Fabian Cancellara wins Paris-Roubaix 2013

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) pulled off a thrilling performance to win the 2013 Paris-Roubaix in a dramatic sprint finish with Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco). Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma QuickStep) sealed the final place on the podium.

Cancellara and Vanmarcke pulled clear on the Carrefour de l'Arbre pave when Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma QuickStep) and then his teammate Zdenek Stybar crashed into spectators. But for one last ditch attack from Cancellara in the closing five kilometres, the leading duo shared the pace setting all the way to the Roubaix velodrome.

Vanmarcke led out, but Cancellara simply had more in the tank and had enough to win his third Roubaix title and his second Flanders and Roubaix double of his career.

“I was in another world of riding! I still don’t know how I did it. I was dropped and pretty far back but then I started to move up. This is a race you can never give up on until the end. I had to play with him in the end because I tried to go away but he followed so then I knew it was man against man. I’m happy for the team and for me. Now I look forward to rest and a holiday. Mission accomplished,” Cancellara said.

The foundations for Cancellara's win were built on solid work from his teammates, who controlled the race in the opening 200 kilometres, never allowing a break to gain more than two minutes and then shepherding their leader towards the front on the Auchy-lez-Orchies - Bersée sector of pave.

It was clear from as early as last weekend's Flanders triumph that Cancellara would be the marked man, but he took the race by the scruff of the neck and although his surge forward in Orchies didn't win him the race, it drew out his main challengers. Thor Hushovd, Taylor Phinney and Edvald Boasson Hagen were the first to fall by the wayside but those that remained played their cards, and allowed Cancellara both a brief respite and opportunity to see would match him.

By the end of the 11th sector, only Cancellara, the Omega Pharma-Quickstep trio Nikki Terpstra, Zdenek Stybar and Vandenbergh, Europcar duo Sébastien Turgot, Damien Gaudin, Blanco duo Sep Vanmarcke and Lars Boom and also Sebastiaan Langeveld, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Bernard Eisel (Sky), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Luca Paolini (Katusha) remained in contention.

In front, Langeveld and Vanmarcke anticipated the next pavé stretch where Vandenbergh and Gaudin impressed as they rode away from the rest of the group. Behind the four leaders, a poker game unfolded. The result was that four more riders rode away from the Cancellara group. When exiting sector 7, the eight leaders were Langeveld, Vanmarcke, Gaudin, Vandenbergh, Stybar, Van Avermaet, Flecha and Paolini.

On the roads towards sector 6, Cancellara closed to the eight leaders on his own, by far his most impressive feat in the race. Having dropped back to his team car and dragging Boom, Terpstra and Eisel with him, he quickly realised he had isolated three major threats. Within a flash, he had left them for dust and was soon back with the Flecha group.

Riders battle their way over the fearsome paris-roubaix cobbles: riders battle their way over the fearsome paris-roubaix cobbles

The peloton on one of the numerous cobbled sectors

Meanwhile Vandenbergh and Vanmarcke didn't wait for Spartacus and snuck off the front. When reaching sector 6, Cancellara and also Terpstra joined the chase group, half a minute behind the two Belgian leaders. On the same section where Cancellara crashed during the reconnaissance, the second part of sector 6, the cobbles of Bourghelles à Wannehain, the Swiss rider accelerated. Only Stybar was able to keep up with Spartacus.

While Cancellara time trialed towards the two leaders on the wide roads after the cobbles, Stybar tried to hold his wheel. Just before reaching sectors 5 and 4 there were four leaders in the race: Cancellara, Vanmarcke and teammates Vandenbergh and Stybar. Chasers Flecha, Langeveld, Terpstra, Van Avermaet and Gaudin were half a minute down on the leaders. A large group with Boom, Eisel, Paolini, Kristoff, Leukemans and others were further behind.

Vandenbergh was already losing contact on the cobbles of the Carrefour de l'Arbre when he clipped a spectator and fell in the early phase of the sector, leaving Stybar with the difficult job of marking both Cancellara and Vanmarcke.

The former cyclo-cross star looked comfortable on the cobbles though, but when he also rode into a fan, there was no way back.

Bright skies for Compiègne start

In contrast to the massive crowds in Bruges last week, the start in Compiègne was much more low-key. Teams were still rolling in toward the Place Charles de Gaulle in front of the Compiègne castle less than an hour before the start of the race. While temperatures dived under freezing point early in the morning, the sun did enough to persuade riders to wear short-sleeved kits once the race got underway at 10:20 am.

