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The Moment The Race Was Won: Paris-Roubaix

Tepstra Paris RoubaixAn 11 man group with three riders from Omega Pharma-Quick Step forms with 9km to go. Niki Terpstra attacks with 6.5km to go, nobody follows and he quickly builds a lead. This was the moment the race was won.

The day started with a tribute to former pro Arnaud Coyot, a local who died in a car crash over the winter and Pierre-Henri Menthéour, a former pro, Tour stage winner and Eurosport cameraman who died yesterday. A sombre moment but then a lively start with 48km covered in the first hour and a group of eight men going away. The move didn’t have any star names or top teams, a surprise given how it much it helps to send a man up the road in this race. But the second hour was very different with the breakaway taking 10 minutes in almost as many minutes.

The bunch sped towards its cobbled rendez-vous and it didn’t take time for the sectors to resemble bowling alleys with the riders being scattered like pins. Others were puncturing regularly, Arnaud Démare had at least three. Alexander Kristoff fared even worse, puncturing twice, crashing and being taken to hospital. The lead break had its share of damage, it was never going to stay away but fragmented early. Many were broken by the Arenberg Forest and at one point it was reported that Bradley Wiggins was dropped. You thought he’d last longer than that…

Thor Hushovd (BMC) was one of the first to start probing the race and FDJ’s Mathieu Ladagnous tried too. But it was at 65km to go that Tom Boonen took off. Soon Damien Gaudin (Ag2r), Clément Koretzky (Bretagne-Séché) Geraint Thomas (Sky), Bram Tanking (Belkin), Bart De Backer (Giant-Shimano) and Yannick Martinez (Europcar) joined him. Or rather they sat on his wheel. Boonen did get some help but for every pull from someone else the Belgian was gesticulating to the others and shouting at them to ride. Should they collaborate? There was a long way to to and with nobody from BMC or Belkin the move would be chased. And that’s what happened with BMC and Belkin leading the pursuit.

Boonen got fed up and repeatedly tried to go away. But it wasn’t from a position of strength, he wasn’t incisive enough to just solo away like he’d done in 2012. But in a race marked by the old mines it rides over, Boonen was a Stakhanovite complete with rippling biceps. His digs condemned Ladagnous, Gaudin and Koretzky from the lead group but crucially the bunch behind was being forced to chase and it was shedding riders too including important helpers like Manuel Quinziato (BMC) and Gregory Rast (Trek) gone. Boonen’s moves looked wild at the time but apply hindsight and his aggression was weakening the field.

With the lead group thinned and holding a slender lead Hushovd barged across to make a lead group of six: Boonen, Martinez, De Backer, Thomas, Tanking and Hushovd. Again Boonen was trying more moves and making a show on TV but it forcing everyone behind to chase and ensuring OPQS could sit tight. Try as he might the lead group of six riders stayed together and hovered off the front of the bunch, 50 seconds at the 40km point.

For all Boonen’s theatrics the action got more intense when Sep Vanmarcke attacked on the small Pont-Thibaut pavé sector. Cancellara followed, marked by Belkin’s Lars Boom. Soon after Peter Sagan jumped out of the bunch, marked by Belkin’s Wynants. By now all the big names were in the mix but it was easier to see who was working than to know who was sat tight. With 25km to go it was all together again, a sizeable bunch had formed and it was packed with big names, even Cancellara had restricted himself to one chase effort after Vanmarcke.

With 21km the bunch went through a village called Le Bureau and Peter Sagan went to work. He couldn’t stay away by solo, could he? No and with such a large bunch behind presumably the thought never crossed his mind. But it was a good way to ensure he was at the front over the coming cobbled sectors. Behind the ever-aggressive Vanmarcke attacked with Cancellara following direct and then Zdeněk Štybar (OPQS) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) too got across and they linked up with Sagan to form a five man lead group after the Carrefour de l’Arbre. But behind the surprises were only beginning. That big bunch? Gone, smashed. Out of the dust came Wiggins who got together with Terpstra and Boonen to form a chase group with Thomas, De Backer and Sebastian Langeveld (Garmin-Sharp).

The lead five was a tactical headache. Sagan and Degenkolb meant two fast sprinters who’d look to sit on. Štybar had two team mates behind. Which left Vanmarcke and Cancellara to work or attack. Vanmarcke had a go but got nowhere and as the lead five looked at each other the chasing six rode across with 9km to go to make 11 riders in the lead including three from OPQS. Bradley Wiggins attacked but his move was closed down.

