Dylan van Baarle of Ineos Grenadiers has won a pulsating edition of Paris-Roubaix, becoming the first rider from his team, including in its previous incarnation as Team Sky, to win the Hell of the North.
The 29 year old is the first rider from the Netherlands to win the cobbled classic since Niki Terpstra did so in 2014 – the previous winner from the Netherlands being Ineos Grenadiers sports director, Servais Knaven, who did so back in 2001.
Van Baarle's victory came at the end of what has been the fastest ever edition of the race, with an average speed of 46kph.
Ineos were prominent in the early stages with the whole team, including first-year professional Ben Turner and time trial World Champion Fillippo Ganna making the front split.
Wout van Aert – who today had little in the way of luck, a mechanical problem ahead of the key Arenberg sector followed by a puncture – led home van Baarle’s closest pursuers, 1 minute 47 seconds down, clinching the runners-up spot from Groupama-FDJ’s Stefan Jung, who finished third.
“It’s unbelievable,” van Baarle said after his victory. “I couldn’t believe it when I went on to the velodrome. I looked at the other side to see if there were some other guys but I was completely alone. When the DS car came next to me with Servais then I really started believing in it. It’s been crazy.
“It’s a Monument so of course I want to win a Monument. To be second in Flanders and winning Roubaix – I’m lost for words.”
The race broke up early with Ineos Grenadiers among the teams forcing the pace, but van Baarle said that tactic “was not planned at all but it turned out like this.
“We were super focussed from the gun. And that’s what we wanted – we didn’t want to chase. We wanted to be on the front foot and that’s what we did.
“From that moment I knew that we would have a good chance because we spent less energy than everyone else.
“We were a bit unlucky – I had a puncture, Pippo [Filippo Ganna] had a puncture, I think everyone had something. We just kept calm and this result is amazing.
“We wanted to make the race hard before the second feed zone. That’s what we did.
“After that Kwiato “Michal Kwiatkowski] said I was super strong and he wanted to ride for me.
“It gave me so much confidence and I can’t thank the team enough for today. It’s been a great spring classic season so far. We’re going to enjoy this.
“We have worked so hard for it. In the last couple of years we had some bad luck but now everything is just going in the right direction. The whole team is lifting off that and it’s been amazing,” he added.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.