Terpstra crowns brilliant team
work to lift...

Monday, April 14th

Niki Terpstra might have been the third man on the list of the Omega Pharma Quick Step dream team at the start but the Dutchman ended up lifting the winner's cobble in the Roubaix Velodrome after... Read more

Terpstra crowns brilliant team work to lift Paris-Roubaix cobble

news14.04.2014After the race

Niki Terpstra might have been the third man on the list of the Omega Pharma Quick Step dream team at the start but the Dutchman ended up lifting the winner's cobble in the Roubaix Velodrome after surging recklessly in a  nail-biting finale.

True to his season form - after wins in the Tour of Qatar and Dwars door Vlaanderen -, the 29-year-old from Beverwijk became the first Dutchman to win the Queen of Classics since Servais Knaven in 2001 and he owed it to a formidable team effort. His leader Tom Boonen was in the front all day and the Belgian outfit finished with three riders in the top ten, Czech Zdenek Stybar joining the show to take 5th place. While German sprinter John Degenkolb won the consolation sprint for second place, some 20 seconds behind Terpstra, title-holder and Tour of Flanders winner Fabian Cancellara, a little below-par, had to be content with third for his 12th podium in a major classic.

Morning break

The start was given at 10:27 to 199 riders. After several attempts, the traditional morning break, launched at kilometer 23 involved eight riders: David Boucher (FDJ), Kenny de Haes (LTB), Andreas Schillinger (TNE), Michael Kolar (TCS), Clement Koretzky (BSE), Benoit Jarrier (BSE), TIm De Troyer (WGG), John Murphy (UHC). While the first hour was ridden at a hell of a pace (48.6 kph), as befits, the peloton relaxed a bit and the gap reached 9:10 after 50 kilometers. The bunch, mostly led by Omega Pharma Quick Step riders, stayed within nine minutes until the first cobbled sector (8:05 in Troisvilles, km 97.5). The cobbles started to claim their first scalps and Tom Boonen was among the first riders to puncture in the third cobbled portion. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) was also among the unlucky riders as the Frenchman flatted and crashed as the race was reaching the half-mark.

Punctures in Arenberg

His team-mate Boucher also punctured as the race tackled the Arenberg Trench and the unfortunate French-born Belgian was later stopped at a level-crossing as he was chasing before his former breakaway companions. After Arenberg and a series of flat tyres, Schillinger, Murphy, De Troyer and Jarrier found themselves alone in the lead. The infamous Trench had been merciless to Milan-San Remo winner Alexander Kristoff, who punctured twice and later crashed before calling it quits. Even pre-race favorite and title-holder Cancellara had his moment when he tumbled from a kerb into the peloton, sending a dozen other riders onto the tarmac. The Swiss made it back quickly into the peloton.

Boonen leads the chase

With 75 kms to go, Bradley Wiggins (SKY) looked unable to remain with the leading part of the peloton but the 2012 Tour de France winner ended up recovering well to finish in the top 10. The breakaway group lost John Murphy and were caught after 196 kms by a first chasing group including Boonen, Geraint Thomas (SKY), Mathieu Ladagnous (FDJ), Damien Gaudin (ALM), Bert De Backer (GIA) and Yannick Martinez (EUC). The six, led by an hyperactive Boonen and an ambitious Thomas, lost Gaudin and Ladagnous, and were joined by Norwegian champion Thor Hushovd (BMC) and Dutchman Bram Tankink (BEL) after 200 kms.

Cat and mouse

The six seemed to take the upper hand, taking their maximum lead to 50 seconds but Cancellara decided to react with 40 kms to go as Sep Vanmarcke (BEL) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) had surged. A long game of cat and mouse took place, Boonen trying hard to widen the gap at the front while the other leading favorites attacked one after the other to try and bridge it. Unexpectedly, it was Peter Sagan (CAN) who found an opening, chasing behind the break with Maartin Wynants (BEL) before catching them. The Slovak then tried his luck on his own for a while, but was in turn reined in with 15 kms to go by a group including Cancellara, Vanmarcke, Stybar and Degenkolb.

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