The second consecutive victory was secured by Mathieu van der Poel

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Reigning World Champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) scorched home solo to a second successive victory in the fastest-ever edition of Paris-Roubaix, simultaneously becoming the first rider in 11 years to clinch the Tour of Flanders-Roubaix double.
I’m super proud of the boys and very happy to finish it off,” Van der Poel said at the finish line.
Van der Poel has thereby claimed his sixth Monument of his career and, after his third Tour of Flanders, his second of 2023.
Asgreen’s status perhaps meant that the group was given little advance leave, or maybe the peloton nursed hopes of long-distance moves to outpace arch-favourite Van der Poel.
That number shrank even faster as a crosswind kicked in, and Van der Poel was always in second or third place, chivvying teammates through or occasionally bustling to the fore himself.
Van der Poel launched the attack from fourth place in the line, blasting past his rivals with an acceleration that simply nobody could match.
Last year it had been 14 kilometres out from the Roubaix velodrome that Van der Poel went solo, this time it was nearly four times that distance.
Winning with the World Champion’s jersey on his back only made this latest triumph more special, Van der Poel said afterwards, telling reporters, “I never could have dreamed of this as a child.

NEUTRAL

In addition to becoming the first rider to win the Tour of Flanders-Roubaix double in eleven years, reigning world champion Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) sprinted home alone to win the fastest-ever Paris-Roubaix event a second time.

Outpacing Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) in third and Nils Politt (UAE Team Emirates) in fourth, Jasper Philipsen secured the second position at the historic Roubaix velodrome with a 1-2 for Alpecin-Deceuninck.

Really, it’s difficult to believe. Once more, the squad might be even more potent than it was the year before. Van der Poel exclaimed at the finish line, “I’m really happy to finish it and really proud of the boys.”.

When asked if attacking from such a distance was intended, Van der Poel replied, “No, not really; I wanted to make the race hard from there on because I know that’s my strength.”. I had a great day overall, and when I did have a gap, I knew I would mostly have a tailwind to the finish line.

“Obviously, there’s always a chance of a puncture in Roubaix, but since I had the team car with me, I felt pretty confident. Because I was at my limit last week [in Flanders], I was able to truly savor the moment. I was able to truly enjoy the last section this time. “.

With 60 kilometers remaining, Van der Poel launched an attack after Alpecin-Deceuninck’s iron control decisively put the race out of his hands early on. After twenty kilometers, he had a lead of more than two minutes, and unless something went wrong, the race was virtually over.

With this, Van der Poel has won his sixth Monument of his career and his second of 2023 following his third Tour of Flanders.

Along with being the first World Champion in the men’s race since Peter Sagan in 2018, Van der Poel is also the second World Champion in as many days, following Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime).

The course of events.

The 2022 Dylan van Baarle (Visma-Lease A Bike) was one of the key DNSs that sparked the start of the Queen of the Classics, and for the first 20 kilometers, the typical barrage of early attacks had no real impact. Though a frighteningly quick start covering nearly 50 kilometers in the first hour saw some daring moves by riders as well-known as Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X Mobility) quickly smothered, a seven-man break that included Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-QuickStep), a former Flanders winner like Kristoff, eventually managed to get ahead.

The seven riders at the front cut open a gap of about ninety seconds, while the peloton was forced to deal with a significant early crash that resulted in the abandonment of both Elia Viviani (Ineos Grenadiers) and Jonas Rutsch (EF Education-EasyFirst). After the formation of the nine-man early break of the day, two more hopefuls, Dries De Bondt (Decathlon-AG2R) and Serbian National Champion Dusan Rajović (Bahrain-Victorious), joined Per Strand Hagenes (Visma-Lease A Bike), Rasmus Tiller (Uno-X Mobility), Asgreen, Marco Haller (Bora-Hansgrohe), Liam Slock (Lotto-Dstny), Gleb Syritsa (Astana Qazaqstan), and Kamil Malecki (Q36.5).

Because of their status, Asgreen’s group may not have had much advance notice, or the peloton may have harbored hopes of outpacing long-distance rider Van der Poel. Whatever the reason, Alpecin’s task of draining the race of opposition to their leader was made easier because when the nine reached the first three-star sector of cobbles at Troisvilles à Inchy, their margin of 1:30 was significantly smaller than in previous years.

Drive aggressively on sector 29 and carried on in the same manner on sector 28 were Alpecin-Deceuninck and UAE Team Emirates. Tim Wellens, making his debut at Roubaix, then opened the throttle even further on the first four-star cobbled section at Quievy to Saint-Python due to the fiercely high pace, which was still averaging over 50 km/h in the tailwinds and stubbornly dry conditions—contrary to expectations. Because of how quickly things were moving, the group disintegrated as soon as Oscar Riesebeek of Alpecin-Deceuninck picked up the pace a bit.

Abruptly, with an incredible 150 kilometers remaining, only sixty riders remained at the front, including six riders from Alpecin-Deceuninck. When a crosswind picked up, that number dropped even more, and Van der Poel was always in second or third, encouraging teammates forward or occasionally moving up to the front himself.

It appeared unbelievable that the race would divide up so quickly. Triple winner and pundit Sean Kelly wisely said on Eurosport, “Never seen this before.”. However, one significant chapter of the 2024 race had clearly already begun when the 40-person leader’s group closed the gap well in advance of the most well-known cobble sections.