As the group watched each other Terpsta went. What was more astonishing is that nobody went with him. In a lead group of 11 with three from the same team the moment the dominant squad goes everyone has to jump with them, otherwise it’s too late. But easy to say now, hard to do after 250km. So it was that Terpstra took five, 10 and then 15 seconds as behind Cancellara eased up, Sagan reached for a gel and Wiggins took a drink. Game over.

The Verdict
A great race in terms of suspense and unpredictability although the feverish tension receded in the final 10km because once Terpstra got a gap he was heading for victory. For TV viewers Tepstra crept up on the race, he wasn’t in front of the cameras but blame the producers because he made the top-10 over the Carrefour de l’Arbre cobbles when many others were blown away. Sure this wasn’t the comic book hero victory where a lead group is forged in a cloud of dust and then the winner picks off his opponents one by one. And yes, the law of large numbers applied with OPQS, they had the firepower up front and used it correctly. But it was a deserved win.

Terpstra clearly meant business today, donning a skinsuit for the 256km race. Often Tom Boonen’s lieutenant, the rangy Dutchman isn’t a fast sprinter but excels in clipping off solo in the finish of a race. Riding for Milram he beat the entire Rabobank team to with the Dutch national title this way in 2010… and did it again in 2012. Again he won the Dwars door Vlaanderen in March knowing once up the road others would not chase because OPQS had numbers up front. Déjà vu.

Degenkolb won the sprint for second place and punched the air. He didn’t think he’d won, later telling TV it was just spontaneous pride at coming second in the race which was a big target for the year. If we wonder how Giant-Shimano manage their sprinters, here’s the answer with Degenkolb able to focus on the classics while Kittel gets the support in the Tour de France. Third place went to Cancellara, who finishes for the 12th time in a row on the podium of a Monument. A disappointment by his standards but a big result all the same especially as he had to out-sprint Sagan, Boonen and others.

That’s All Folks
The classics continue but that’s it for the cobbles this year… until the Tour de France. OPQS saved their spring campaign today. It’d been a nervous time for Patrick Lefevere who again faced another season without a major classics prize and to make it worse, this year he’s been fretting about riders being tempted by offers from Fernando Alonso’s new squad. Bad enough for the long term but the immediate worry they’d ride for themselves instead of the team. Sep Vanmarcke’s still 25 so his future looks bright although he really does need a win to match his abilities. Among the big budget teams Katusha thrived with Kristoff until he went to hospital today. Sky and BMC tried hard again but haven’t got much to show; at opposite ends BMC’s Sylvain Dillier, a neo-pro was quietly impressive during the classics and at the other end Bradley Wiggins was astonishing today. Much will be made of Wiggins as a Tour winner being competitive in Roubaix and rightly so because these things haven’t happened for 20 years. But arguably it’s his Tour win that was the exception, for years he was a heavier track specialist and he now enjoys the freedom to do as he pleases on a team. We won’t see other stage race specialists copying.

1 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step 6:09:01
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:20
3 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing
4 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin-Pro Cycling
5 Zdeněk Štybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step
6 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
7 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
8 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin Sharp
9 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Team Sky
10 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Andy Sunday, 13 April 2014, 6:54 pm

    A great review and a thrilling race. Well done Terpstra – there was always a chance that a group of that quality would watch each other but he still had to get the gap… He showed immense strength and power in giving it everything.

    On another note, I wish Inrng would do the TV commentary….

    • Birillo Sunday, 13 April 2014, 9:21 pm

      You must have been watching British Eurosport!

      • juakaliAndy Sunday, 13 April 2014, 9:34 pm

        How did you know?

        • Chuffy Sunday, 13 April 2014, 10:13 pm

          Possibly because the commentary on Eurosport is so dreadful. No insight, intelligence or analysis, just inane babble at an ever increasing speed. There must be someone who can do a better job than Carlton Kirby and I’d love to hear INRNG’s quiet intelligence applied to race commentary.

          • just me Monday, 14 April 2014, 12:20 am

            + 10 million

          • RooBay Monday, 14 April 2014, 6:12 am

            Agree regarding the duo on last night (Kirby and the other bloke) but disagree more broadly. Eurotrash need to bring back David Harmon and pair him with Magnus Backstedt. Maggie is brilliant on the technical front and Harmon pairs solid knowledge with smooth anchor skills. The Harmon/Kelly double of past seasons has been a great team as well.