The pace was high right from the start with many teams trying to get a rider in the breakaway group. Thirteen riders managed to get a gap after 17km of racing, but the sizeable group didn't receive the ok from the peloton. The outcome was a blistering fast first hour of racing, averaging just under 50km per hour. The group was caught, and several more attempts fell short.

Upon hitting the first pavé sectors after 100km of racing, the peloton was back together. On the second cobbled stretch of the day, there was a crash which quickly reduced the peloton and hindered men like Stijn Devolder and Ian Stannard. In front, four riders finally managed to get away. Former winner Stuart O'Grady (Orica-Greenedge) was joined by Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Matthew Hayman (Sky) and Clément Koretzky (Bretagne-Seche Environnement). The four got away in sector 22, at 124km from the finish. Behind them, André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) tried to bridge up but the German sprinter fell short. At the back of the peloton, Yoann Offredo (FDJ) crashed out of the race when he didn't notice a traffic island.

The four leaders built up a lead of more than two minutes over the peloton where Team Saxo-Tinkoff set the pace for their leader Matti Breschel when heading towards the famous Wallers-Arenberg forest. Steegmans led the breakaway into the Trouée Arenberg with a gap of 1:30 on the peloton. Thanks to the efforts from Taylor Phinney (BMC), John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) and Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) that gap was brought down to 40 seconds once out of the 2400m long pavé sector. In contrast to previous years, there were barely no crashes in this zone.

The four leaders struggled to hold off the peloton which at sector 17 closed in to touching distance. Nevertheless they reached sector 16 with a 30-second bonus. At that point Steegmans and Hayman left their companions behind. At the same time, Michael Schär (BMC) launched a solo move to join the leaders. In the peloton, outsiders like Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida), Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ) and Geraint Thomas (Sky) were affected by a crash while BMC's leader Thor Hushovd (BMC) flatted.

After 185km of racing and with 69km left to cover, the riders reached the second feed zone. The duo forced Schär to work hard and long but 20km after his initial acceleration, he finally joined the two leaders. A little later, Damien Gaudin (Europcar) bridged up with the leaders, who were riding only half a minute ahead of the reduced peloton.

Sector 11 was the first one where Cancellara moved to the front and from there the pace never dropped. By the time the race reached sector 10, the famous Mons-en-Pévèle the leaders were caught.


Fabian Cancellara hoists his third Paris-Roubaix cobblestone trophy above his head
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Former Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp) flatted while his compatriot Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) impressed in front. No more than 13 riders survived the selection of this sector. They were top favourite Cancellara, Terpstra, Stybar, Vandenbergh, Turgot, Gaudin, Vanmarcke, Boom, Langeveld, Van Avermaet, Eisel, Flecha and Paolini. A little later, Turgot dropped out of the lead group with a flat tyre and Cancellara moved into position.

“It’s amazing having a third victory. When I see how in this race everyone was against our team, against me, I just had to do a selection. The team came into a little bit of difficulty because we lost a few guys because of bad luck. But that’s Roubaix. It’s always nice to win alone but today there was pure fighting until the very end. I could not believe it when I crossed the finish line. My legs and my head wanted to bring me here,” Cancellara said.