It is true that the following riders were there: 2018 Roubaix podium finisher Nils Politt (both UAE), Time Wellens’s Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek), former winner John Degenkolb (dsm-firmenich-PostNL), debutant Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), whose teammate Josh Tarling was summarily ejected from the race for taking too long to tow. Even though Timo Kielich of Alpecin and Oscar Riesebeek were both unlucky enough to puncture in quick succession, the race favorite’s team was clearly dominating from a frighteningly long distance out. However, the notable lack of attacks on the front was due to this unsettlingly high pace, which spoke volumes about what could be to come.

The challenging sector 20 in Haveluy then developed into a holding pattern, and the most intriguing possible revolt against Van der Poel and his allies then materialized when one rider from Lidl-Trek, Mattias Vacek, tried out for Pedersen. Pedersen may have been ahead when they entered the Arenberg (without any incidents on the infamous chicane), but Van der Poel was still in fourth place. Whether he was looking for a better line on Arenberg or not, the Dutchman suddenly surged ahead, and only Pedersen, Philipsen, and Mick van Dijke (Visma-Lease A Bike) could follow, even then from a distance, by the far side of the forest.

Even for Van der Poel, it was too early to continue breaking away 100 kilometers out, but as was always the case at Arenberg, the writing was already on the wall.

After Philipsen punctured and Kiwi Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ), riding notably in his debut, made a brief attack, the race tide that had been steadily flowing Alpecin’s way temporarily eddied. Philipsen was able to re-enter the small lead group of twelve riders when Vermeersch suppressed that move. Van der Poel, eager to dissuade his competitors, then personally monitored the break.

Once more, there was some mystery when Van der Poel’s teammate Vermeersch scorched ahead, leaving Pithie and Politt in his wake, 87 kilometers from the finish line. As Van der Poel dipped and weaved in the second group, it was evident that he was at ease with having a teammate nearby and that this was all part of Alpecin’s long-term plan to make his opponents stumble.

Once the second group of twelve riders returned, the lead of the Vermeersch move dwindled to as much as thirty seconds, allowing Pedersen’s team to start chasing. But even though Pedersen’s personal hard drive on the sector 15 Tilloy sector pulled the three ahead at the feed zone a short distance away, Alpecin-Deceuninck was in complete control of every single dig made by Tim Wellens or Laurence Pithie as the kilometers ticked off.

60 miles by yourself.

Finally, the inevitable moment arrived with 60 kilometers remaining. Starting from the fourth position in the line, Van der Poel attacked, outpacing his opponents with an acceleration that no one else could match.

Everything pointed to Van der Poel’s moment as he stormed out of each cobbled sector at a fierce pace, rejecting bidon offers from team assistants, and followed the movements of his rivals with Philipsen and Vermeersch.

His lead was growing to almost a minute with 50 kilometres remaining; at 40 kilometres, it was 1:46, and the pursuers must have felt overwhelmed by now that they were in a race for second place.

Even by his standards, Van der Poel was giving a performance of a lifetime, and Alpecin-Deceuninck demonstrated that they had mastered the strategy in what may be the hardest race to control, Paris-Roubaix.

Van der Poel’s solo ride this year was almost four times farther than it was the year before, at 14 kilometers from the Roubaix velodrome. It didn’t really matter, though, as nothing seemed to be able to stop him.

Politt, Pedersen, Philipsen, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Pithie, and Mick van Dijke (Visma-Lease A Bike) briefly emerged behind a five-man group of the best of the rest. However, their excitement was once more dampened by the fact that Philipsen from Alpecin-Deceuninck was following them around.

Van der Poel made a few slightly incorrectly judged corners that could have made a difference, and by the time the gap reached two minutes and lingered there for over twenty kilometers, it was obvious that he had gone into control mode and was trying to save his strength in case last-minute cramps started. But despite the challenging terrain in the last hour, which included the Carrefour d’Arbre, where Van de Poel won his first Roubaix, and the traditionally important Camphin-en-Pevele, where Tom Boonen used to launch his trademark attacks, he persevered unwaveringly.

His lone ride to a repeat Roubaix victory was, by this point, essentially a reenactment of his solo victory parade to Flanders from the previous week. But it was arguably even more impressive when the margin grew to almost three minutes in the final sections, almost without his having to push the pace.

Twelve kilometres from the finish line and on the final cobbled stretch, Alpecin was so obviously certain of Van der Poel’s win that Philipsen decided to go for second. While Pithie’s violent fall a little earlier had further weakened the already reeling opposition, his late attack failed to remove Küng from contention.

As the team entered the Roubaix suburbs, Van der Poel gave his team director a victorious fistbump. With Alpecin-Deceuninck poised to become the first squad to win Sanremo, Flanders, and Roubaix in the same season, the team’s future looked assured. When the bell rang for his final lap and he entered the velodrome to thunderous applause, all that was left to see was how Van der Poel would commemorate such a momentous victory. Rather than throwing his bike into the air like he did at Flanders, he chose to celebrate in a simple but obviously sincere manner.

Finally, Philipsen took off for his second place in as many years, allowing Alpecin to win a Roubaix 1-2 for the second consecutive April and forcing Pedersen to settle for third. Van der Poel, however, took home the victory in the 2024 Paris-Roubaix, setting a new race record with an average speed of 47.8 km/h. This victory is undoubtedly one of his best to date.

Van der Poel told reporters after the match, “I never could have dreamed of this as a child. Winning with the World Champion’s jersey on his back only made this latest triumph more special.”. This year, I was extremely driven and wanted to wear the jersey with pride. However, this surpasses my expectations; I’m at a loss for words. “.

Result.

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