Dutchman Dylan van Baarle triumphs over the Hell of the North

Dutchman Dylan van Baarle won the 119th edition of Paris-Roubaix on Sunday after an attack 19 kilometers from the finish.

A first for the richest team in the peloton: Dutchman Dylan van Baarle won Paris-Roubaix on Sunday and gave Ineos its first victory in the queen of the classics run at a record pace. In a race led drum beating under the sun, at nearly 46 km / h, van Baarle was rewarded. Two weeks after his second place in the Tour of Flanders, he dominated the favorites, the Belgian champion Wout van Aert (2nd) and the Swiss Stefan Küng (3rd), resigned to vying for second place at 1 min 47 sec.

Contrary to forecasts, it was not Mathieu van der Poel (9th) who signed the seventh Dutch victory in history but van Baarle, a solid 29-year-old rider awaiting consecration. Last year, the solid roller won the silver medal at the World Cup behind Julian Alaphilippe. As soon as the line was crossed in the old Roubais velodrome, the Dutchman fell into the arms of his team boss Dave Brailsford. Since 2010, the British formation (formerly Sky), the richest in the peloton, had failed on the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix despite an attempt by its leader Bradley Wiggins at the twilight of his career.

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The Mohoric Threat

The result rewarded the attacking spirit of his men, who attacked 210 kilometers from the finish, well before the first cobblestones of Troisvilles, and forced the teams of van der Poel and Küng to chase 105 kilometers . “It was not planned to attack this far,” corrected van Baarle after the finish. “It happened like that, we were focused, we just ran”. Up front, the main threat, since van Aert had to change bikes several times, ultimately came from Matej Mohoric. The Slovenian, winner of Milan-Sanremo, went on the attack well before the Trouée d’Arenberg. He started again, with the Belgian Yves Lampaert, at the start of the last 30 kilometers before van Baarle, who started on the counterattack, returned to the lead of the race.

After an exhausting and breathless race, van Baarle struck the decisive blow on the (bad) cobblestones of Camphin-en-Pévèle, a sector classified 4 stars on a scale of difficulty from 1 to 5, 19 kilometers from the ‘arrival. Behind him, Mohoric ended up dropping the flag and Lampaert, the last representative of a Quick-Step team chasing after its past glory, suffered a spectacular fall after hitting the arm of a spectator. “We wanted to make the race very difficult and I felt very good,” said van Baarle, whose parents were national champions on the track. With a background in BMX, the Dutchman has the reputation of being a workaholic, essential in the classics and very useful to his leaders who have often played for victory in the big tours.

“We had a great campaign of classics,” added the winner of the day. In eight days, his squad won the Amstel Gold Race (Michal Kwiatkowski), the Brabant Arrow (Magnus Sheffield) and Paris-Roubaix in quick succession. The sign, with the revelation of the very active Briton Ben Turner (11th), of a reorientation of the team once dominant in the big rounds but now faced with the rise of the UAE of Tadej Pogacar and the Jumbo of Primoz Roglic. If van der Poel was behind (“it was difficult for everyone”, he admitted), van Aert signed his best place in four participations. “It was a classic Paris-Roubaix, everyone had their share of luck and bad luck, that’s also what makes the beauty of this race”, concluded the Belgian champion.

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