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The fourth monument is a fact: Philippe Gilbert makes the opposition in exciting Paris-Roubaix

And just at the moment that Belgium is the spring without a victory seemed to be close, there is Philippe Gilbert. The 36-year-old Waal knocked on the Velodrome of Roubaix, the German Nils Politt after a haunting Paris-Roubaix. Gilbert, this has finalized the great teamwork of Deceuninck – Quick Step once more in a fabulous way. In the finals were Peter Sagan and pechvogel Wout van Aert – materiaalpech in the Forest and in the chase – expertly completed. Also Sep Vanmarcke rode a remarkable final and was handsome fourth.

It was cold and windy in the imperial Compiègne, when about 11 hours 175 riders on the path were sent for the 117th edition of Paris – Roubaix. The last chance for a lot of compatriots to their spring to adorn with a victory. Van Avermaet, Naesen, Van Aert and certainly Yves Lampaert. A lot of Belgians so with a chance of profit but with no pronounced favorite announced the development of the race is very unpredictable.

Of the start tried a lot of teams a male form in the classic early flight. The headwind made sure that a lot of attempts early in the bud were smothered. So why Mads Pedersen and Marco Marcato, a dozen kilometers before the peloton, without success. A moment later, was an attempt of Jürgen Roelandts had a similar fate awaited. It took almost a hundred miles before a large group – in two times to come – only lead. Among them eight compatriots: Yves Lampaert, Bert Van Lerberghe, Michael Van Staeyen, Kris Boeckmans, Frederik Frison, Frederik Backaert, Tim De Clercq and Edward Theuns. With Nils Politt and Matteo Trentin in the enlarged group and the first kasseistrook in the prospect, it was clear that the leaders do not much lead would get.

The first kasseistrook in Troisvilles was by the leaders reached with a small fifty seconds ahead. Sky and Bora menden the peloton, the front fell among others Boeckmans, Van Staeyen and Trentin away as a result of materiaalpech. In the peloton, mainly Alexander Kristoff bad luck with two flat tyres, Greipel rode a first time leak. In the meantime, passed the riders on the monument in honor of Michael Goolaerts, died last year during Paris-Roubaix as a result of a heart failure.

Forest of Wallers

In at lightning speed went to the forest of Wallers. Without Iljo Keisse, the victim of a serious crash and also Oliver Naesen had to be surprised by a break in the peloton. But especially Alexander Kristoff was the biggest victim of the first skirmishes in the direction of the Forest.

The peloton was still for the pay of the Forest is reduced to a eighty riders. You win never be Paris-Roubaix for the Forest of Wallers but you might like the contest losses, which turned out to be. Oliver Naesen and Greg Van Avermaet were ideally deposited, also the Pull was still well represented in the front of the pack.

Greg Van Avermaet turned first to the cobblestones of the Forest. Better could not be for the ex-winner of The Helleklassieker. Wout van Aert knew when the first car breaks down on the most infamous strip, the front conducted a reborn Stijn Vandenbergh the forcing. The East-Flemish are left first to the cobblestones, Wout van Aert had a great half a minute to allow. Annoying but certainly not hopeless given the size of the first platoon. One kilometerstrook further, it was Van Aert already returned, although the bike of Pascal Eenkhoorn. Next victim: Tiesj Benoot. The Drongenaar had need of assistance, but could place in the first peloton to keep. Also Of Aert decided reservefiets to take and had to re in the chase. In his arrogance to return moved Of Aert down. Could this still good?

Front caused AG2R sure that the pace never really caused havoc, but it was Van Aert what few are still expected: the Kempenaar turned on his own back in the peloton, without the aid of his two remaining Jumbo team mates.

With the exception of Aert remained the favorites provisionally out of the picture. Everyone seemed to hide in the belly of the depleted peloton, waiting for the next decisive strips and hoping for a safe passage on the cobblestones. Strip 15 was for Yves Lampaert the place for a first time nose to the window to cross but a lot more than what strovuur, it was not. Nils Politt! The German outsider got Philippe Gilbert, Rudiger Selig was the guard dog of BORA hansgrohe. Front no picture of Tiesj Benoot. The leader of Lotto-Soudal was the victim of one of the many falls that the journey through Hell features: he rode in full on the truck, Jumbo-Visma and was taken to the hospital disposed of.

Behind the trio tried the teammates of Gilbert de vaart out. Gilbert – already winner of the Tour of Flanders, liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy – keeps dreaming of earnings in the five Monuments and the Paris-Roubaix course. But his strive for five was also the competition has not gone unnoticed. In the pack was dealt with, among others, by… Wout van Aert. Sagan recognized the danger, at the wheel followed by Yves Lampaert and Sep Vanmarcke. AG2R missed the battle, Stijn Vandenbergh went again to the lead of the peloton. Sagan and Van Aert turned the throttle open, in the pack was the gear of Pull and AG2R. War on all fronts, the vijfsterrenstrook of Mons-en-Pévèle was in the offing, Paris-Roubaix at its best. The front had Politt the role unloading at Gilbert, in the first chasing group was Yves Lampaert in a seat. Van Avermaet, Naesen and the duo Degenkolb-Stuyven had for the time being, let them surprise.

Mons-en-Pévèle

Gilbert was taken just before the wind the strip of Mons-en-Pévèle, the pursuers followed at a half of a minute. In front were the French Laporte and Sarreau from the wheels driven. So we got six leaders, along with four compatriots and two riders from Deceuninck – Quick Step. Would Patrick Lefevere for the thirteenth time as a team manager to prevail on the piste of Roubaix?

Van Avermaet tried the counter-attack in motion, but his counter-attack was immediately countered by an alert Zdenek Stybar. The front remained the six work well together, making the gap quickly increased to one minute. FdJeux and AG2R – for Démare and Naesen – tried to back the pace to keep up.

The numerical majority was for Deceuninck – Quick Step but with Peter Sagan on board could Lampaert and Gilbert is not a sprint, let arrive. The latest heavy-duty strip – the famous Carrefour de l’arbre – was the perfect place to enjoy the Slovakian defending champion to get.

Gilbert tried first numeric government from outside but he got Sagan and Politt. Suddenly the front yet, but one Belgian against the two foreigners. Lampaert jumped behind the back of van Aert road. Vanmarcke responded, for a battle-weary Wout van Aert was the effort too much.

Carrefour de l’arbre

In the frame of the famous Carrefour came Vanmarcke and Lampaert again at the front to connect. Lampaert took resolutely the lead but it was Gilbert who yet again accelerated. Sagan responded, Vanmarcke and Politt locks, for Lampaert seemed the contest is over. Surprisingly enough, it was the Politt that accelerated, again Gilbert responded today. Suddenly it seemed to peter Sagan the light to go out.

This could not go wrong for Philippe Gilbert. The Waal was with the German Politt, only one victory till now, to the track in Roubaix drive. The 25-year-old German of Katusha came on the road already a few times in the problems and spurt usually an iron. And Politt was already more than satisfied with a podium finish on the side of the German, which the full pound continued to give. Again, this could not go wrong for Philippe Gilbert.

Behind the duo was the towel thrown, especially when Sep Vanmarcke still bike to change. An exhausted Sagan even had Lampaert let it ride. The national champion got a free road to his first podium finish in a was world champion. The West-Flemish people put all on all to get back to the front to close

Doubt? A sprint after 250km is always for some musings, but this could not go wrong for the ex-world champion. Gilbert kept his head cool and took the sprint easily the size of Politt.

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