            If ever there is a race that needs what Inner Ring suggested a few weeks back (computer timing chips on each rider) it is Roubaix. Impossible to get a proper feel for what is going on when the race gets as fragmented as is does with only a couple of TV motorbikes. Viewers should be provided with a graphic at the end of every sector showing the order of each of the riders out of that sector and their time gap to the lead rider (like last year’s worlds).

          • bikecellar Monday, 14 April 2014, 9:01 am

            Indeed, I shifted to French Eurosport to avoid Mr Kirkby and his inanity.

          • Elle Monday, 14 April 2014, 9:26 am

            I had Eurosport on mute for the pictures and radio commentary from BBC 5 Live Extra. You can (legally) get it on digital all over, not just the UK. (HT to Mikkel Condé; wouldn’t have thought to check, as it’s usually all cricket at this time of the year.)

          • fisheral1 Monday, 14 April 2014, 12:12 pm

            Yes, Mr Kirby was banging on about Sagan taking the grips off his bars when you could clearly see that he was just taking off a piece of tape that the mechanics had put around the shifters to stop the dust getting in the mechanism will on the roof rack.

          • TeamSpy Monday, 14 April 2014, 2:42 pm

            The inane commentary was only eclipsed by the lack of any TV pictures of the second group coming over the line. This following the climax to the individual time trial on the Tour of the Basque Country where an exciting finish between Contador and Kwaitkowski was described as an incredibly tight finish for the overall title only for it to be nothing of the sort as they were basically guessing the times. I appreciate that timings and pictures are not of Eurosport’s making but if they are to claim they are the “home of cycling” then they need to sharpen up their act and their influence on the organisers. I looked forward all week to both these races and both suffered from total amateurishness, you wouldn’t get this in other elite sports.

          • Chuffy Monday, 14 April 2014, 3:15 pm

            I agree with what TeamSpy said – all of the commentators are at the mercy of what the broadcaster supplies (inane babble notwithstanding) and it struck me on Sunday just how poor cycling coverage is. There was little or no information about the formation of the groups until we got nice clear close-ups. Precise GPS tracking surely can’t be a serious technical issue.

            F1 on the BBC has been exemplary in it’s coverage over the last few years. They have a bigger budget, but surely cycling can learn some tricks.

            INRNG – perhaps a future piece on cycling coverage, how it has developed over the years (from the myth making era of print, with HD making it up as he wrote to today’s technophobic impasse) and how it could work better?

          • Alex Monday, 14 April 2014, 6:29 pm

            Just to play devil’s advocate a little. I think Kirby can be okay and occasionally even amusing during the lulls when not a lot’s happening. His shortcomings are really exposed when the racing hots up though, with riders misidentified and tactics called incorrectly. He also has a tendency to overuse certain stock phrases.

            Reading that back, that was a pretty poor attempt at playing devil’s advocate on my part.

      • RayG Monday, 14 April 2014, 12:52 am

        Or SBS Australia. Phil and Paul were digging so deeply into their suitcase of cliches, they kept forgetting to look at the screen and tell us what was going on.

        • Panda Monday, 14 April 2014, 2:32 am

          Paul had one great moment though, referring to “Team Taxo Sinkoff”. I wondered if this is what the press actually calls them behind the scenes?

          • Emil Monday, 14 April 2014, 11:31 am

            I agree that Carlton Kirby is a ridiculous commentator – irritating, uninformed and inappropriate. What’s really annoying is when otherwise solid commentators like Backstedt or Dan Lloyd are forced into going along with his “comedy” schtick. I also agree that Dave Harmon is good, but apparently he has been unwell, which is why he has been off the Eurostar roster this year. I hope he recovers soon.

            But don’t get me started on Phil and Paul. Yesterday I had to watch the ASO English language broadcast, and they were so bad it was embarassing. Some examples:

            Phil: there’s the flag of the Czech Republic, it’s probably there for Peter Sagan.
            Phil: and here’s Stybar, a former cyclocross world champion.
            Phil: (as Terpstra rides across to the front group) and here’s Terpstra being forced out the back, the pressure has got too much for him …..

