Sonny Colbrelli to Paradise
October 3 rd 2021 - 17:33
Riding his first Paris-Roubaix at the age of 31, European champion Sonny Colbrelli of Bahrain Victorious rode to glory on the André-Pétrieux velodrome as he outsprinted his two breakaway companions, Florian Vermeersch and Mathieu van der Poel, two other debutants in the Hell of the North. The race was marked by wet and muddy conditions and the solo breakaway of another Italian, Gianni Moscon, who looked like having his grip on the race but was victim of a puncture and a crash in the money time.
31 riders at the front
174 riders took the start of the 118th Paris-Roubaix at 11.14. Riding his last race ever, Australia’s Mitch Docker (EF Education-Nippo) was involved in the first crash in the first kilometre along with Jonas Van Genechten (B&B-KTM). Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) and Max Kanter (DSM) managed to form a leading trio after 10km of racing but Trentin sat up while the peloton was very active. It was all together again at km 29. A group of 31 riders was formed at km 47: Florian Vermeersch, Harry Sweeny, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto-Soudal), Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Ballerini, Tim De Clercq (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Edoardo Affini, Timo Roosen, Nathan Van Hooydonck (Jumbo-Visma), Tom van Asbroek (Israel-Start Up-Nation), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix), Tom Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Marco Haller, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroën), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Stefan Bisseger (EF Education-Nippo), André Carvalho (Cofidis), Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Owain Doull, Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe (Ineos Grenadiers), Florian Maître (Totalenergies), Luke Durbridge, Robert Stannard (BikeExchange), Edvaldas Siskevicius (Delko), Nils Eekhoff (DSM), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka-NextHash), Imanol Erviti, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) and Luca Mozzato (B&B Hotels-KTM). Successively, Doull and Küng were swallowed by the pack after a flat tyre and a crash respectively.
Vermeersch and Eekhoff at the front in Arenberg
After Haller sustained a flat tyre, 28 leaders entered the first cobbled sector with an advantage of 1’50’’ over the peloton. At the exit of the sector 27, Walscheid, Rowe, Vermeersch and Eekhoff took the lead with 143km to go. After Rowe got dropped and Walscheid crashed on the sector 24, Vermeersch and Eekhoff formed a leading duo with 127km to go. The Belgian and the Dutchman entered the Trouée d’Arenberg with an advantage of 40’’ over their former breakaway companions 1’40’’ over the favourites’ group. At the exit, van der Poel was accompanied by Guillaume Boivin, Sonny Colbrelli and Jorgenson while van Aert was timed 20’’ behind them. The Belgian national champion came across before the Pont Gibus. 83km before the end, Vermeersch and Eekhoff were reeled in by the 11 first chasers.
Moscon goes solo with 52km to go
Vermeersch, Sweeny, Van der Sande, Roosen, Van Hooydonck, Van Asbroek, Philipsen, Van Avermaet, Bisseger, Moscon, Siskevicius, Eekhoff, and Walscheid formed a front group that split with 75km to go. Van der Poel attacked on the cobbled sector 15 with 70km yet to be covered. Vermeersch, Van Asbroek and Moscon rode away 63km before the end. Moscon went solo on the sector 12 with 52km to go. He had 1’ lead over van der Poel, Boivin and Colbrelli at the 50km to go mark. Moscon was flying on the 5-stars iconic sector of Mons-en-Pévèle despite the mud remaining after the weather conditions became sunny. He had 1’20’’ lead over van der Poel, Vermeersch, Boivin, Van Asbroek and Colbrelli when he sustained a flat tyre with 29km to go. The Italian crashed on the cobbled sector 7. His advantage got reduced to 9’’ but went up again. Moscon got reeled in on the Carrefour de l’Arbre by a trio of neophytes: van der Poel, Colbrelli and Vermeersch who kept going without him. Moscon got caught by the van Aert group within 5km to go while the leading trio was out of reach. Van der Poel entered the velodrome in first position. Vermeersch launched the sprint after the first passage on the line. Colbrelli sprinted in the middle of the road to beat his two companions by a very little margin.