12/04/15 - 10:30 AM
Finished
Road race - Men
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Paris - Roubaix • Stage2
avant-match

Road race - Men

Follow the Paris - Roubaix live with Eurosport. The Paris - Roubaix race starts at 10:30 on 12 April 2015. Find Paris - Roubaix results, calendar, standings and table. Get all the info on the teams to watch.
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Highlights 
 
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Thanks for joining us today - and be sure to return for th Ardennes classics coming up later in the month...

 

Top ten: 1. Degenkolb, 2. Stybar, 3. Van Avermart, 4. Boom, 5. Elmiger, 6. Keukeleire, 7. Lampaert +7, 8. Rowe +28, 9. Debusschere +29, 10. Kristoff +31.

 

Worth to note that Sky's Luke Rowe finished an impressive eight today.

 

Stybar actually edged Van Avermart for second place...

 

Bradley Wiggins finished in the chasing group about 30 seconds back. In his last race for Sky, Wiggo had a dig inside the last 30km, but it wasn't enough. Cycling says goodbye to a true champion today, mind.

 

Dirt covering his face, Degenkolb is in tears as he takes his helmet off in the finish zone. What a season he is having. Van Avermaet is also in tears - not of joy, but despair. The Belgian has missed out on a monument once again.

 

Boom, Elmiger and Keukeleire were behind for fourth, fifth and sixth.

 

Degenkolb comes the first rider since 1896 - the first edition of the race - to win Paris-Roubaix. That's two out of three monuments for the German powerhouse, who won Milan-San Remo last month.

0km 

The Giant-Alpecin rider is stoo strong for Van Avermaet and Stybar...

0km 

JOHN DEGENKOLB!!!

1km 

Seven riders to contest this victory... Lampaert and Stybar lead for Etixx...

1km 

Through the cobbles and onto the Velodrome...

2.5km 

Dig from Lampaert! No can do... and Boom, Keuleleire and Elmiger are back in with a shout. Onto the final cobbled sector...

3km 

Meanwhile, Wiggins is attacking from behind in a late bid to join the leaders...

3.5km 

Stybar motored up that uphill stretch and he has the leaders in his sights.

4km 

Stybar attacks! He rides clear of Boom, Elmiger and Keukeleire... and he'll catch the three leaders soon. It's all very, very close.

5km 

Sagan still gesticulating about his bike... and the gap is down to just 11 seconds apparently. The Belgians not keen to work with Degenkolb here. Oh, and bike change for Sagan... is that his afternoon over?

6km 

Degenkolb has caught the two leaders. This is intriguing. The final cobbled sector is neglible. Boom leads the chase, but they are 25 seconds down. He's with Keukeleire, Stybar and Elmiger.

7km 

Sagan and Wiggins holding on, but they looked pretty cooked. Van Avermaert leads with Lampaert - two Belgians out in front, with a German, Degenkolb, in pursuit.

9km 

Will Degenkolb become the first German since 1896 to win Paris-Roubaix? That was the very first edition, by the way... He's riding solo now in pursuit of the two leaders, Van Avermaet and Lampaert. The gap is 10 seconds. They're onto the penultimate cobbled sector.

10km 

Two cobbled sectors to go... Terpsta and Wiggins are on the back of this main group, with those riders out ahead. The gap is 13 seconds...

11km 

Two Giant riders go clear - De Bakker and Degenkolb. They're chasing down Lampeart and Van Avermaet.

11.5km 

Sagan appears to have a problem with his bike - he's been banging on his gear lever and is now sitting on the back of the pack after downing an energy gel.

12km 

Luke Rowe still leading the chase after Lampaert (Etixx) and Van Avermaet (BMC) go clear.

13km 

Teprstra and Boom on the front now. Roelandts has been caught. And Boom has a dig! Shut down by Terpstra and Degenkolb. Stybar and Sagan just behind, then Keukeleire and Vanmarcke.

14km 

But Kristoff is struggling to hold on, riding in the wheel of Geraint Thomas, who is still there.

14.5km 

Just a handful of seconds for Roelandts now... this is a very select group behind him. Kristoff is still there... he and Degenkolb are the dangermen if there's a sprint in the velodrome.

15km 

Bozic has been caught by the main pack of 20 riders, which is being led by fellow Astana rider Lars Boom.

15.5km 

Because it's dry, many riders are favouring the gutter over the cobbles - which is a dangerous game with the spectators so close. Luke Rowe is driving the pace for Sky in the main pack - what a season he's having. They have almost caught that FDJ rider. Bozic isn't far from Roelandts, but both will be caught soon.

16km 

Wiggins is near the front at the main pack hit the cobbles. Roelandts is in the gutter as he solos clear. He has 19 seconds.

17km 

Roelandts has dropped Bozic on the front of the race and he starts the Carrefour de l'Arbre 5-star sector.