            It’s not just the inanity and inaccuracy. It’s the continuing anglophone-centric crap. How many times did they talk about George Hincapie, a man they never tired of bigging-up when he was riding, but who is hardly the most relevant figure in the history of cobbles racing? And they still haven’t apologised for getting Armstrong so wrong. Maybe it’s because he invested money in Paul’s goldmine in Africa. Shocking. Time to put these two out to grass.

  • Steppings Sunday, 13 April 2014, 6:58 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyable race and was literally on the edge of my seat watching the last 10km. Well done Terpstra who took the bull by the horns. I for one didn’t rate Wiggo’s chances and am glad that he proved my thoughts wrong. Boonen seems to be out of kilter mentally (understandable) and Fabio maybe just didn’t have the legs to win it this time. OPQS Sprint campaign saved.

  • Kieran Sunday, 13 April 2014, 7:27 pm

    Think when Stybar stopped working in late move Omega played an ace! Forced re-groupment and gave Omega the numeric advantage at the front of the race – they missed that in Flanders. The dynamic of that group opened up possibilities – 3 fastmen in Sagan, Degenkolb, Boonen and time was running out for solo attacks. No one was ever going to left a favourite any space on the run in. Great win by Terpstra and think it could as easily been Stybar. Agree on Wiggins analysis (tour being the exception!) don’t think he would better this perf esp. if wet.

  • Sergio Sunday, 13 April 2014, 7:30 pm

    Good race but not epic. I like Wiggins and hope he focuses more in this kind of event. He has a real shot and one Paris-Roubaix would be te cherry on his spectacular résumé.

    (And I saw a tweet from Alonso cheering Terpstra. He is probably coming at them from every possible direction!)

    • ExpatDadSG Monday, 14 April 2014, 7:01 am

      From the BBC website:
      “There’s a tinge of disappointment because I had the legs,” said Wiggins.
      “It gives confidence that I can match those guys and to go top 10 in hindsight is a good result.
      “I’d love to come back in the next few years and do it again.”

      So I think we’ll see him again 🙂

  • Mr SB Sunday, 13 April 2014, 7:32 pm

    What a race, compelling to watch right to the final throws.

    Cant help but wonder if Cancellara was impeded by the crash with his team mate.

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 13 April 2014, 9:39 pm

      Cancellara later said it did cost him a bit but seemed to imply it wasn’t ruinous.

  • Rooto Sunday, 13 April 2014, 8:07 pm

    A wonderful description for those of us who couldn’t watch. Thank you so much.

    Seeing that Boonen was 10th, somebody please tell me he was sitting up, celebrating. He couldn’t have been outsprinted by the likes of Thomas and Wiggins…

    • peter vdh Sunday, 13 April 2014, 10:18 pm

      On his interview on Belgian television he told that his ‘derailleur’ was broke so he couldn’t shift gears anymore…

    • ExpatDadSG Monday, 14 April 2014, 7:03 am

      Reading Boonens’ interview in CyclingNews he doesn’t sound happy for Terpstra at all and just upset that he didn’t win. Real shame.

      • Chuffy Monday, 14 April 2014, 3:19 pm

        Thomas pointed out on CN that he’d spent a lot of energy working for the team – going back for Wiggy in Arenberg, for example. G is a great team player, but I wonder if there was a touch of ‘what might have been’ about his comments. Sky seemed a little vague about team leadership for Roubaix, although Eddy BH’s crash may have messed their plans up somewhat.

  • haps Sunday, 13 April 2014, 8:52 pm

    after such a long foreplay – the climax somehow lacked something – Tepstra a worthy winner for sure and chapeau to Sagan and Wiggins for positive surprises(in my eyes)
    the TV-prod. in the final kms was leaving much to desire – but hey this is like New Years eve – when expecting the party of the year sometime one gets disapointed…
    now it just to dance the raindance and look forward to next year – anyone have ridden the amateur race the day prior? –

  • Tom J Sunday, 13 April 2014, 9:01 pm

    Pierre-Henri Mentheour wasn’t just a Eurosport cameraman, he was also a pro on his own right in the Fignon-Lemond generation. He was in the Renault team that dominated the 1984 Tour with Fignon, and he himself won stage 13 of the Tour that year. So not a great champion, but more than a footnote as well.


    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 13 April 2014, 9:38 pm

      Noted and I’ve amended the piece above so the next reader can read a little more about Menthéour.

  • David Sunday, 13 April 2014, 9:08 pm

    Stakhanovite?! Chapeau!

