Dylan van Baarle of INEOS Grenadiers outfoxed a shape-shifting field of hopefuls to win Paris-Roubaix, escaping a leading quartet on the Camphin-en-Pévèle secteur of cobbles in the final 18km and soloing to victory. Van Baarle had bridged up to Bahrain Victorious’ Matej Mohoric, the day’s main protagonist, and Quick Step’s Yves Lampaert as they reeled in surprise late leader Tom Devriendt of IWG Wanty through the dust and sunshine of northern France, and the four set out to shock the biggest names behind them, including Wout Van Aert of Jumbo Visma and Mathieu van der Poel of Alpecin Fenix. But Devriendt had little left and van Baarle was able to slip away from Mohoric and Lampaert in the madness of the final cobbles phase, stretching his lead to a more convincing gap over the Carrefour de l’Arbe and taking control of the race for good.
By the final cobble stretches, van Baarle had over a minute as Mohoric faded and Lampaert crashed after bumping a spectator. Van Aert led Mohoric and Devriendt, with Stefan Kung of FDJ, into the velodrome, and took the sprint for second ahead of Kung.
Van Baarle’s win is the finest result of his career, following a close second in the Ronde van Vlaanderen two weeks ago, and caps a dream season for INEOS, who took three wins in the last week, including Michal Kwiatkowski’s Amstel Gold Race success and Magnus Sheffield’s shocking victory at Brabantse Pijl. His win is also the third by a Dutch rider this century, joining Niki Terpstra and Servais Knaven as holders of the fabled cobbles trophy.
For some time, the story of the day was a break powered by Milano-Sanremo winner Mohoric, who got away after the Arenberg chaos with Laurent Pichon of Arkea and Devriendt, which gained some 2.30 on the peloton. With Mohoric looking incredibly strong, it appeared as though they might steal the race, but sure enough, the cobbles took their toll, as the trio began to hit the wall with 50km to go, seeing their lead suddenly shrivel as the top favorites group took shape behind them. Then Pichon dropped, followed by a mechanical issue for Mohoric, leaving Devriendt alone to fend off Van Aert, van der Poel, Mohoric and company. He was reeled in by Lampaert and Mohoric with 28km remaining, forming a quartet eventually with Dylan van Baarle and gaining 40 seconds.
Near Bourghelles, Trek’s Jasper Stuyven attacked and drew only Van Aert and Kung, finally giving them a group with the incentive to chase, having rid themselves of van der Poel as well as Turner and Petit, both interrupting the chase on behalf of their teammates up ahead. But up ahead van Baarle had taken control, and the chase couldn’t match his energy.
Van Aert, coming back from COVID interrupting his classics season, looked like his old self, while Kung continued to be one of the strongest riders of the spring, lacking only a bit extra to make the finale closer. Both can take some satisfaction from their best ever finishes here, as can Devriendt, who ended up fourth, a fantastic and dramatic day for his pro-continental team. The final major story is perhaps the worst ever spring for a Quick Step team, who might have at least secured a face-saving podium place had Lampaert not had his bars brushed by a spectator on the Gruson secteur, sending him wobbling and finally flipping over acrobatically. His maneuver helped him avoid injury and the Belgian was back on his bike quickly. But it was too late to salvage a high placing.
Thanks to the fine weather and finer performances, van Baarle notched the fastest ever performance in the Hell of the North, at an average of 45.792kpm.
- VAN BAARLE Dylan, INEOS Grenadiers, 5:37:00
- VAN AERT Wout, Jumbo-Visma, at 1:47
- KÜNG Stefan, Groupama - FDJ
- DEVRIENDT Tom, Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux
- MOHORIČ Matej, Bahrain - Victorious
- PETIT Adrien, Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux, at 2:27
- STUYVEN Jasper, Trek - Segafredo
- PICHON Laurent, Team Arkéa Samsic
- VAN DER POEL Mathieu, Alpecin-Fenix, at 2:34
- LAMPAERT Yves, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team, at 2:59
- TURNER Ben, INEOS Grenadiers, at 4:30
- KRISTOFF Alexander, Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux, at 4:33
- SÉNÉCHAL Florian, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team, at 4:36
- MEEUS Jordi, BORA - hansgrohe, at 4:47
- LOUVEL Matis, Team Arkéa Samsic
- VAN DER HOORN Taco, Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux
- VAN AVERMAET Greg, AG2R Citroën Team
- DEGENKOLB John, Team DSM
- PASQUALON Andrea, Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux
- TEUNISSEN Mike, Jumbo-Visma3020