19km 

We're onto the Camphin-en-Pevel sector 5. Gougeard has been caught so it's just these two riders out ahead - Roelandts and Bozic - with a FDJ man in pursuit. Sagan, Terpstra and Degenkolb front the small pack of favourites behind.

20km 

VANMARCKE is actually in this chasing group.... he punctured not long after is earlier attack and is being dragged back by two team-mates. Bad luck for the Belgian...

20km 

Lotto and Astana have a man ahead in pursuit of Gougeard. The main break is 16-riders strong, with another pack about 15 seconds back.

22km 

Niki Terpstra, the defending champion, is here too. He's had a quiet race, but it's working. Alexis Gourgeard has a second wind: the break was caught, but he's pinged off the front again!

23km 

The break is caught! And Sep Vanmarcke comes to the front... this is the main selection and it's about to get fiesty.

25km 

Declercq, from the break, is reeled in. Just four more in front. Sagan comes to the front, with Van Avermaet in his wheel. Boom, Stybar, Wiggins, Degenkolb, Vanmarcke all there... others too. It's about 20-strong and they have the leaders in their sights.

27km 

Wiggins, Vandenbergh, Stybar and Debusschere are caught just ahead of sector 6 at Cysoing – Bourghelle. A BMC rider almost came a cropper there after touching shoulders with a Katusha rider. Somehow both riders managed to stay in control, avoid myriad spectators on the pavement, and avoid hitting the deck.

28km 

So much promise in this attack from Wiggins, but they're being brought back by the peloton. They're almost back with the pack, which trails those five leaders by 30 seconds.

30km 

Zdenek Stybar of Etixx-QuickStep has joined the trio, but as a foursome they're struggling to open up a gap.

31km 

Wiggo catches Vandenberg, and this could be very exciting. They are joined by Jens Debusschere, who managed to counter out of sector 7. This is a very interesting trio indeed...

32km 

BRADLEY WIGGINS ATTACKS! He's been quiet all day, but now the Brit opens up a small gap on sector 7...

33km 

Onto sector 7 at Templeuve-Moulin de Vertain (2/5). The gap is 1:10 for the leaders, who have Stijn Vandenberg in pursuit. The Debusschere counter-attack group have been brought back by the pack, which now has Sky on the front - including that man Bradley Wiggins!

35km 

Dig from Debusschere, the Belgian national champion. He takes Quintiazo of BMC with him, plus a rider from Giant and Jumbo.

36km 

The remaining five leaders - Rast, Saramontins, Gougeard, Declercq and Backaert - have 51 over Vandenbergh and 1:13 over the pack.

37km 

Puncture for Demare, who needs a wheel change. Unfortunate for the Frenchman, who was right on the front. Meanwhile, Vandenberg has caught the remnants of the break, Blythe and Matzka.

38km 

Onto sector 8 now and there's a crash on the front of the pack: Lars Bak of Lotto-Soudal overcooks a bend and slumps into a bunch of spectators. He's ok, but will have to fight back on.

41km 

Yoann Offredo sets the pace for FDJ team-mate Arnaud Demare on the front of the pack. Vandenbergh is still a handful of seconds ahead.

42km 

The break is onto the short Merignies-Avelin (2/5) sector. It's Saramontins, the man who led through the Arenberg trench, who leads the leading group of five, who lost Matzka and Blythe in the last section.

44km 

Vandenbergh is riding with a broken nose after falling hard in Flanders, twice. He knows he won't win in a sprint and so he's having a long pop, but the gap is small for the big Belgian. Meanwhile, the leaders see their advantage cut to 1:20.

45km 

There's a sighting of Wiggins, who is fighting back on the right. He's about 20 riders down as Stijn Vandenbergh soloes clear of the pack for Etixx on Mons-en-Pevele.

46km 

Two of the escapees have been dropped. It's Lotto and LottoNL-Jumbo on the front of the pack, with Giant and FDJ there too. The French team have national champion Arnaud Demare as their trump card.

47km 

Wiggins is back in the main pack and is edging up towards the front. Encouraging from the soon-to-be retired road rider. Around 45 riders left in this main pack now.

48km 

We're onto the key Mons-en-Pevele section now, the blustery winds causing havoc in the pack. The seven leaders have 1:40 to play with. They are Rast, Blythe, Gougeard, Saramotins, Declerq, Matzka and Backaert.

49km 

The attacks are coming in thick and fast, many of them attritional. Roulston of Trek and Elmiger of IAM both have a go. Etixx, after a dig by Trentin, have taken their foot off the gas.

50km 

That attack from Sagan came to nothing, but he did managed to split the pack in two again, with Wiggins once again in the second group.

50km 

CRASH: Matti Breschel (Tinoff-Saxo) and former winner Johan Vansummeren (AG2R-La Mondiale) go down on a tight left-hander.