    Excellent team tactics by OPQS resulting in a well-deserved victory for Terpstra, and everyone in the top 10 had a noteworthy rides, especially Degenkolb and Wiggins.

    Disappointed that Phinney wasn’t in the lead group. Was he caught behind a crash?

    • Anonymous Sunday, 13 April 2014, 9:56 pm

      Phinney punctured on the Carrefour secteur, but at that point he was already behind the front 2 groups.

  • ylc Sunday, 13 April 2014, 9:09 pm

    Great article as usual. Still waiting for a French win and not even close this year. Just wanted to say that Pierre Henri Mentheour wasn’t just a cameraman. He was also an ex pro cyclist who won a TDF stage. RIP.

  • Calypso_King Sunday, 13 April 2014, 9:50 pm

    Great reaction by Terpstra when crossing the line! What a monumental effort! And that top ten is pretty tasty. I loved Boonen’s theatrics. He deserves a lot of credit for his performance too. As do Thomas & Sir Bradley. Seeing that I wonder why Wiggins hasn’t given it a go more often?

    Brilliant write-up as ever. Many thanks.

  • Andy Sunday, 13 April 2014, 9:56 pm

    Is it only me that thinks the result may have been pre organised. Terpsta goes up the road, rides away from as elite group as you likely to come across. The main contenders are eating gels, taking drinks, inside the last 10km. Come on, where they not hungry enough? Or was something organised? How did Terpsta’s wife/girlfriend just happen to be on the inside of the track? Did OPQS ‘need’ the win, as it has been a poor classics season for them up until today. Maybe I am just old and cynical, but the last 11km did not look, or feel right.

    • Anonymous Sunday, 13 April 2014, 11:05 pm

      There is a huge live coverage screen within the velodrome so that you can watch the action before the riders appear before your very eyes. Mystery solved.

    • Geoff Monday, 14 April 2014, 8:03 am

      You’re not alone Andy. I was thinking exactly the same thing during the last 10 km. A terrific race until that point, but I couldn’t believe my eyes when not one of the elite front group made any attempt to jump onto Terpstra’s wheel or to close his attack down. Instead they seemed content to “cruise” to the finish line. And hello, were they not expecting an OPQS attack in the closing kilometres?

      If that was a horse race, there would surely be a steward’s enquiry.

      • GeorgeY Monday, 14 April 2014, 10:45 am

        Sorry but I don’t believe it was fixed! It was a combination of “you chase, no you chase, no they should chase” and the composition of the group. For what it’s worth this is how I saw it:

        Obviously OPQS are out, so they were minus 2 riders, Thomas and Wiggins of Sky were tired after all that chasing to re-join the front group, so they are losing another 2. Bert De Backer had orders to lead Degenkolb so GS is out too. From the 4 riders left there was the fear of carrying the sprinters (Sagan was also hoping to save his strength for the final meters) to the line plus the fact they were outnumbered by OPQS and Sky and GS. Cancellara was the only one who could dare to do it alone but it was certain that nobody would let him go without tailing him, he managed to win with a sprint last year, but this year, in this group, he could only hope for a miracle. In chess therms it was a seven-way stalemate and Niki Terpstra was the deserved winner.

        P.S. Once again great coverage by Mr Ring!

  • John Liu Sunday, 13 April 2014, 10:16 pm

    Maybe she was invited to the infield when it became clear that he was going to win, which was several km from the finish.

  • Darren Sunday, 13 April 2014, 11:20 pm

    After the Worlds in Geelong Terpstra explained that he went on a long attack in the last 5km (only to be caught in the last 300m) because he is not a sprinter and his best chance of winning is the pre-emptive strike. Since then he has used that tactic to success, albeit none as spectacular for his palmares than PR!

    Was a great race with plenty of action both on the bike and on the ground! Wonderful to see the likes of Hushovd and Wiggins getting into the mojo of the race, rather than just sitting and watching others make moves, as Hushovd has done the past years!

    This beautiful video from OPQS is apt, considering todays win!

    Now, countdown to Liege-Bastogne-Liege!!!!!

  • Jerome Sunday, 13 April 2014, 11:55 pm

    How do you go about getting a place in the velodrome? I’d love to do it one day but I’m sure it would have to be organized almost years out

    • Michael H Monday, 14 April 2014, 1:18 am

      You just rock up. We did last year – got in 60-90 minutes early, right up on the banking. Sure it’s not in the stand, but it’s free and there’s no chance of not being admitted in. Haven’t heard of it being a “lock out”.

