), Tossato (SAX), Turgot (EUR) and Guarnieri (AST).
There are now four Team Sky riders - Flecha, Boasson-Hagen, Hayman and Stannard - leading a 14-man chase, 45 seconds behind Boonen. In the group are Ballan and Vansummeren.
40 kms to go and Tom Boonen leads the chasing group by 40 seconds.
Chasing behind Boonen are Vansummeren (GRM), Terpstra (OPQ), Boom (RAB) Wynants (RAB), Ballan (BMC), Flecha, Boasson-Hagen, Hayman and Stannard (SKY), Paolini (KAT), Ladagnous (FDJ) and Turgot (EUR)
50 kms to go and Tom Boonen (OPQ) leads the chase by 30 seconds.
Filipp Pozzato (FAR) crashed but is quickly back on his bike.
Apols for technical problems... Arch favourite Boonen took advantage of a puncture by team-mate Sylvain Chavanel after 200 kms left to move. He was first joined by Alessandro Ballan (BMC) and Filippo Pozzato (FAR) and then by team-mate Niki Terpstra. The two Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders raised the tempo and dropped their break companions. Then the three-times winner went on his own.
With 53 kilometre to go, Tom Boonen (OPQ) is alone in the lead.
France’s Sebastien Turgot attacks in turn into sector 13 (km 192).
French champion Sylvain Chavanel attacks with 66 kms to go. After catching the Ballan group, the Quick Step riders raised the tempo and split the peloton again.
The eight men on the lead have been caught by the first part of the peloton.
Km 185 - The Ballan group have been caught by the peloton, led by Tom Boonen and his team-mates.
Km 184 - The eight escapees lead the Ballan, Flecha group by 22 seconds and the peloton by 30 seconds.
Tom Boonen and his Omega Pharma-Quick Step team-mates have seemed undecided on what to do when Ballan and Flecha moved.
Ballan (BMC), Flecha (SKY), Ladagnous (FDJ), Casper (ALM), Wynants(RAB) and Turgot (EUR) have parted with the peloton and are chasing the break.
The eight in the lead are Veuchelen, Lindeman (VCD), Boucher (FDJ), Morkov (SAX), Klemme (ARG), Mangel (SAU), Veilleux (EUR) and Saramotins (COF).
Four men have been dropped by the leading group — Van Keirsbulck, Popovych, Janorschke crashed and Dehaes punctured.
The latest gap between what remains of the break and the peloton is 1:50.
Several punctures are taking place. Among the ones affected are George Hincapie and Andre Greipel.
French champion Sylvain Chavanel takes his turn to lead the peloton and raise the tempo in the Trench. Boonen is on his heels.
The arch-favourite took no chances and tackled the infamous trench at the front of the peloton.
David Boucher, Guillaume Van Keirlsbuck and Grischa Janorschke crashed into the Trench. Janorschke looks the most seriously hurt.
The 12 escapees are in the Trench.
Teams are fighting hard to be near the front on the Trench.
The whole of Team Sky have now moved to the front of the peloton to lead the chase and tackle Arenberg safely.
and the escapees lead the peloton by 2:40.
Frederic Guesdon (FDJ) is in a group lying one minute behind the peloton.
Tom Boonen is ideally placed in the main pack - third behind Bernhard Eisel (SKY) and Gert Steegmans.
While Van Kerisbulck was seen leading the break, his team-mates now seized the reins of the peloton into the Haveluy cobbled sector.
The leading group in sector 17 from Haveluy to Wallers, less than 10 kms from the Arenberg Trench.
The German sprinter is back in the regrouped bunch.
Andre Greipel (LTB) parted company with the peloton.
BMC still lead the peloton, now regrouped after the bunches held back after the crash have closed the gap.
Out of sector 18 (km 154) and the lead of the 12 escapees is now down to 2:45.
and the gap between the break and the first part of the peloton is down to 3:15 (Km 151).
The peloton is split in several groups after the collective crash on sector 21. Filippo Pozzato (FAR) is in the second part of the bunch. 1997 winner Frederic Guesdon is further back.
BMC team director John Lelangue explained to France Television why his riders were leading the chase: "They feel good. Alessandro Ballan rode a great Tour of Flanders. It’s his main goal this season. It’s in our interest to ride at the front to avoid mishaps. Quick Step have a rider in the break, so we are forced to take our responsibilities."
