Dylan van Baarle wins Paris-Roubaix by huge margin

Dylan van Baarle wins Paris-Roubaix by huge margin

Dylan van Baarle wins Paris-Roubaix by huge margin

Credits: AFP


After winning cycling’s epic 257km Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, Dutch racer Dylan van Baarle of Ineos Grenadiers said he despised the cobbles after emerging alone from the 30 stretches of dusty, uneven old mining roads for a solo victory in bright weather.

Van Baarle crossed the finish line with his head in his hands before leaping off his bike and hoisting it in the air, yelled with delight and relief for his sixth ever top-level victory.

“Normally I hate the cobbles. Like everyone else, I prefer the tarmac. But when you win then it’s fun,” he said of the 54km of rough-hewn giant cobbles in France’s north-eastern flatlands that make this race so exceptionally challenging.

He did, however, close his eyes and kiss the colossal stone cobble presented as the winner’s trophy, relishing a career-defining moment.

Wout van Aert of Jumbo, a much-touted Belgian ace, finished second, a full minute and 47 seconds behind the winner. Stefan Kung of FDJ, a Swiss time-trial specialist, finished third.


Paris-Roubaix, dubbed “The Queen of the Classics” due to its enormous length and difficulty, is rarely won by a single breakaway winner.

Van Baarle, 29, had been threatening to win a race like this. At both the recent Tour of Flanders, another of cycling’s five one-day ‘Monuments,’ and the 2021 world championships, he came in second by a whisker.

“After the worlds I finally started to believe in myself,” explained the winner.

“But I’m lost for words, after the second at Flanders and now winning this race, its a Monument,” said van Baarle.

“I couldn’t believe it when I got the velodrome and I was completely alone.”

Only 107 competitors finished in the classified times, while 50 of the 169 starters dropped out and another 12 finished after the cutoff time.



One decade of experience

Following a joyful embrace with his rider, Ineos team principal Dave Brailsford stated that Van Baarle had used all of his knowledge to win.

“He’s earned it, he’s developed his career and that was ten years of experience all coming together for him. He’s got his moves together and he’s such a strong rider,” Brailsford said.

The man who beat Van Baarle at Flanders, Mathieu van der Poel, could only finish ninth.

“That was just relentless, nobody had it easy. I was at the back when Ineos made their attack. I went down fighting, but I couldn’t hold on,” he said.


Late in the race, Belgian Quick Step rider Yves Lampaert hit a spectator who leaned too much into the road, causing the wounded cyclist to drive violently across the road and hit a second spectator in a severe fall before rallying to tenth place.

When Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric could no longer hold on, the winner ditched his last companion on the toughest cobbled part of the final stages.

This is the first victory for Ineos Grenadiers in this race.

“Cycling has changed in recent years, and even though all the attacks started early, I still felt good after 250km,” van Baarle said.

Two of his Ineos colleagues recently won classics: Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland won the Amstel Gold, while Magnus Sheffield of the United States won the Brabantse Pijl.

Last year’s covid-delayed mud-splattered race, which ran through an October deluge, was a dazzling green in the sunshine on Sunday, in stark contrast to this year’s covid-delayed mud-splattered event, run through an October monsoon.


Van Baarle took 5hrs 37mins to finish the 257km course in bone-dry weather with a record-setting average speed of 45.7kmh as riders were able to avoid the bumpy cobbles by racing on the dirt verges.

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