      • Tom Whalley Monday, 14 April 2014, 9:53 am

        I was in the velodrome yesterday afternoon, absolutely awesome. got the train from london to lille in the morning and was there just in time to see the riders hit arenberg on the big screen. Totally free, no need to book tickets, and not really a rush to get a good spot. We stood on the front row right on the 100m to go marker, and 25m from the bar. Really special experience and I will definitely be making a tradition of it. Chapeau Wiggo.

  • KB Monday, 14 April 2014, 12:13 am

    finally we can see the sprint for the podium 😉 – thanks, as always, INRNG!

  • John Monday, 14 April 2014, 12:16 am

    Getting in the velodrome is fairly easy, the seats are free. You just need to be there early enough to secure one.

  • AK Monday, 14 April 2014, 12:22 am

    Great to see Terpstra get a big one. I love his style of riding, not too many can pull off this kind of solo win and every time he wins it’s like this. The all-out effort was very visible. I’ll concede that he also won because nobody wanted to chase but this is how it is so often when someone attacks from a small group. You don’t necessarily win because you are stronger than the chasing group, but because you take advantage of the moment when everybody wants somebody else do to the hard work.
    Re: Wiggins, I agree, his ability to transform himself is admirable and he did very well today but it is not the extreme surprise some make it out to be because the TDF was further away from his core abilities than P-R.

  • Shawn Monday, 14 April 2014, 12:31 am

    What was truly enjoyable for me was how riders like Boonen, Sagan, and Terpstra took the race to Cancellara. He was the overwhelming favorite and sometimes that leads people to race negatively and simply follow the favorite. That is simply a recipe for 2nd or worse when you’re racing Cancellara on cobbles.

    (Still cannot believe the camera didn’t follow the spring for 2nd!)

  • simon Monday, 14 April 2014, 12:45 am

    Excellent race. I wish it had been Chava. Some day

  • Larrick Monday, 14 April 2014, 3:21 am

    Just watched most of the race again and though all the gesticulations are being done by Boonen, Thomas is on the front just as often when they cut to the break. At one point Tombo seems to be gesticulating at G to gesticulate to the others as well!

    And that is the first time I have ever used three forms of the word ‘gesticulate’ in one paragraph.

    • Tovarishch Monday, 14 April 2014, 6:38 am

      I think G was trying to do the same thing for EBH. Unfortunately Edvald decided the weather was so nice, it was time to get some bulbs planted! He could have given Terpstra a run for his money if the plan had worked.

    • garuda Monday, 14 April 2014, 6:57 am

      Nicely done.

    • RocksRootsRoad Monday, 14 April 2014, 2:59 pm

      I though Boonen looked rather petulant. Did he really think he was going to get an armchair ride to the finish from his breakaway companions with 60K to go?

  • Oliver Monday, 14 April 2014, 4:21 am

    I like your analysis which basically says that if Terpstra was able to jump and not be caught it is in part because Boonen had exhausted all the hard men of the lead group by forcing them to chase his breakaway down. Makes sense. And Sagan took himself out, makes sense too — in a nonsensical kind of way….
    It was a fascinating race to watch, save for the last few minutes…. Though the colossal incompetence of France 2 made my blood boil towards the end so it wasn’t totally boring…

    • channel_zero Monday, 14 April 2014, 5:19 am

      That was ASO’s production crew, not France 2 who got the wrong “2nd group” in the velodrome.

      • Anonymous Monday, 14 April 2014, 2:43 pm

        Amazing! Thanks for the correction.

  • BC Monday, 14 April 2014, 9:01 am

    An excellent race with a worthy winner. Couple of observations. Wiggins and Thomas rode well, the first a pleasant surprise and the latter displaying strong form, but both must consider how they will ever win a classic – it will not be in a sprint. The introduction of charges for the Gendarmerie certainly showed. Their absence at traffic furniture and pinch points was all too evident. What price safety ? ASO must improve on this unacceptable level of marshalling. The UCI have a problem with their no cycle path/footpath rules, e.g. Roulston misfortune – this regulation appears to have little value at present.

    It was still a gripping event and lived up to its name as Queen of the classics.

