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Their gap grows on the Steenbeekdries and the Taaienberg, where an eager Van der Poel takes the lead. They soon catch the riders who were dropped from the breakaway. This is the new situation 35 km before the finish:

*Vandenbergh, Calmejane
*Van der Poel, Stuyven, Van Baarle, Asgreen, Meurisse, Vanbilsen at 1’29”
*Jungels, Alaphilippe, Declercq, Lampaert, Stybar, Gilbert, Wellens, Bettiol, Langeveld, Vanmarcke, Kragh Andersen, Benoot, Sagan, Oss, Van Aert, Politt, Planckaert, Sunderland at 1’50”
*Group of thirteen (Van Avermaet, Terpstra, Degenkolb, Kristoff…) at 3’26”
*Group of six (Valverde, Roelandts, Pedersen…) at 3’50”
 
Stuyven, Van Baarle and Van der Poel maintain a high pace on the flat. Asgreen doesn’t cooperate, because he has five teammates behind. Those aren’t working either, because they have Asgreen in front. Oss, Kragh Andersen and Langeveld use their last efforts to keep the time difference under control.
 
Just before they reach the Kruisberg Jasper Stuyven has a flat tyre. He has to wait for a new bike and joins the pursuing group.

On the Kruisberg Van der Poel takes the lead. Meurisse and Vanbilsen are dropped, but Asgreen and Van Baarle manage to hang on. Tim Declercq’s work is done. The group of favorites is getting smaller. This is how they reach the top, 26 km before the finish:

*Vandenbergh, Calmejane
*Van der Poel, Van Baarle, Asgreen at 48”
*Stybar, Alaphilippe, Jungels, Lampaert, Gilbert, Wellens, Bettiol, Vanmarcke, Benoot, Sagan, Van Aert, Politt, Stuyven, Meurisse, Vanbilsen at 1’38”
*Declercq, Oss, Kragh Andersen, Langeveld, Planckaert, Sunderland at 2’21”
*Group of eleven (Van Avermaet, Terpstra, Degenkolb, Kristoff…) at 3’03”
 
Twenty km before the finish the gaps are getting smaller. DQSt is working again in the third group, because they realize that Asgreen probably wouldn’t win a sprint against Van der Poel.

*Vandenbergh, Calmejane
*Van der Poel, Van Baarle, Asgreen at 34”
*Stybar, Alaphilippe, Jungels, Lampaert, Gilbert, Wellens, Bettiol, Vanmarcke, Benoot, Sagan, Van Aert, Politt, Stuyven, Meurisse, Vanbilsen at 1’03”
*Declercq, Oss, Kragh Andersen, Langeveld, Planckaert, Sunderland at 2’36”
*Group of eleven (Van Avermaet, Terpstra, Degenkolb, Kristoff…) at 2’53”
 
Decision time! On the third ascension of the Kwaremont Van der Poel closes the gap to Vandenbergh. Calmejane and Van Baarle are dropped. The pursuing group, led by Vanmarcke, is split apart as well. This is how they reach the top of the Kwaremont, 16 km before the finish:

*Van der Poel, Asgreen, Vandenbergh
*Calmejane at 6”
*Van Baarle at 13”
*Vanmarcke, Sagan, Stybar at 28”
*Alaphilippe, Jungels, Lampaert, Gilbert, Van Aert at 32”
*Wellens, Bettiol, Benoot, Politt, Stuyven at 44”
*Meurisse, Vanbilsen at 52”
*Van Avermaet, Terpstra, Degenkolb, Kristoff, Declercq, Oss, Kragh Andersen, Langeveld at 2’28”
 
The Paterberg is the final climb, short but very steep and cobbled. Van der Poel turns into a frenzy and drops the tired Vandenbergh immediately. Asgreen fights for what he’s worth, but shortly before the top he has to let the Dutchman go.



In the background Van Baarle and Calmejane are caught by the pursuing group. Sep Vanmarcke launches an attack on the Paterberg, dropping everyone except a tenacious Zdenek Stybar. Wout Van Aert, who likes a short, steep climb, is only a few second behind, with a stubborn Yves Lampaert sticking to his wheel. This is how they reach the top of the Paterberg, 13 km before the finish:

*Van der Poel
*Asgreen at 6”
*Vanmarcke, Stybar at 24”
*Van Aert, Lampaert at 27”
*Alaphilippe, Jungels, Gilbert, Sagan, Van Baarle, Vandenbergh at 31”
*Calmejane at 55”
*Wellens, Bettiol, Benoot at 1’09”
*Politt, Stuyven at 1’17”
*Meurisse, Vanbilsen at 1’42”
*Van Avermaet, Degenkolb, Kristoff, Langeveld at 2’40
*Terpstra, Declercq, Oss, Kragh Andersen at 2’52”
 
