Paris - Roubaix 2014: Terpstra solos to victory

Niki Terpstra took the biggest victory of his career in the Roubaix velodrome, 20 seconds ahead of the group of favourites after an intriguing edition of the race. Terpstra's attack came late on, but the build up to that moment was absolutely fascinating. (Slideshow route/profile)

Results Paris-Roubaix 2014

1. Niki Terpstra (The Netherlands)
2. John Degenkolb (Germany) + 0.20
3. Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) s.t.
4. Sep Vanmarcke (Belgium) s.t.
5. Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic) s.t.
6. Peter Sagan (Slovakia) s.t.
7. Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) s.t.
8. Sebastian Langeveld (The Netherland ) s.t.
9. Bradley Wiggins (Geat Britain) s.t.
10.Tom Boonen (Belgium) s.t.

Race report

The 112th edition of Paris-Roubaix got under way with 8 riders breaking free after 23 kilometres. The escapees were David Boucher (, Kenny de Haes (Lotto Belisol), Andreas Schillinger (NetApp-Endura), Michael Kolar (Tinkoff-Saxo), Clément Koretzky (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Benoit Jarrier (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Tim De Troyer (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) and John Murphy (UnitedHealthCare). By the first cobbled sector of Troisvilles a Inchy, they had built up a gap of around 9 minutes.

The first real action in the peloton saw a Sky train take the front in the lead up to Arenberg. It was a statement of intent, Wiggins was not here just for the fun of it. Their positioning paid off, making it through safely, with Katusha the biggest casualties in the forest as Alexander Kristoff hit the deck and later abandoned.

The ‘man up the road’ games started soon after with BMC seeming almost desperate to get either Hushovd or Schar into a breakaway so that Van Avermaet could have an easy ride. A group eventualy did get a gap, but with no BMC man present.

Queue panic when Tom Boonen put in a ferocious dig with 63 kilometres remaining, quickly distancing everybody and powering across to the group. The play was clear, OPQS were using their leader, and not a decoy, total role reversal from Flanders. No shadow boxing today.

In the group with Boonen was Geraint Thomas, and apart from these 2, nobody seemed willing to help another team’s leader to the finish while their own leaders lingered behind. The gap narrowed, grew, narrowed again with Boonen always putting in digs to keep it clear from the peloton. Thor Hushovd managed to bridge and helped with the workload.

The peloton was still quite large at this point and it was clear that the other favourites were saving their energy. Then, with just over 35 kilometres remaining, Vanmarcke attacked. Cancellara fought to get to his wheel with Lars Boom for company. Belkin were toying with Spartacus, trying to wear him down for a potential two-up sprint with Vanmarcke in the velodrome.

These attacks created a selection, at which point Peter Sagan, who had only been seen in chasing groups after mechanicals up until this point, attacked. Belkin again had things covered with Wynants on his wheel.

Sagan bridged to the Boonen group, and Cancellara and Vanmarcke were also closing fast. Sagan duly attacked again before the catch was made.

Sagan hit the Carrefour de l’Arbre alone. The chase behind ended up with Cancellara, Vanmarcke, Stybar and Degenkolb catching the Slovak with Terpstra desperately trying to bridge with an exhausted looking Boonen.

It should have been the race winning break. However, with Vanmarcke and Cancellara the strongest, they were unsurprisingly reluctant to drag two fast man like Sagan and Degenkolb to the finish. Stybar was not inclined to work either given his leader was just a few seconds back.

The pace slowed and the second group bridged to the front 5. Boonen was back in the game and amazingly, 2012 Tour winner Wiggins hit the front of the race with 8 kilometres to go.

It looked like it was Degenkolb’s race to lose at this point, the fastest and freshest of the bunch. OPQS had one card left to play, and Terpstra came flying out of the group, quickly building a 10 second lead. With De Backer, riding for Degenkolb, the only willing chaser, Terpstra stretched his lead to 20 seconds, entering the Velodrome alone and soloing to the biggest win of his career.

Degenkolb took the sprint for 2nd, with Cancellara 3rd. A 12th podium in a row for the Swiss from Monuments he’s finished. Sagan rode a brave race but a Monument still eludes him, Wiggins proved just what a versatile and talented rider he is, while Tommeke, the man who made the race, was a happy 10th after his teammate’s victory.

Paris-Roubaix 2014: Images and more

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Niki Terpstra

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