At the exit of sector 21, the gap was down to 3:50.
Aleksejs Saramotins (COF) is back into the leading group after his puncture and crash.
A huge pile-up took place in the peloton in sector 21 (km 144). Frederic Guesdon (FDJ) was among the riders held in the crash.
Aleksejs Saramotins (COF) went... and crashed.
The 12 now into sector 21, a five-star cobbled section, and dust is flying all around.
Km 137 - The gap goes up to 4:40.
The average speed in the third hour of the race was 40.5 kph. The overall average speed was 45.1 kph.
Km 130 - The halfmark passed and the lead of the 12 escapees goes up to 4:35.
Tom Stamsnijder (ARG) was also forced out after the km 124 crash.
France’s Guillaume Blot (BSC), caught in the sector 22 crash, is the first rider to call it quits.
At the exit of sector 22, the gap was stable at 4:15.
A first crash took place in the back in sector 22. Argos team leader Tom Veelers is apparently among the riders on the canvas.
Reminder that the twelve in the lead are Van Keirsbulck OPQ), Popovych (RNT), Dehaes (LTB), Veuchelen, Lindemann (VCD), Boucher (FDJ), Morkov (SAX), Klemme (ARG), Mangel (SAU), Veilleux (EUR), Saramotins (COF) and Janorschke (APP). With eleven teams involved, the break gained momentum and held a 4:10 lead into the first cobbled sector at km 97.5.
At the exit of sector 23 (Km 122) the gap of the 12 leaders and the peloton reamined stable at four minutes.
Yaroslav Popovych (RNT) also won Paris-Roubaix in the "espoirs" (under-23) section in 2001.
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (OPQ), one of the 12 escapees, knows the Paris-Roubaix cobbles well after winning the junior race in 2009. His father Kurt also made an impression in the Hell of the North in 1990, when he staged a long solitary break. Van Keirsbulck’s grandfather, Benoni Beheyt, was roas world champion in 1963.
At the exit of sector 25 (Km 111), the twelve escapees were leading the bunch by 4:15.
And a second cobbled sector done by the 12 men in the lead, now at km 106.
Luca Scinto, the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia team director, confirmed to www.letour.fr the orders given to his riders: “We’re leading the chase with BMC. We wanted to be in the break but we’re not so we’re chasing. With a rider like Pozzato, we must accept our responsibilities. You can’t take any chances in Paris-Roubaix.”
The escapees have ridden over the first cobbled sector (27) in Troisvilles. The gap at the start of the sector was 4:10.
The average speed in the second hour of the race was 46.6 kph. The overall average speed is 47.5 kph.
Team Cofidis, eager to shine at home after disappointing results since Samuel Dumoulin’s win in the GP d’Ouverture, had decided to have a man in the break: "Our main goal, as is the case for at least 180 riders, is to be in the morning break. It would help us exist", team director Alain Deleuil told daily La Voic du Nord. Mission accomplished as Latvian Aleksej Saramotins is in the group of 12.
Km 85.5 - The lead of the break of 12 reaches four minutes.
Teams Sky and BMC are leading the chase behind the 12 breakaways.
Km 80 - The gap goes over three minutes.
Km 78 - The gap between the 12 escapees and the peloton reaches 1:45.
Km 75 - The peloton let the 12 go. The gap reached the minute while half the main pack stopped to spend a penny.
The 12 escapees are:
Van Keirsbulck OPQ), Popovych (RNT), De Haes (LTB), Veuchelen, Lindemann (VCD), Boucher (FDJ), Morkov (SAX), Klemme (ARG), Mangel (SAU), Veilleux (EUR), Saramotins (COF) and Janorschke (APP).
Km 70 - Twelve riders have now parted with the main bunch.
Km 67 - Frederik Veuchelen (VCD) and Kenny De Haes (LTB) have moved. They are quickly chased by several other riders.
The first cobbled sector in Troisvilles is 30 kms away.
Km 62 - And the pace is so high that all attempts seem doomed.
Marc Madiot (FDJ) told www.letour.fr why no break was succeeding so far: "The pace is good but nobody goes because everybody wants a man in the break, including Quick Step because if they miss the move, they will be forced to chase hard. We also hear that Garmin don’t want to miss the break. Everybody wishes to anticipate. If ten to 15 riders emerge, we could have the same scenario as last year."