Thirty-four years after Adri Van der Poel’s victory in the Ronde his son Mathieu is the solo leader on the road to Oudenaarde. However in the background a strong chasing group is assembling. Van Aert uses his descending skills to immediately close the gap to Vanmarcke and Stybar, taking Lampaert with him. Asgreen is instructed to wait for his teammates. The result is a chasing group of five strong riders including three from the wolf pack. They work together with full surrender, aiming to close the gap to Van der Poel and keep Sagan behind at the same time. Vanmarcke and Van Aert play the tactical game by following wheels. Here are the gaps 10 km before the finish:

*Van der Poel
*Asgreen, Lampaert, Stybar, Vanmarcke, Van Aert at 23”
*Alaphilippe, Jungels, Gilbert, Sagan, Van Baarle, Vandenbergh at 34”
*Wellens, Bettiol, Benoot, Calmejane at 1’12”
*Politt, Stuyven at 1’15”
*Meurisse, Vanbilsen at 1’53”
*Van Avermaet, Degenkolb, Kristoff, Langeveld at 2’35"
*Terpstra, Declercq, Oss, Kragh Andersen at 2’58”
 
Last edited:
Van der Poel is strong, but he 's up against a strong chasing group of five. No one wants to bring Sagan back, so the Slovak tries to close the gap on his own. However Bob Jungels doesn’t let this happen and stays with him. Meanwhile the jury announces that Stijn Vandenbergh wins the combativity award. This is the situation 5 km before the finish:

*Van der Poel
*Asgreen, Lampaert, Stybar, Vanmarcke, Van Aert at 12”
*Sagan, Jungels at 28”
*Alaphilippe, Gilbert, Van Baarle, Vandenbergh at 43”
*Wellens, Bettiol, Benoot, Politt, Stuyven, Calmejane at 1’18”
*Meurisse, Vanbilsen at 2’13”
*Van Avermaet, Degenkolb, Kristoff, Langeveld at 2’31"
*Terpstra, Declercq, Oss, Kragh Andersen at 3’10”
 
Two km before the finish Van der Poel is caught by the group of five. Sep Vanmarcke immediately attacks, hoping to surprise the others. Yves Lampaert however sticks to his wheel and refuses to take a turn. In the background Van Aert reluctantly takes the lead, but the gap is five seconds already when the other four reach the final km.
 
Sep Vanmarcke now has two options: taking Lampaert to a sprint or letting the other four come back. He chooses the first.

With two hundred meters to go Lampaert starts sprinting. He comes next to Vanmarcke, but on the finish line he’s still half a wheel behind. Sep Vanmarcke triumphantly throws his hands into the air. Seven years after finishing second in Roubaix he has finally won a monument. Congratulations, Sep!
 
Reactions: Gigs_98
Three seconds later Van der Poel beats Van Aert by a bike length in the sprint for the remaining podium spot.

Sagan beats Jungels in the sprint for seventh place.

Alaphilippe wins the group sprint for ninth place. Deceuninck - Quick Step has five riders in the top 9, but no win.
 
So far for this imaginary edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. I hope you enjoyed it. Listed below is the complete top 20.



  1. Sep Vanmarcke
  2. Yves Lampaert 0”
  3. Mathieu van der Poel 3”
  4. Wout van Aert 3”
  5. Zdenek Stybar 3”
  6. Kasper Asgreen 5”
  7. Peter Sagan 35”
  8. Bob Jungels 35”
  9. Julian Alaphilippe 47”
  10. Philippe Gilbert 47”
  11. Dylan Van Baarle 47”
  12. Stijn Vandenbergh 51”
  13. Nils Politt 1’25”
  14. Tiesj Benoot 1’25”
  15. Tim Wellens 1’25”
  16. Jasper Stuyven 1’25”
  17. Alberto Bettiol 1’25”
  18. Lilian Calmejane 1’42”
  19. Alexander Kristoff 2’24”
  20. John Degenkolb 2’24”
 
Sep Vanmarcke now has two options: taking Lampaert to a sprint or letting the other four come back. He chooses the first.

With two hundred meters to go Lampaert starts sprinting. He comes next to Vanmarcke, but on the finish line he’s still half a wheel behind. Sep Vanmarcke triumphantly throws his hands into the air. Seven years after finishing second in Roubaix he has finally won a monument. Congratulations, Sep!
Thanks for keeping us updated all day. That was a genuinely good read. Also so happy about Vanmarcke finally getting his monument. I had really started to question whether that was ever gonna happen
 
Reactions: Pantani_lives
Is anyone going to do something about Paris-R on Sunday? It does not need to be ready by Sunday evening, right? Tuesday would certainly be soon enough?
It would be a pity if this race took place without anyone writing about it...
If nobody else does it, I would write something, but as I'm not a specialized cobble-watcher, there might be other people better suited to do it.
 