51km 

ATTACK: Peter Sagan accelerates off the front of the pack!

51km 

We're onto the Auchy-lez-Orchies – Bersee sector 11. The pack is strung out. Less than two minutes now for the leading pack. And CRASH: Daniel Oss falls into a ditch on the right of the road. No idea what happened there, but the long-haired Italian is back on his bike for BMC.

52km 

Those six riders have been reabsorbed by the peloton, but it shows that there are riders ready to have their say. You sense that the decisive counter attack will come soon.

54km 

The gap is 2:10 for the seven leaders as six riders ping clear of the pack. They are about to catch Pierre-Luc Perichon of Bretagne-Seche, who was in the break but flatted inopportunely.

57km 

All the big guns werethere or thereabouts as the pack reformed. But then the Orchies section drove a few wedges in the peloton... Pippo Pozzato has a flat for Lampre-Merida. He needs a result. No sign of Geraint Thomas, who had than nasty fall earlier. And now Andre Greipel has another dig for Lotto-Soudal.

58km 

Onto section 12 of Orchies (3/5) for the peloton. They trail the leaders by 2:30 with Lotto coming to the front. Daniel Oss of BMC, who has had a very strong spring, is there too. There has been contact between the pack and that chasing group, so it may come back together before the Mons-en-Pevele sector coming up next.

60km 

Now Matteo Trentin takes over the reigns for Etixx. The seven leaders are 2:45 ahead of the main pack.

62km 

Still Etixx drive the pace. They know there's a split and that numerous big riders are in a big chasing group. Van Kiersbulck is the man doing the damage, but Ian Stannard is keeping his eyes on matters in the absence of any other Sky team-mates.

63km 

Onto sector 13 now and the gap is down to 3:10 for the leaders. Pierre-Luc Perichon has a flat tyre and so the leaders are down to seven.

64km 

Etixx causing devastation in the crosswinds. They have five riders, including Stybar, Terpstra, Vandenbergh and Van Kiersbulck. Lots of riders have missed out - including Wiggins and Kristoff.

65km 

It's hard to see what's going on right now, but Kristoff appears to be in the second group and Wiggins in the third... this could be decisive.

66km 

The pace of Etixx, coupled with the strong crosswind coming from the left, has caused the pack to split into numerous groups. This is interesting...

67km 

Five riders for Etixx who are playing the power-in-numbers game. They're really pushing on here as the pack starts to fragment again. Sagan, Oss, Boom and Vanmarcke are there, but no sign of Sky's big guns - just Ian Stannard. Kristoff not here either, but Degenkolb is.

68km 

Etixx and Giant control things with Tinkoff-Saxo moving three men near the front, including their leader Peter Sagan. The pack are on sector 14 now - Warlaing-Brillon. There's a bit of a wind now, which is buffetting the lead group of eight. Britain's Adam Blythe, who joined GreenEdge from third tier NFTO, is in the break today. The gap is just under four minutes now.

70km 

The Astana riders was De Vresse, but his dig was short-lived.

71km 

The break is onto sector 14 with a lead of 4:25. Meanwhile, Astana send a rider ahead of the peloton, but the boy in baby blue is being reeled back in by the Etixx- and Giant-led peloton.

73km 

So, who are the main favourites out there? The following names spring to mind: Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas (Sky), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo), Lars Boom (Astana), defending champion Niki Terpstra, Zdenek Stybar, Stijn Vandenberg (all Etixx-QuickStep), Greg van Avermaet (BMC)...

75km 

Reminder of the eight leaders: Gregory Rast (Trek Factory Racing), Adam Blythe (Orica-GreenEdge), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretange-Seche), Tim Declercq (Topsport-Vlaanderen), Frederik Backaert (Wanty Groupe Gobert) and Ralf Matzka (Bora Argon 18).

76km 

Sean De Bie has been caught by the peloton. The young Belgian from Lotto-Soudal has a mechanical in the Arenberg and he dropped back. The eight leaders still have 4:38 over the pack. Ian Stannard is on the front for Sky following the pressure from Etixx.

78km 

Now Etixx come to the front through Guillaume van Kiersbulck, who has a dig after Greipel's suckerpunch. Meanwhile, Thomas is grimacing as he fights back on after that heavy spill. The pack is really splitting up here...

79km 

The peloton is onto the Hornaing sector now - and Greipel throws down the hammer once again. He was very active last week in Flanders and is clearly feeling strong.

81km 

NASTY CRASH: And Geraint Thomas is down hard. It looks like he clipped the curb at speed ahead of a right-hand turn, hitting his side and face into the pavement. He's back on his way on a new bike but that looked very painful...

82km 

Onto sector 16 at Hornaing - this 4/5 sector is one of the longest at 3.5km. The break is back together so we have nine riders with a 5:30 gap over the bunch,. which is being controlled by Sky and the LottoNL-Jumbo team of Sep Vanmarcke.