  • Joe K. Monday, 14 April 2014, 9:11 am

    Exciting race, but seems the top contenders ran out of juice near the end. The revelation, or confirmation rather, is that Spartacus is STILL one of the best ever Classics riders, Boonen WAS one of the best, and Sagan MIGHT NOT be one of them.

    • GlynR Monday, 14 April 2014, 10:04 am

      Pretty accurate there I think.

    • Anonymous Monday, 14 April 2014, 2:45 pm

      Sagan might not YET be one of the best classics rider…. I think he made a mistake, but he has what it takes to win. Had he postponed his surge for later he would have been able to keep up with the winner…. I say Sagan is still the future of Classics.

      • bmj Monday, 14 April 2014, 6:35 pm

        Agreed. Cancellera didn’t win his first P-R ’til he was 25. Would you have dismissed him as a classics rider the previous year when he finished 42nd?

    • ave Monday, 14 April 2014, 3:11 pm

      So it’s Cancellara, Vanmarcke, and nobody else is your “best classics riders” today? WTF?

  • noel Monday, 14 April 2014, 10:07 am

    …was very impressed with Degenkolb… I doubted his ability to be able to make the final selections in the big races to make his sprint count, but he’s been impressive this spring.
    …and while it was a decent enough spring for Sky, it still seems like Stannard on a sh*tty day is really their only chance of actually winning a big one other than top 10ing

    • Anonymous Monday, 14 April 2014, 10:43 am

      I agree with that Noel re SKY, Thomas and Wiggo did nothing to play the old one/two like Omega did with Terpstra. General fatigue effects the mind as well as the legs and this is by no means a criticism of them. Would love to have seen Wiggo jump away with Terpstra, Fabio could have eaten his words then. Shame.

      • Sam Monday, 14 April 2014, 11:10 am

        I think he was having to eat his words as it was. Wiggins ‘What’s Wiggins doing riding Paris-Roubaix’ got the same time as Fabs.

  • MT Monday, 14 April 2014, 10:22 am

    Side note INRNG, are you getting a deal from Cor Vos/ ASO now or has the licensing changed? I see their watermark on your recent pics. I know you normally pay (and syndication is their core business) but it’s great advertising for them, I’ve been to the site a number of times after seeing their prints here. Favourite has to be the tight bends on the Sarenne from last year’s Tour. When I get space in my house, I’m getting that one framed.

    Some of their photographers must have great stories to tell – would be a good blog post.

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 14 April 2014, 11:24 am

      I’ve long used the Cor Vos agency but have started putting Cor Vos above the INRNG watermark to distinguish the images from others.

      To others, just like MT if you see a Cor Vos pic you like then you can order the print from them in hi res detail.

  • Dave Casey Monday, 14 April 2014, 11:02 am

    Great review as always.

    On Eurosport – it was terrible commentary by Kirby. Just inane rattling on with a cliche or something entirely off the wall to end each sentence. Matt Stephens is a good commentator it must be hard trying to follow up / tag team with Kirby!! There are lots of options: Backstedt for starters. The day Eurosport lost D Harmon, they went backwards.. Hope he returns soon. Sky showed #RVV live so there’s competition in Irish / UK market now! Sky plan to have all races within 5years…

    As for Bonnen & his disappointment – I agree. A real shame to read his view of losing as opposed to delight for Terpstra & OPQS win.

    Wiggins should get recognition … Great to see him riding well again. Class talent to be able to adapt from GC Tour to one day Roubaix top 10!!

    Delighted to see Terpstra. Played a good game & raced cleverly.

    I love seeing the emotion at the velodrome. Always a special race to win / to finish!!

    I had special interest in Sam Bennett (Ireland / NetApp) his 1st roubaix. Finished. Chuffed for him.

    • Steppings Monday, 14 April 2014, 12:10 pm

      I don’t recall once during Kirby’s comedy routine did he mention Sam Bennett. Eurosport need to get serious on this and not just use any part timer who can talk a bit. Matt Stephens has some potential in my opinion but every apprentice needs a “master”.

  • Jon L Monday, 14 April 2014, 11:33 am

    Some interesting comments on here. Paris-Roubaix was as hard and spectacular as always.

    I loved Sagan’s attack coming round the side as the group bunched up, great timing. Cancellara seemed to have ridden a very calm race, not chasing too hard, never panicking.

    But as alluded to earlier the part was Stybar just slowing the front group enough so that Terpstra and Boonen could get across, courtesy of some help from Team Sky (G and Wiggo).