Km 50.5 - The peloton is packed again.
Km 50 - Some 25 riders lead the main pack by a few hundred yards.
The average speed in the first hour of the race was 48.4 kph.
Five stars - Tom Boonen
Four stars - Alessandro Ballan, Filippo Pozzato.
Three stars - Johan Vansummeren, Juan-Antonio Flecha, Sylvain Chavanel.
For La Voix du Nord:
Five stars - Tom Boonen
Four stars - Alessandro Ballan, Filippo Pozzato.
Three stars - Johan Vansummeren, Juan-Antonio Flecha, Sylvain Chavanel, Edval Boasson-Hagen, Thord Hushovd.
Km 37 - The five escapees have been reined in.
The gap between the five and the peloton steadies at 10 seconds.
The five in the break are Andreas Klier (GRM), who launched the move, with Greg Henderson (LTR), Jimmy Casper (ALM), Bert de Backer (ARG) and Jeremie Galland (SAU). Their first lead is 15 seconds.
Km 30 - Five riders are trying to break clear.
Fabian Cancellara just sent a tweet of support to his Radio Shack team-mates: "I wish to my team mates from @RSNT all the best for today’s #hell of the north #parisroubaix. I believe they can do a big race."
Km 25.5 - The peloton just caught Cannuti.
In l’Equipe, Philippe Brunel wrote that a victory by Tom Boonen would be a blow to four-times winner Roger De Vlaeminck, who did not have only kind words for his compatriot in the press.
“Tom Boonen will have a lot of work to do, but it will take a lot to stop him from responding to the call of history and to the record he has been chasing since 2009 – and his third victory in the weaving city; to stop him from joining Roger DeVlaeminck, a four-times winner in the 1970s, under the reign of Eddy Merckx whith whom the Gypsy had learnt to deal, to moderate his temper after leading the rebellious front in the Flandria team at his debut. If he did, Tom Boonen would bear a serious blow to his unkind predecessor, bent on his certainties and on the past, who keeps criticising Boonen by acerbic criticism like he used to denigrate and humble Johan Museeuw in a pathetic wish to put him down in the eye of the public.
Still De Vlaeminck sounded much more sympathetic to Boonen in comments to local daily La Voix du Nord: “He’s the clear favourite after Cancellara’s injury in the Ronde. He has very little opposition now. I was alone at the top of the records for 35 years. Boonen’s time has come.”
Km 23 - Cannuti leads the peloton by 10 seconds.
Km 20 - The latest attempt is launched by Federico Cannuti (LIQ).
Km 18 - Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (OPQ), a former winner of the juniors race (2009), also tried to break from the pack, unsuccessfully.
Km 8 - The peloton is now back together.
Km 7 - Irizar has been joined by Lucas Haedo (SAX).
Another attempt takes place, this time by Markel Irizar (RNT). Spanish riders seem to be rather jittery early in the race.
Several attempts are taking place at the front. Jesus Herrada (MOV) is one of the first riders to move at km 3.
Frederic Guesdon (FDJ) was surrounde by many fans at the start of his final race. He told l’Equipe what it meant for him to ride for the last time in Paris-Roubaix:
"I feel pretty proud with my longevity. I hopefully showed that you can make a career in France without good results in the Tour. I was more of a classic rider and I think I helped revive the love of one day races among French riders. You can tell they’re more attracted to them.
Asked if he might chance his mind about retiring, he said:
“You never know, some champions have changed their minds. No. Whatever happens, I will stop in Roubaix on Sunday. "
The real start has just been given at 10:18.
Francisco Ventoso (MOV) did not start. There are 194 riders in the race.
BMC’s John Lelangue’s tweet this morning:
Once a year, I love to go to the "Hell". Paris-Roubaix, unique Classic on the Calendar, so @BMCProTeam, let’s enjoy the cobbles.
Music fan Manuel Quinziato (BMC) has a tune for every race. This morning he opted for Sunk Anansie, or so he tweeted: Skunk Anansie. Definitely the right music before "show time".
The race includes 51.5 kms of cobbles spread over 27 sectors. The first of these sectors lies at kilometre 97.5 in Troisvilles.
All 195 riders signed at the start in Compiegne. The weather is pretty sunny at the start, cloudier with a bit of wind at the finish in Roubaix.
Welcome on the 110th edition of Paris-Roubaix (257.5 kms).