Record 5,300 riders complete Gran Fondo as Mat Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge) wins Paris Roubaix
April 9th France/Belgium - A day ahead of the Pro Race riders from all over the world, descended north of Paris to tackle the Paris Roubaix Gran Fondo. Paris–Roubaix is one of cycling's oldest classics races.
Rides tackled 27 cobbled sectors as they battled north towards Belgium and the Roubaix Velodrome. The week before saw the mayor of Inchy ensure the mud on the Troisville sector of Paris-Roubaix was removed to ensure the race wasn't diverted.
Although it didn't rain, the ground was still wet and slippery making conditions for amateur riders very difficult.
David Pickler commented "It was slippery as hell today during the challenge, lots of fallers and some getting on the footpath, an option the pros won't have tomorrow".
James Ashworth comments "Lowest section was pretty much unrideable today. I went over as did many others. No bitching though - when you enter Paris-Roubaix, you know what you're getting yourself in for!"
The Arenberg was every bit as fierce and unrelenting as one imagined. Along with the Carrefour de l'Arbre and a couple of others, it was one of the 'timed segments' within the event.
David Foster explained "It's hard to explain just how bad the surface is in the Arenberg. Attempting to steer the bike becomes almost pointless; it's just a case of guiding the bars gently, pedalling like hell and hoping you keep going in a vaguely straight direction. Even judging this became pretty difficult though, as my eyes was rattling around in their sockets to the extent where I couldn't really see. People were crashing everywhere"
Mat Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge) Wins 2016 Paris Roubaix
It was an epic day for the professionals with crashes and bad luck for some of the favourites including Sagan and Cancellara. With 86km to go the lead group had 1 minute on the group containing the favourite Tom Boonen, and 2 minutes on the group containing Sagan and Cancellara.
With 66km to go, the Boonen group was only 30 seconds off the lead group which they pulled back. Sagan and Cancellara attacked their own group and trailed the lead group by 34 seconds.
With 51km to go, a wet corner brought down Moscon. Stannard dodged his team-mate and Rowe went down. Cancellara and Sagan were forced to chase on their own while Team Sky recovered after the crash - but couldn't close the 30 second gap.
Cancellara not having a good day, couldn't catch front group, crashed and Sagan nearly went down flying through the air - only his amazing bike skills saving him!
With 27km to go Boonen showed his strength as he rode off the lead group testing his rivals.
With 18km to go Stannard split the front group, going full gas taking Boonen and a few with him.
On section 4 Carrefour de l'Arbre, Vanmarcke got a big gap - with no one helping Boonen to chase. Stannard sat on the back. Boonen had to chase.
With 14km to go, Boonen was burying himself to pull back Vanmarcke! Stannard came to the front to help bring Vanmarcke back.
With 9km to go, the leading group contained 5 riders Stannard, Boasson Hagen, Hayman, Boonen and Vanmarcke.
Hayman attacked, then Vanmarck attacked. Boonen counter attacked, was brought back and then Stannard attacked!
Boonen attacked again with 2.8km to go. Boonen buried himself.
With 1km to Boonen and Hayman were together and entered the Velodrome, only for Vanmarke, Stannard and Boasson Hagen to get back - the bell rung!
In a 5 man sprint Hayman just beat Boonen on the line.
Hayman rode smart and saved a few unburnt matches for the finale. Hayman was out recently with a fractured radius after a Omloop Het Nieuwsblad crash.
To get back on the bike and win was well deserved. Our sympathies for Boonen who just missed out on his 5th win. What a carreer!
Paris Roubaix On Bike Highlights
In one of the most exciting Paris-Roubaix races in years, Mathew Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge) sprinted to a thrilling win, with Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) second and Ian Stannard (Team Sky) third.
Velon teams carried GoPro Hero4 Session cameras onboard for the first time ever at the Queen of the Classics, capturing incredible footage from inside the peloton.
Best of Paris Roubaix