John Degenkolb of Giant-Alpecin has backed up last month's win at Milan-San Remo by taking his second Monument of 2015, Paris-Roubaix. The German won the sprint from an unusually large group of seven that contested the finish at the velodrome in Roubaix.
Etixx-Quick Step's Zdenek Stybar was second, with BMC's Greg van Avermaet, so often the nearly man in big races, once again on the podium but not the top step, finishing third.
Team Sky's Sir Bradley Wiggins, riding for the WorldTour outfit for the final time, attacked the group containing the favourites some 32 kilometres from the finish but was brought back.
He finished 18th, 31 seconds behind the winner, with team mate Luke Rowe, who had worked tirelessly all day, winning the sprint from the group chasing the leaders to finish eighth. Geraint Thomas had crashed earlier and lost contact with the group containing the main contenders.
Race winner, John Degenkolb
I am so happy with this win. The team was so strong and I received great support from the guys. Everything went perfectly.
I chose the right moment to attack. I knew if I waited longer, the same scenario as last year would play out, so I went. I was forced to do most of the work because the others know I am a fast finisher.
Etixx-Quick Step rider Zdenek Stybar, who finished second
I knew Degenkolb was for sure one of the fastest guys in the bunch. So it'd be hard to beat him in a sprint. But in such a hard race, including with him having to use energy bridging gaps, you never know.
So I was hoping he might be tired, but everyone was really at their knees along with him. It was really down to who had anything left.
He launched a very good sprint and I couldn't beat him. He was very strong and deserved the win.I hope to come back next year and fight for this victory, because that is what counts.
Sir Bradley Wiggins, on his last race for Team Sky
I’m relieved to get it over and done with and I’m happy with how it went. The tailwind made it tough out there because it meant the racing was on all day and there was no chance to relax like we normally do after the first few sectors.
It was a tough edition but nice to be able to have a few attacks. I had my first go where I said I was going to go on the bus this morning. No-one else seemed to be expecting it there and I got myself in a pretty good position. It was unfortunate though that I got lumbered with a few riders who didn’t want to work and that meant it was chased down quite quickly.
I felt like I had the legs to win, I think everybody in that group did. It could have been any one of us. When I made my attacks they said it was panic stations behind, but I think that came down to the pre-race hype when I said I was up for it. It is what it is.
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.