84km 

There's a bit of a go-slow now on the front of the peloton, despite the protestations of Etixx's Matteo Trentin. Sky's Ian Stannard is on the front.

85km 

TRAIN!!! The barriers come down and split the peloton... numerous riders duck under and make it across before the TGV zips past - including three riders from Sky. Some riders defied orders of the policemen on motorbikes there to dodge the barriers and nip through. Dramatic stuff!

86km 

Sky are back on the front with three riders leading the peloton. Cofidis tried something but it was foiled. Greipel, the German national champion, is right in the mix.

87km 

There's a regrouping in the peloton despite a few attacks, including one from Andre Greipel. After stretching out on the Arenberg, the peloton is now a big pack again. They trail the nine leaders by 5:15.

 

Earlier, Trek Factory Racing's Stijn Devolder crashed and withdrew from the race. The veteran double Flanders winner seemed to skid in a muddy patch in the shade.

89km 

Heinrich Haussler of IAM, the Australian national champion, leads the pack out of the Arenberg. He's looking very solid today.

89km 

Wiggins and Thomas very far back at the moment - they must have both had had issues before this Arenberg section. They will have to be careful not to miss a decisive move forming on the front.

90km 

Sky are not very present now on the front, just the one rider it seems... Sagan is near the front. He means business today. BMC setting the pace, with three riders near the front. Degenkolb of Giant Alpecin is in third place and well poised. Etixx, like Sky, are in drips and drabs.

91km 

It's show time! The peloton is onto the Arenberg and we already have the first casualty - Shane Archibald of Bora, who is spreadeagled across the cobbles.

93km 

The leaders are through the Arenberg with the gap down to 5:50. Saramontins still leads, but it looks like he will sit up and wait for his fellow escapees. Meanwhile, further back, it's a battle for position ahead of the Arenberg...

94km 

Alekseks Saramontins of IAM has ridden clear of the other escapees on the Arenberg. Strong riding.

 

Just to recap, today's 253,5km race includes 27 sectors of cobbles - a total of 52.7km of pave.

95km 

The leaders are onto the Arenberg trench cobbled sector 18, which is a 5/5 difficulty. It's here that all the action will happen very soon. Sean De Bie is struggling to stay with the other eight leaders - the Belgian looks to have a mechanical issue.

97km 

The puncture was for Geraint Thomas we're hearing. Eisel stayed back to help his co-leader ride back. Thomas has been in fine form this spring and he could well be a factor today - provided he can get back in the mix. Meanwhile, there's been a crash in the pack with half a dozen riders hitting the desk, including Astana's Lieuwe Westra.

98km 

PUNCTURE FOR SKY: Bearded veteran Eisel needs to swap wheels with a Sky team-mate and that has come at the worst possible point. He'll have to fight back before the Arenberg. Initially it was thought that Wiggins had picked up a flat, but he appears to be near the front still.

100km 

Bernie Eisel is burying himself for Sky on the front - they know that this is an important part of the race.

102km 

Peter Sagan is trying to get back towards the front ahead of the Arenberg Forest section too. The Tinkoff-Saxo rider has had a mixed classics campaign: he's been up there, but is still looking for a big result.

102km 

The leaders are onto sector 19: Haveluy - 4/5 difficuly. Their lead was as high as nine minutes earlier in the race before it came down to the seven-minute mark. Tour of Flanders winner Alexander Kristoff is currently on the back of the peloton - he must have dropped back to the Katusha team car for some assistance.

103km 

Those leading nine riders are: Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal), Gregory Rast (Trek Factory Racing), Adam Blythe (Orica-GreenEdge), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretange-Seche), Tim Declercq (Topsport-Vlaanderen), Frederik Backaert (Wanty Groupe Gobert) and Ralf Matzka (Bora Argon 18). They have 6:52 over the peloton. Not a cloud in the sky here in northern France.

105km 

It's a fast average speed so far - 45.7km/h. Bradley Wiggins - in his final race for Sky - is near the front of the peloton. He's been named among th favourites today.

110km 

The peloton has passed through sector 20 so we still have 19 of the brutal, bone-jangling sectors to go today - including the Arenberg forest, which comes in less than 10km. That always makes a selection, so stay tuned...

 

It's a fine, sunny day in northern France meaning the problem is dust - not mud - in those 27 cobbled sectors that lie between the riders and the velodrome at Roubaix. That said, there are still the of puddle and muddy patch, remnants of the wet winter before the wonderful spring sunshine that has engulfed Europe these past few days.

110km 

We join the race with 110km remaining with a group of nine riders up the road holding a lead of around 6:30 over the peloton.

 

Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Hell of the North! Stay tuned for all the news from the third monument of the season, the Paris-Roubaix cobbled classic.