Is anyone going to do something about Paris-R on Sunday? It does not need to be ready by Sunday evening, right? Tuesday would certainly be soon enough?
It would be a pity if this race took place without anyone writing about it...
If nobody else does it, I would write something, but as I'm not a specialized cobble-watcher, there might be other people better suited to do it.
I have a fun and realistic race scenario played out in my head. Not 100 % sure that I'll have the time though, but I might be able to do something.
 
The fictional 118th edition of Paris-Roubaix, 'la Reine des Classiques'.




118th Paris-Roubaix: Compiègne-Roubaix (259 km) on Sunday April, 12




For the 118th edition, which will start in Compiègne on Sunday 12th April at 11:00, the route will measure 259 kilometres, with 55 kilometres of cobbles split into 30 different cobbled sectors (compared with 54.5 km and 29 sections in 2019). The modifications made this year will see the race return to several rural roads it has occasionally visited in the past and which could spice up the initial battles on the cobbles, with a comeback for the upward sloped sector Capelle-Ruesnes at the hamlet of Buat.

30: Troisvilles to Inchy (km 97.5 — 0.9 km) **
29: Briastre to Viesly (km 108.5 — 3 km) ****
28: Viesly to Quiévy (km 101.5 — 1.8 km) ***
27: Quiévy to Saint-Python (km 116 – 3.7 km) ****
26: Saint-Python (km 118.5 — 1.5 km) **
25: Vertain to Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon (km 127.5 — 2.3 km) ***
24: Capelle-Ruesnes (km 130 — 1.7 km) ***
23: Verchain-Maugré to Quérénaing (km 136.5 — 1.6 km) ***
22: Quérénaing to Maing (km 140.5 — 2.5 km) ***
21: Maing to Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (km 142.5 — 1.6 km) ***
20: Haveluy to Wallers (km 156.5 — 2.5 km) ****
19: Trouée d’Arenberg (km 164.5 — 2.3 km) *
18: Wallers to Hélesmes (km 170 – 1.6 km) ***
17: Hornaing to Wandignies (km 179 – 3.7 km) ****
16: Warlaing to Brillon (km 185 – 2.4 km) ***
15: Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières (km 188.5 — 2.4 km) ****
14: Beuvry to Orchies (km 194 — 1.4 km) ***
13: Orchies (km 199 — 1.7 km) ***
12: Auchy to Bersée (km 206.5 — 2.7 km) ****
11: Mons-en-Pévèle (km 212 – 3 km) *
10: Mérignies to Avelin (km 215.5 – 0.7 km) **
9: Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin (km 220 – 1.4 km) ***
8: Templeuve — L’Épinette (km 224 – 0.2 km) *
8: Templeuve — Moulin-de-Vertain (km 225 – 0.5 km) **
7: Cysoing to Bourghelles (km 232 – 1.3 km) ***
6: Bourghelles to Wannehain (km 234.5 – 1.1 km) ***
5: Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 239.5 – 1.8 km) ****
4: Carrefour de l’Arbre (km 242.5 – 2.1 km) *
3: Gruson (km 244 — 1.1 km) **
2: Willems to Hem (km 251 — 1.4 km) ***
1: Roubaix (km 256 — 0.3 km) *


Last year



In 2019, it was Philippe Gilbert who added a new monument to his tally with a surprising but fabulous victory in the Hell of the North. After a spectacular (what else?) race with lots of changing situations, he got the better of Nils Politt in a sprint à deux. Yves Lampaert joined his winning teammate on the podium.

1 Philippe Gilbert (BEL) Deceuninck - Quick Step 5:58:02
2 Nils Politt (GER) Katusha - Alpecin zt
3 Yves Lampaert (BEL) Deceuninck - Quick Step 0:13
4 Sep Vanmarcke (BEL) EF Education First 0:40
5 Peter Sagan (SVK) Bora - Hansgrohe 0:42
6 Florian Sénéchal (FRA) Deceuninck - Quick Step 0:47
7 Mike Teunissen (NED) Jumbo - Visma 0:47
8 Zdenek Stybar (CZE) Deceuninck - Quick Step 0:47
9 Evaldas Siskevicius (LTU) Delko - Marseille Provence KTM 0:47
10 Sebastian Langeveld (NED) EF Education First 0:47


Favourites & competitors



With his long-awaited victory in the Tour of Flanders last Sunday, and already a Paris-Roubaix in the bag, Greg Van Avermaet is not much of a surprise on top of the favourites list. The CCC-strongman is keen on repeating his 2017 win and adding more glamour to his already fabulous spring, which saw him also adding the Strade Bianche to his palmares.