    Once they were all together, everyone was working everyone else out, the presence of Degenkolb and De Backer alongside him, must have played on some of the riders minds. Sky did have a go, but they both looked cooked from the effort to get across.

    As soon as Terpstra went, no-one wanted to tow a sprinter to the line (Degenkolb and Sagan), the only ones who could’ve/should’ve chased are Cancellara/Vanmarcke and De Backer. Indeed I think De Backer did try to pull it back, but the group was so large that had Cancellara or Van Marcke chased Terpstra down, someone would sit on and get a free ride.

    It was classic tactics from OPQS, but you need someone strong enough to go off the front, and Terpstra was plenty strong enough.

    Finally, as a side note, disappointment for BMC again, they looked strong early on with Hushovd and Van Avermaet, but Hushovd used his energy too early and V. Avermaet had an untimely puncture.

  • cyclingu19 Monday, 14 April 2014, 12:03 pm

    The race was pretty defensive this year except the Boonen move. Even Mons en Pevele didn’t cause any important splits and peleton was pretty big once they were coming to Carrefour de l’Arbre. I was expecting a move from Cancellara on Mons en Pevele but it didn’t happen.

    On Carrefour it was pretty late to make big damage for Vanmarcke and Cancellara especially with Sagan, Dege and Stybar riding on their wheels. Without Cancellara dominating performance we can expect more editions like this year in future.

    The strongest guys on cobbles this year in order: Vanmarcke, Cancellara, Stybar, Thomas, Boonen.

  • Lee Monday, 14 April 2014, 12:48 pm

    I thought yesterday showed just how classy a rider Wiggins really is. For some reason time seems to have diminished just his achievements in 2012 was and the narrative seems to have shifted towards the ‘he couldn’t have done it without Froome/Froome could have one won’ etc. I really hope he has another go at this as I think he could go all the way. Great race, I was glued throughout.

  • Guy Monday, 14 April 2014, 1:12 pm

    Am I right in saying I never saw Cancellara actually attack?

    • ave Monday, 14 April 2014, 4:10 pm

      I think he did once, on smooth tarmac, right after a corner, but it was very short.

  • MarceloCATALAN Monday, 14 April 2014, 1:28 pm

    I am glad THAT final group of 10 did not make it together into the Velodrome. I dont think my heart could take it! THANK YOU BIKES!!!!! WHAT A RACE!

  • Chrisman Monday, 14 April 2014, 9:36 pm

    Great race, first time I’ve actually watched it properly (shame on me). Reminded me of the FA Cup Final crossed with the Grand National. Finish was perhaps a small anti-climax, given the sheer magic of the previous couple of hours racing. I was not surprised when no-one went with Terpstra, the pace had killed them. Superb show from Wiggins and G though, I was amazed that both stayed upright and didn’t bonk with 60km to go. This race is something else.

  • Ceramic Cyclist Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 12:04 am

    I can see by the other postings here that I’m not the only one fed up with the crap TV coverage, with it’s Telemetry and Context absent, Hip-Hop-Video style quick cut camera changes. You don’t have any time to identify riders, or which group you’re looking at before the idiots in charge of deciding which camera the viewer will see the race through is changed to another. It’s completely pointless. Can someone tell the broadcasters that this isn’t a Tupac video?

    I also agree with other posters here: Carlton Kirby is a berk. Matt Stephens is a clever guy but he seems to be reading from a script or crib sheet like Paul Sherwen with their long list of cycling’s worst clichés.

    The best commentator easily is Robert Hatch from Cycling.tv.

  • Ceramic Cyclist Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 1:00 am

    Wiggins was only left behind early on because of a puncture. Like many others, he was also caught behind crashes too, but fought his way back to the front. For my mind, and I said so beforehand to friends on Facebook, he was definitely capable of at least a top 20 and I didn’t rule out a podium spot. In the end, not having much of a sprint or blistering attack in his repertoire, he did well to get 9th spot, equalling the last Tour winner to ride Paris Roubaix 20 years ago, dear old Greg Lemond.

  • Buzzman Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 1:38 am

    Impeccably written

  • Ron Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 2:10 am

    So, the race was won (in italics) when the winner moved ahead of the last chasers. Profound (in italics).

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 9:59 am

    yES ROn

  • Anonymous Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 10:00 am

    (yEs R (On) in iTAliCs.