Van Baarle seals first Roubaix victory for Ineos Grenadiers
April 17 th 2022 - 17:24
Ineos Grenadiers triumphed today at Paris-Roubaix after completing an excellent team race that was sealed by its Classics leader Dylan van Baarle with an impressive solo effort.
The Dutchman launched his winning move with 19 kilometres to go, at the Camphin-en-Pévèle cobbled sector, overpowering his breakaway companions Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Tom Devriendt (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl). Second and third into the finish line came Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), who rode the whole day on the back foot after Ineos had split the race before the cobbles were even in sight.
The frantic racing favored an incredible average speed of 45,8 km/h in what turned out to be the fastest-ever edition of Paris-Roubaix – and the maiden victory for Ineos Grenadiers (and its previous incarnation, Team Sky) at the Hell of the North.
169 riders took the start on the 119th edition of Paris-Roubaix at 11:15, off to ride 257,2 kilometres between Compiègne and the Vélodrome André Pétrieux in Roubaix. It was a hectic start, with no less than 48,8 kilometres covered in the first hour of racing, during which many riders tried (and failed) to establish a breakaway. It was at kilometre 47 that the bunch got split in two groups. Ineos Grenadiers led the charge at the front, along with EF Education-EasyPost, Bora-Hansgrohe, Bahrain Victorious and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, while many favourites were caught off guard and forced to chase. Amongst them, two out of the three podium finishers from 2021, Florian Vermeersch (Lotto-Soudal) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), along with marquee riders like Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Kasper Asgreen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Alexander Kristoff (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) and Jumbo-Visma duo Christophe Laporte and Wout van Aert.
Enter the cobbles
The gap between the two groups reached 1’15” after 60 kilometres of racing, and was held around that mark until the first cobbled sector, 36 kilometres later. With cobbles came chaos: Pedersen and Asgreen crashed behind right before sector 30 (Troisvilles to Inchy, km 96,3), while at the front it was Ineos Grenadiers’ Filippo Ganna who punctured at sector 29 (Viesly to Quiévy, km 102,8), hampering his team’s efforts to dominate the race. The real carnage, though, came at sector 27 (Saint-Python, km 110,1), when a huge crash took down most of the front group, leaving Niki Terpstra (TotalEnergies) alone in the lead. The Dutchman was brought back at sector 25 (Haussy, km 123,7) by most of his former breakaway companions. The gap between the two main groups was still around one minute.
La fuga de la fuga
A courageous solo attack by Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen) at sector 24 (Saulzoir to Verchain-Maugré, km 130,6) was shut down by a puncture. Soon after, at kilometer 146, five riders broke away from the breakaway: Davide Ballerini (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Casper Pedersen (Team DSM), Tom Devriendt (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Laurent Pichon (Arkéa-Samsic). This led to disagreements that spelt the end for the initial skirmish. After a breathless 105-kilometer long chase, the first bunch was brought back by the second one at kilometer 152, just ahead of sector 20 (Haveluy to Wallers, km 153,7).
A favorites group is established
The Trouée d'Arenberg (km 161,9 - 2,3 km), cobbled sector number 19, took its toll on Ballerini and Pedersen, who got dropped from the front group as the gap for Mohoric, Devriendt and Pichon increased beyond the two minutes. Only 50 riders survived in the main bunch at sector 14 (Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies, km 192). Into sector 13 (Orchies, km 197), Jumbo-Visma’s Nathan Van Hooydonck sped things up with his leader Wout van Aert on his wheel. Out of this move came the 12-strong favorites group that would play out for victory along with the three cyclists who were up the road. The favorites group contained: Mathieu van der Poel, Guillaume van Keirsbulck (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Ben Turner, Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Adrien Petit, Taco Van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates).
Impressive display of resilience by Matej Mohoric
At sector 12 (Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée, km 203,1), an acceleration by Van Baarle took Trentin, Van der Hoorn and Van Keirsbulck out of contention. Into sector 11 (Mons-en-Pévèle, km 208,6), Pichon got dropped from the break due to a puncture and Sénéchal lost contact to the favorites group. Right out of sector 9 (Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin, km 218), Mohoric suffered a puncture and left Devriendt alone in the lead. After many attacks, Mohoric broke clear from the favorites again, along with Lampaert, with 29 kilometers to go. Behind, Van Baarle gradually brought himself back to their wheel. The three, along with Devriendt, conformed a 4-strong group at the head of the race, while Van Aert and Küng undertook a duo chase behind.
The moment the race was won
Van Baarle waited until sector 5 (Camphin-en-Pévèle, km 237,3) to launch what would become his winning move. Mohoric and Lampaert initially tried to counter, but failed to regain his wheel. Furthermore, the Belgian crashed at sector 2 (Willems to Hem, km 249) after touching a spectator and losing his balance. Meanwhile, Mohoric was caught by Van Aert, Küng and Devriendt, who had managed to keep up with the pace of both powerhouses. On the velodrome, they sprinted for the remaining places of the podium. The main one was Van Baarle’s, and Ineos Grenadiers’, by his and their own right.