However, competition is strong, with Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert ranking very high in the pre-race polls. Both cyclocross stars shined two weeks ago, with the Dutchman winning Gent-Wevelgem and the Belgian conquering the E3 Harelbeke, and showed in the Ronde that the form is still there with both finishing in the top five. Although MVDP is a debutant, no one doubts his skill on the cobblestones. Van Aert proved himself that he was a top contender right away in the two previous editions.

The omnipresent Deceuninck-Quickstep squad is a guarantee for cobblestone favourites, but they don't have their best spring season yet. Julian Alaphilippe did a decent job in the Ronde, but lacked his 2019 kick to make a difference in his first cobblestone classic and of course isn't scheduled for Roubaix. This means Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert, Zdenek Stybar and Florian Sénéchal once again have a chance to stand out and take leadership of the Wolfpack.

Furthermore there are specialist like Sep Vanmarcke, Oliver Naesen, Jasper Stuyven, Niki Terpstra, Dylan van Baarle, John Degenkolb, Mads Pedersen and Søren Kragh who all showed signs of good form over the last few weeks. Guys like title defender Gilbert, Peter Sagan, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Matteo Trentin remain question marks, but can never be ruled out.

***
Wout van Aert, Greg Van Avermaet & Mathieu van der Poel
**
Kasper Asgreen, Oliver Naesen, Zdenek Stybar, Niki Terpstra & Sep Vanmarcke
*
John Degenkolb, Philippe Gilbert, Søren Kragh, Yves Lampaert, Mads Pedersen, Nils Politt, Peter Sagan & Jasper Stuyven


Startlist

Code:
LOTTO-SOUDAL
1. GILBERT Philippe
2. DE BUYST Jasper
3. DEGENKOLB John
4. DEWULF Stan
5. FRISON Frederik
6. MAES Nikolas
7. WALLAYS Jelle

ISRAEL START-UP NATION
11. POLITT Nils
12. BARBIER Rudy
13. BIERMANS Jenthe
14. GREIPEL André
15. HOFSTETTER Hugo
16. VAN ASBROECK Tom
17. ZABEL Rick

DECEUNINCK-QUICKSTEP
21. STYBAR Zdenek
22. ASGREEN Kasper
23. BALLERINI Davide
24. DECLERCQ Tim
25. KEISSE Iljo
26. LAMPAERT Yves
27. SÉNÉCHAL Florian

AG2R LA MONDIALE
31. NAESEN Oliver
32. DILLIER Silvan
33. DUVAL Julien
34. GODON Dorian
35. GOUGEARD Alexis
36. NAESEN Lawrence
37. VANDENBERGH Stijn

ASTANA PRO TEAM
41. ARANBURU Alex
42. BIZHIGITOV Zhandos
43. DE VREESE Laurens
44. FELLINE Fabio
45. GRUZDEV Dmitriy
46. HOULE Hugo
47. MARTINELLI Davide

BAHRAIN-MCLAREN
51. GARCÍA CORTINA Iván
52. BAUHAUS Phil
53. HALLER Marco
54. HAUSSLER Heinrich
55. MOHORIČ Matej
56. SIEBERG Marcel
57. TRATNIK Jan

BORA-HANSGROHE
61. SAGAN Peter
62. BODNAR Maciej
63. BURGHARDT Marcus
64. DRUCKER Jempy
65. OSS Daniel
66. SAGAN Juraj
67. SELIG Rüdiger

CCC TEAM
71. VAN AVERMAET Greg
72. SCHÄR Michael
73. TRENTIN Matteo
74. VAN HOECKE Gijs
75. VAN HOOYDONCK Nathan
76. VAN KEIRSBULCK Guillaume
77. WIŚNIOWSKI Łukasz

COFIDIS
81. VIVIANI Elia
82. ALLEGAERT Piet
83. LEMOINE Cyril
84. SABATINI Fabio
85. TOUZÉ Damien
86. VANBILSEN Kenneth
87. VERMOTE Julien

EDUCATION FIRST PRO CYCLING
91. VANMARCKE Sep
92. BETTIOL Alberto
93. CORT Magnus
94. DOCKER Mitchell
95. KEUKELEIRE Jens
95. LANGEVELD Sebastian
96. RUTSCH Jonas
97. VAN DEN BERG Julius