1     Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard     5:45:33     
2     Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team           
3     Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team     0:00:31     
4     Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team           
5     Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar           
6     Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team     0:00:39     
7     Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge           
8     Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team           
9     Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha     0:00:50     
10     Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar           
11     Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling           
12     Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling           
13     Maarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team           
14     Lars Boom (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team           
15     Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff           
16     Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team           
17     Steve Chainel (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale           
18     Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team           
19     Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team           
20     Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team           
21     Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha     0:01:00     
22     Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida     0:02:52     
23     Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team     0:03:13     
24     Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol           
25     Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano           
26     Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ     0:03:17     
27     Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale           
28     John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano     0:03:29     
29     Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits           
30     Robert Wagner (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling Team           
31     Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team           
32     Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling           
33     Roger Kluge (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura           
34     Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team           
35     Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team           
36     Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano           
37     Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team           
38     Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team           
39     Marco Bandiera (Ita) IAM Cycling           
40     Gael Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement           
41     Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling           
42     Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling           
43     Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol           
44     Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano           
45     Sébastien Minard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale           
46     Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge           
47     Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling           
48     Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar           
49     Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha     0:03:32     
50     Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp           
51     Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling           
52     Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling           
53     Hayden Roulston (NZl) RadioShack Leopard     0:06:07     
54     Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard     0:06:11     
55     Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team           
56     Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling           
57     Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team           
58     Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp     0:08:37     
59     Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team     0:10:27     
60     Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi           
61     Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2R La Mondiale           
62     Florent Barle (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits           
63     José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team           
64     Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha           
65     Pierre-Luc Perrichon (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement           
66     Jos Van Emden (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team           
67     Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha           
68     André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol           
69     Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits           
70     Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp           
71     Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team           
72     William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ     0:10:30     
73     Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Sharp     0:13:16     
74     Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team     0:13:42     
75     Clément Koretzky (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement           
76     Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team     0:14:34     
77     Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun           
78     Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano           
79     Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling           
80     Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack Leopard           
81     Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team           
82     Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team           
83     Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale Pro Cycling           
84     Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard           
85     Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement           
86     Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack Leopard     0:14:38     
87     Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff           
88     Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar           
89     Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida           
90     Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ     0:14:40     
91     Wesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team           
92     Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff           
93     Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) Bretagne-Seche Environnement           
94     Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff           
95     Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura     0:19:12     
96     Stuart O'grady (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge     0:20:37     
97     Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Sky Procycling           
98     Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff           
99     Ricardo Garcia Ambroa (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi           
100     Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Sojasun           
101     Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack Leopard           
102     Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) Ag2R La Mondiale           
103     Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff     0:25:31     
104     Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Cannondale Pro Cycling           
105     Marko Kump (Slo) Team Saxo-Tinkoff           
106     Dominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling           
107     Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura           
108     Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp-Endura           
109     Luke Rowe (GBr) Sky Procycling     0:26:16     
110     Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge           
111     Edward King (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling           
112     William Clarke (Aus) Team Argos-Shimano           
113     Arman Kamyshev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team           
114     Jetse Bol (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team           
115     Russell Downing (GBr) Team NetApp-Endura           
116     Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team           
117     Morgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar           
118     Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff           
HD     Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano     0:43:59     
DNF     Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team           
DNF     Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar           
DNF     Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar           
DNF     David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar           
DNF     Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack Leopard           
DNF     Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team           
DNF     Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team           
DNF     Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team           
DNF     Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling           
DNF     Rick Flens (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team           
DNF     Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha           
DNF     Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha           
DNF     Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha           
DNF     Andreas Klier (Ger) Garmin-Sharp           
DNF     Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp           
DNF     Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Sharp           
DNF     Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp           
DNF     Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ           
DNF     David Boucher (Fra) FDJ           
DNF     Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ           
DNF     Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ           
DNF     Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ           
DNF     Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol           
DNF     Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol           
DNF     Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol           
DNF     Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol           
DNF     Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto Belisol           
DNF     Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team           
DNF     Evan Huffman (USA) Astana Pro Team           
DNF     Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team           
DNF     Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Orica-GreenEdge           
DNF     Baden Cooke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge           
DNF     Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge           
DNF     Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge           
DNF     Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team           
DNF     Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team           
DNF     Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team           
DNF     Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida           
DNF     Massimo Graziato (Ita) Lampre-Merida           
DNF     Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida           
DNF     Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida           
DNF     Davide Vigano (Ita) Lampre-Merida           
DNF     Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-Merida           
DNF     Kristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling           
DNF     Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling           
DNF     Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling           
DNF     Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano           
DNF     Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale           
DNF     Hugo Houle (Can) Ag2R La Mondiale           
DNF     Valentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Ag2R La Mondiale           
DNF     Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Sojasun           
DNF     Maxime Daniel (Fra) Sojasun           
DNF     Christophe Laborie (Fra) Sojasun           
DNF     Rony Martias (Fra) Sojasun           
DNF     Jean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Sojasun           
DNF     Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun           
DNF     Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale Pro Cycling           
DNF     Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling           
DNF     Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling           
DNF     Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits           
DNF     Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits           
DNF     Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits           
DNF     Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits           
DNF     Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits           
DNF     Markus Eichler (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura           
DNF     Blaz Jarc (Slo) Team NetApp-Endura           
DNF     Alexander Wetterhall (Swe) Team NetApp-Endura           
DNF     Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team           
DNF     Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team           
DNF     Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Movistar Team           
DNF     Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement           
DNF     Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement           
DNF     Benjamin Le Montagner (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement           
DNF     Peio Bilbao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi           
DNF     Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi           
DNF     Steffen Radochla (Ger) Euskaltel-Euskadi           
DNF     Adrian Saez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi           
DNF     André Schulze (Ger) Euskaltel-Euskadi           
DSQ     Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team