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Paris-Roubaix 2016

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photo credits @ Le Tour & Orica-GreenEDGE

Matthew Hayman topped a long and dedicated domestique career with an exceptional victory in the race of his dreams, Paris-Roubaix. At 37, the towering Orica Greenedge rider upset all the favorites, starting with four-times winner Tom Boonen, who had to be content with second place, to become the second Australian crowned in Roubaix after Stuart O’Grady in 2007. The win was all the more remarkable as early escapee Hayman, who had already twice made it in the top ten of the Queen of Classics, had broken his arm only five weeks ago and had hardly raced since. Briton Ian Stannard finished third ahead of breakaway companions Sep Vanmarcke of Belgium and Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen.

Early breaks

The first break of the day involved Nils Politt (Katusha), Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis), Robin Stenuit (Wanty), Benoit Jarrier (Fortuneo), quickly joined by Edvadlas Siskevicius (Delko) and Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R). It was quashed after 19 kilometers when crosswinds started to split the peloton.

Twenty four riders then tried their luck, involving four team mates of Fabian Cancellara: Devolder, Coledan, Stuyen and Boy Van Poppel (Trek), Joeaar (Cofidis), Wallays (Lotto-Soudal), Trusov (Tinkoff), Viviani (Sky), Cavendish (Dimension Data), Knees (Sky), Ladagnous and Le Bon (FDJ), Van Keirsbulck and Trentin (Etixx), Zabel and Gerts (BMC), Gaimon (Cannondale), Castelijns (Lotto Jumbo), Curvers (Giant Alpecin), Naesen (IAM), Schwarzmann (Bora Argon), Oliveira (Movistar), Porsev (Katusha) and Helven (Topsort Vlaanderen).Only three of them, Vivani, Porsev and Van Poppel, continued their effort and held maximum lead of 30 seconds over the pack before being brought back after 67 kilometers.

Chavanel launches break

The longest enduring attempt was launched after 75 km by Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) and involved Chavanel (Direct Energie), Hayman and Nielsen (Orica Greenedge), Wallays (Lotto Soudal), Popovych (Trek Factory), Le Bon (FDJ), Kump (Lampre), Martinez (Delko), Declercq (Topsort), Puccio (Sky), Janse Van Reensburg (Dimension Data), Backaert (Wanty), Daniel (AG2R), Morkov (Katusha), Bozic (Cofidis) and Erviti (Movistar) in the lead.

From there, the escapees tackled the first cobbled sector in Troisvilles (km 98.5) with a 55 seconds lead over the peloton. They gradually lost Morkov and Wallays through punctures and Martinez, whose chain snapped. Their lead grew with the cobbles and reached 3:45 with120 km to go.

Sagan and Cancellara held by crash

At kilometer 141, a crash split the peloton, with race favorites Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Fabian Cancellara (Trek) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), hopes diminished after back-to-back punctures.

Tony Martin (Etixx Quick Stpe) seized the opportunity to increase the tempo, leaving the Sagan group trailing by nearly a minute. In the Arenberg Trench, still led by the tireless Tony Martin, with Ian Stannard (Sky), Luke Durbridge (Orica Greenedge), Robert Wagner (Lotto Jumbo) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Tom Boonen was 1:30 behind the 13 escapees, with the Vanmarcke group 2:00 adrift and the Sagan, Cancellara group trailing Boonen by nearly a minute.

Sky lead… and crash

At the end of cobbled sector 16 in Hornaing, Hayman surged from the breakaway group to go on his own but he was rapidly chased down. What remained of the break were finally caught by the Boonen and Vanmarcke group (km 190) as the bunch including Sagan and Cancellara were still 40 seconds adrift. The two pre-race favourites kept taking turns to limit the damage between a leading group composed with Boonen (Etixx), Burghardt (BMC), Haussler, Saramotins (IAM), Hayman (Orica), Rowe, Moscon, Puccio, Stannard (Sky) Sieberg (Lotto Soudal), Vanmarcke, Wynants (Lotto Jumbo), Boason Hagen (Dimension Data), Erviti (Movistar). Team Sky were setting the pace when Rowe, Moscon and Puccio all crashed, disorganising the lead with 50 km to go. But Rowe managed his way back into the lead.

Cancellara hits the canvas

Five kilometers further down the road in the cobbled sector of Mons en Pevele (km 209), Cancellara crashed heavily with Niki Terpstra, seeing his last hopes vanish. Sagan escaped unscathed but also lost time in the process and never managed to bridge the gap. A group ofo ten riders – Boonen (Etixx), Saramotins and Haussler (IAM), Hayman (Orica Greendege), Rowe and Stannard (Sky), Vanmarcke (Lotto Jumbo), Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Erviti (Movistar) and Sieberg (Lotto Soudal) – were left to battle it out for final victory in the last 30 km. In sector 5 (Camphin en Pevele), only Boonen, Vanmarcke, Stannard, Boason Hagen and Hayman remained in conention. Wisely, Vanmarcke tried to go in Carrefour de l’Arbre with 15 km to and to hold his four companions at bay.

Hayman crowned

But the Belgian was reeled in with 11 km to go after a sharp turn by Stannard. The five attempted to attack in turn to avoid the final sprint. It seemed Boonen and Vanmarcke were the strongest while Boasson Hagen lost stamina in chasing behind the breaks. But it was Hayman’s day. At 37, after 15 participatins and despite a recent arm fracture at the Het Nieuwsblad, he was unexpectedly the fresher of the lot and he gave Australia their second victory in he Queen of Classics after Stuart O’Grady’s in 2007.

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Top 20 Finishers – 2016 Paris-Roubaix Results
AUS 1 HAYMAN, Mathew (ORICA GreenEDGE) 5:51:53
BEL 2 BOONEN, Tom (ETIXX – QUICK STEP)
GBR 3 STANNARD, Ian (SKY)
BEL 4 VANMARCKE, Sep (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
NOR 5 BOASSON HAGEN, Edvald (DIMENSION DATA) + 3
AUS 6 HAUSSLER, Heinrich (IAM CYCLING) + 1:00
GER 7 SIEBERG, Marcel (LOTTO SOUDAL)
LAT 8 SARAMOTINS, Aleksejs (IAM CYCLING)
ESP 9 ERVITI OLLO, Imanol (MOVISTAR) + 1:07
FRA 10 PETIT, Adrien (DIRECT ENERGIE) + 2:20
SVK 11 SAGAN, Peter (TINKOFF)
BEL 12 WYNANTS, Maarten (LOTTO NL – JUMBO)
BEL 13 NAESEN, Oliver (IAM CYCLING)
GBR 14 ROWE, Luke (SKY)
NED 15 SINKELDAM, Ramon (GIANT – ALPECIN)
NED 16 VAN BAARLE, Dylan (CANNONDALE)
BEL 17 DE BACKER, Bert (GIANT – ALPECIN)
AUS 18 DURBRIDGE, Luke (ORICA GreenEDGE) + 4:40
GER 19 BURGHARDT, Marcus (BMC RACING) + 5:48
FRA 20 LAPORTE, Christophe (COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS) + 6:18

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