GROUPAMA-FDJ
101. DÉMARE Arnaud
102. GUARNIERI Jacopo
103. KONOVALOVAS Ignatas
104. KÜNG Stefan
105. LE GAC Olivier
106. SARREAU Marc
107. SINKELDAM Ramon

MITCHELTON-SCOTT
111. DURBRIDGE Luke
112. AFFINI Edoardo
113. BAUER Jack
114. EDMONDSON Alex
115. MEZGEZ Luka
116. PEÁK Barnabas
117. SCOTSON Callum

MOVISTAR TEAM
121. ROELANDTS Jürgen
122. ARCAS Jorge
123. CULLAIGH Gabriel
124. ERVITI Imanol
125. JACOBS Johan
126. NORSGAARD Mathias
127. OLIVEIRA Nelson

NTT PRO CYCLING
131. BOASSON HAGEN Edvald
132. CARBEL Michael
133. JANSE VAN RENSBURG Reinardt
134. NIZZOLO Giacomo
135. STOKBRO Andreas
136. TILLER Rasmus
137. WALSCHEID Max

TEAM INEOS
141. ROWE Luke
142. DOULL Owain
143. GANNA Filippo
144. KNEES Christian
145. MOSCON Gianni
146. STANNARD Ian
147. VAN BAARLE Dylan

TEAM JUMBO-VISMA
151. VAN AERT Wout
152. EENKHOORN Pascal
153. JANSEN Amund Grøndahl
154. TEUNISSEN Mike
155. VAN DER HOORN Taco
156. WYNANTS Maarten
157. ROOSEN Timo

TEAM SUNWEB
161. KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren
162. BOL Cees
163. EEKHOF Nils
164. KRAGH ANDERSEN Asbjørn
165. NIEUWENHUIS Joris
166. PEDERSEN Casper
167. SÜTTERLIN Jasha

TREK-SEGAFREDO
171. PEDERSEN Mads
172. DE KORT Koen
173. KIRSCH Alex
174. MULLEN Ryan
175. SIMMONS Quinn
176. STUYVEN Jasper
177. THEUNS Edward

UAE-TEAM EMIRATES
181. KRISTOFF Alexander
182. BOHLI Tom
183. BYSTRØM Sven Erik
184. GAVIRIA Fernando
185. LAENGEN Vegard Stake
186. MARCATO Marco
187. PHILIPSEN Jasper

ARKÉA SAMSIC
191. BONNAMOUR Franck
192. DECLERCQ Benjamin
193. JARRIER Benoît
194. NOPPE Christophe
195. RIOU Alan
196. RUSSO Clément
197. WELTEN Bram

ALPECIN-FENIX
201. VAN DER POEL Mathieu
202. DE BONDT Dries
203. HANSEN Lasse Norman
204. MERLIER Tim
205. MODOLO Sacha
206. THWAITES Scott
207. VERMEERSCH Gianni

B&B HOTELS-VITAL CONCEPT
211. BACKAERT Frederik
212. BOECKMANS Kris
213. DE BACKER Bert
214. LE BON Johan
215. LECROQ Jérémy
216. MOZZATO Luca
217. VAN GENECHTEN Jonas

CIRCUS-WANTY GOBERT
221. HERMANS Quinten
222. DEVRIENDT Tom
223. KREDER Wesley
224. VAN POPPEL Danny
225. VAN POPPEL Boy
226. VANSPEYBROUCK Pieter
227. DUPONT Timothy

NIPPO DELKO
231. ŠIŠKEVIČIUS Evaldas
232. BEPPU Fumiyuki
233. FINETTO Mauro
234. GHIRMAY HAILU Biniam
235. GROSU Eduard
236. MINALI Riccardo
237. TRARIEUX Julien

TOTAL-DIRECT ENERGIE
241. TERPSTRA Niki
242. CARDIS Romain
243. GAUDIN Damien
244. LIGTHART Pim
245. PETIT Adrien
246. TURGIS Anthony
247. VAN GESTEL Dries
 
Reactions: BlueRoads
No problem. Looking forward to your write up this race. Also great to see that 3 of the young kids on Movistar's team are in this race. The cobbled races were some of the races I was looking forward to with this young Movistar team.
 
Reactions: Wvv
Sunny conditions at the start, with a temperature that'll grow to 22° Celsius later on. The forecast predicted a 2-3 BFT from the west, which makes it a crosswind for most of the race.
 
The first hour is quite a calm one when it comes to early attacks. Especially the ProContinental teams try to set up a break, but without any luck so far. Might have something to do with the average speed of 48,9 km/h.
 

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