Before the first cobbled section appeared in northern France, some riders had already fallen, and it rained on the very slippery roads between beet fields. Van der Poel made an impression on his Paris-Roubaix debut. He kept the pace high in pursuit of two top riders: Dutchman Nils Eckhoff and Belgian Florian Vermeersch.
Early printing by van der Paul
Early stalkers, including Jasper Philipsen, Greg van Avermaet and Dutch champion Timo Rosen, joined the top runners after Boss van Waller. Van der Poel increased the speed and closed the gap with the pursuit group into which Colbrelli slipped.
Moscone, the unlucky one
52 kilometers from the finish, Gianni Moscone started on his own. His presentation on Mons-en-Pévèle grew to less than a minute and a half. Italy’s Ineos suffered a puncture in his tire. Then it went down as well, making the difference even smaller. When Colbrelli accelerated, Moscon was released.
Vermeersch, the surprise
Three men remained at the front who rode together to the Rubiks track. Colbrelli, Van der Poel and Vermeersch, the surprise 22-year-old for this edition of Hell of the North. Vermeersch tried to jump away, but was brought back by Colbrelli. Van der Poel took the lead on the racetrack. Vermeersch started the sprint on the left side of the road. Colbrelli managed to get past him. Van der Poel came third behind the dark horse Vermeersch.
Right after the final race, Colbrelli burst into tears. The 31-year-old Bahrain-Victorious rider won his first Grand Classic, on his debut at Paris-Roubaix. Van der Poel was completely empty and needed a few minutes to recover.
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