Mathieu Van der Poel, the history-maker

April 7 th 2024 - 17:16

Alpecin-Deceuninck’s Mathieu Van der Poel delivered a masterpiece in the 2024 Paris-Roubaix, pulling off a long-range solo attack and a number of records that now belong in history. Following his Tour de Flanders victory last Sunday, he becomes the 10th-ever rider to win the cobbled Monument double, and the second-ever to achieve it while wearing the rainbow jersey after Rik van Looy in 1962. His 60-kilometre solo ride to the Vélodrome André Pétrieux becomes the longest winning move in the 21st century, while his 3’00” winning margin is the largest in the last 20 editions of the race. His teammate Jasper Philipsen crossed the finish line 2nd, re-enacting the one-two that Alpecin-Deceuninck already sealed in 2023, with Lidl-Trek’s Mads Pedersen rounding out the podium.

Extended Highlights - Paris-Roubaix 2024

172 riders took the start on the 121st edition of Paris-Roubaix at 11:26, off to ride 259,7 kilometres between Compiègne and the Vélodrome André Pétrieux in Roubaix with 29 cobbled sectors to be covered. 2022 winner Dylan van Baarle (Visma | Lease a Bike) was a last-minute withdrawal, and so were UAE Team Emirates’ Michael Vink and Astana Qazaqstan’s Michael Mørkøv. It took ‘only’ 22 kilometres for Per Strand Hagenes (Visma | Lease a Bike), Rasmus Tiller (Uno X Mobility), Kasper Asgreen (Soudal-Quick Step), Marco Haller (Bora-Hansgrohe), Liam Slock (Lotto-dstny), Gleb Syritsa (Astana Qazaqstan) and Kamil Malecki (Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team) to go clear. Shortly after, Dusan Rajovic (Bahrain Victorius) and Dries de Bondt (Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale) also took off in a bid to join the breakaway that was only successful 80 kilometres into the race. A big crash at kilometer 37 meant the end of the race for Lidl-Trek’s Jonathan Milan and Ineos Grenadiers’ Elia Viviani, affecting as well the likes of UAE Team Emirates’ Nils Politt, EF’s Alberto Bettiol and Intermarché’s Laurenz Rex amongst others.

Alpecin-Deceuninck kept the race on a tight leash
54,1 kilometres were covered in the first hour of racing as the riders benefited from remarkable tailwinds. The maximum gap for the break was clocked at 1’40”, 76 kilometres into the race, over a peloton led by Lidl-Trek and Alpecin-Deceuninck. The cobbles started with Sector 29, Troisvilles to Inchy (km 96 - 2,2 km) ***, upon which the break only had 1’25” on a pack that was blown the pieces by Alpecin-Deceuninck’s steady tempo on the pavé. The breakaway was eventually reeled in 120 kilometres into the race by a 40-strong group with Mathieu Van der Poel’s teammates at the helm. Meanwhile, podium contenders such as Visma’s Christophe Laporte, Soudal’s Yves Lampaert, Arkéa’s Luca Mozzato or Movistar’s Oier Lazkano and Iván García Cortina were dropped for good. Josuha Tarling’s race came to an end at sector 24 from Capelle to Ruesnes (km 129,3 - 1,7 km) *** as the race jury disqualified him for holding onto the Ineos Grenadiers’ team car following a puncture.

First attack by Van der Poel in the Arenberg Forest
Lidl-Trek’s Mads Pedersen led the front group into the Trouée d'Arenberg (km 164,4 - 2,3 km) *****, where Mathieu Van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) launched a powerful acceleration. Only his teammate Jasper Philipsen, Mick van Dijke (Visma | Lease a Bike) and the aforementioned Pedersen could keep up with his effort, that was frustrated just out of the cobbles when Philipsen punctured. The front group reformed, and three riders rose to the occasion to establish a new breakaway out of Sector 18 from Wallers to Hélesmes (km 167.4 — 1.6 km) ***: Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Nils Politt (UAE Team Emirates) and Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceuninck). The latter did not cooperate as he was protecting the chances of his leader, and the move was shut down by Lidl-Trek with 68 kilometres to go.

The rainbow jersey powered away 60 kilometres from the finish
Vermeersch led the front group into sector 13, Orchies (km 199,5 - 1,7 km) ***, where Van der Poel attacked with 60 kilometres to go to power solo up the road. No one could match his acceleration and the Dutch rider quickly built a sizable gap, clocked at 3’00” with 10 kilometers to go, and therefore defended successfully his 2023 victory. Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek), Nils Politt (UAE Team Emirates), Stefan Küng, Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ) and Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) went clear from the chasing group during the Mons-en-Pévèle (km 211,1 - 3 km) ***** cobbled sector, fighting for the two remaining podium spots. Pithie crashed out of contention with 30 kilometers to go, while Küng got dropped in Gruson (km 244,8 - 1,1 km) **. In the three-up sprint that settled things down between the chasers at the Vélodrome, Philipsen took the best of Pedersen and Politt.

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