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Attack 6 kilometres from end of thrilling race assures Dutch rider of place in history

Niki Terpstra of Omega Pharma-Quick Step attacked 6km from the end of a thrilling edition of Paris-Roubaix today to win the Queen of the Classics and carve his name into cycling history. Entering Roubaix's famous velodrome with a gap of around 20 seconds on his closest pursuers, the Dutch rider had ample time to enjoy his victory. Giant-Shimano's John Degenkolb beat Fabian Cancellara in the sprint for second from a group that also contained the two other big favourites, Cannondale's Peter Sagan and Terpstra's team mate, Tom Boonen. Team Sky had two British riders in the top ten - Geraint Thomas, who was 7th, and Sir Bradley Wiggins, 9th.

 

Terpstra may be an unexpected winner of a race that saw attack and counterattack from the men expected to be the major protagonists, but he is a thoroughly deserving one.

On a warm, dry day in northern France that caused clouds of dust to billow up around the riders on each sector of pavé, first Boonen and later Sagan went on the attack, while Cancellara helped lead a chase that saw a group of 11 riders form at the head of the race with just under 10km to go.

At the Tour of Flanders last week, won by Cancellara, Omega Pharma-Quick Step failed to exploit their numerical superiority as the race headed towards its conclusion, missing out on a podium place.

With Boonen and Zdenek Stybar both in that group as Paris-Roubaix entered its final kilometres, the Belgian team could afford to gamble, and they helped check the pace of the group enough to make sure Terpstra's attack was a winning one.

"I feel happy, but really tired," said Terpstra said afterwards, quoted on his team's website. "When we came together in the last cobblestone section — at the end of the cobblestones — Wilfried Peeters told us if we go for the sprint we go with Tom. But, if you can attack, it's always good to open the final.

"So it was up to me and Zdenek to attack and they know I like to do it. So, 20 seconds later I attacked. It was the good one. When I looked behind me I saw there was a gap, so it was just full gas to the finish line. Don't look back, because that doesn't help. They will come back anyway if you check or not.

"Then, when I was crossing the finish line, it was just really special. I'm so satisfied. Finally I won a big one. We had a healthy, comfortable pressure from within the team to perform. The kind that motivates us to do well. We won a lot of races but not a big one yet. We wanted to prove we can win a big one. Today we really proved we are a strong team that can also win the biggest races.

"As for me, two years ago I was 5th, and last year I was 3rd. If you can finish in the top 10 here you can also, with a bit of luck, win it. Last year I was really close and this year I made it. Since I was a little child and I started cycling, Paris-Roubaix was the most special race for me. Now I won it. It's a dream come true.

"Paris-Roubaix is a crazy race, old fashioned, but that's why it's special and why I love it that much. It was really my lucky day. I think we're going to have a nice dinner with the team tonight to celebrate this great victory, and then I will enjoy my time at home this week with my family."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

11 comments

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 1 year ago
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Great race.

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Colin Peyresourde [1636 posts] 1 year ago
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Super Domestique wrote:

Great race.

Agree. I think Tjerpstra got a little bit of a free ride because all the favourites were looking at the favourites and trying hard either to blow each other off the back or bridge the gap. Fair play to Quickstep, they got it right, three in the breakaway and no one looking Tjerpstra.

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mylesrants [259 posts] 1 year ago
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super race, with 15k to go he was swinging no where.

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hennyjvr [4 posts] 1 year ago
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Such class!!
What a great win, enjoyed every second of it!

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RobD [282 posts] 1 year ago
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Thoroughly enjoyed the race, a shame Boonen and Thomas were hung out to dry a bit in their breakaway group until Thor joined them, would have been interesting to see what might have happened if they'd all gone for it with those two.

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don simon [722 posts] 1 year ago
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Top bit of racing.
A great advert for the sport.

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TheHound [113 posts] 1 year ago
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Super solo break at the end. Was a massive surprise. I was expecting Wiggo and Thomas to pull 1-2 punch maybe.

Why do Sky still make EBH team leader in classics?

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Simon E [2542 posts] 1 year ago
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TheHound wrote:

Super solo break at the end. Was a massive surprise. I was expecting Wiggo and Thomas to pull 1-2 punch maybe.

Was hoping this might happen but I think Thomas said he was on the limit. Post-race comments from the two Sky riders over at CW:
http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest-news/bradley-wiggins-geraint-...

I wouldn't call it a free ride Colin, Terpstra timed his effort just right - it was no surprise that the others were either not able or not willing to lead the chase, thereby likely sacrificing their own chances.

EBH is an enigma. Perhaps Sky know something we don't...  39

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Super Domestique [1596 posts] 1 year ago
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Please don't start me on the eggs in the EBH basket!  102

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mikroos [257 posts] 1 year ago
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What a race!

I always said that Roubaix is a perfect race to watch for everyone, not just cycling maniacs - there' simply no place for boredom and something is happening all the time. There's a lot of surprises too, which no one can doubt after yesterday's race.

Can you ask for more?!

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monty dog [446 posts] 1 year ago
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With Denkenkolb and Sagan in the front group, it was a shrewd move by Terpstra and must have been rued by all the others - OPQS and it's predecessor teams going back to Mapei have dominated this race for 2 decades and they weren't going to capitulate - they've won it 12 times out of the last 20, a pretty impressive record.