Amazing O'Grady conquers Paris-Roubaix

CSC has won Paris-Roubaix for the second year in a row after a fantastic ride by Stuart O'Grady. The

CSC has won Paris-Roubaix for the second year in a row after a fantastic ride by Stuart O'Grady. The
PIC © TIM DE WAELE Stuart O'Grady has won Paris-Roubaix thanks to an amazing ride and another brilliant tactical display by Team CSC. The man from Down Under revelled in the hot, dusty conditions today as he attacked the lead group with 25km to go. He became the first Australian to win the Hell of the North as he finished with almost a minute to spare on Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) and Steffen Wesemann (Wiesenhof). Top favourite Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) left his run too late and finished sixth. "There, it's done," O'Grady told French TV at the finish. "It's been my dream for 13 years. This is the first race I ever saw on a video back home years ago. I can't believe it!" O'Grady comes from a track racing background, and it was fitting that he celebrated his greatest win on the hallowed Roubaix velodrome. "I haven't won a race for a long time," he said. "I had told the team that I wouldn't focus on small races any more. I'm a track racer and since this finishes on a velodrome, I told myself, why not?" O'Grady got into the early escape after 30km, before being recalled by his team with around 85km to go to work for Cancellara. "I was with the early break because I wanted to give everything for Cancellara," he said. "I felt really good. But Fabian said in the finale that he wasn't so strong. Then I took my own chance." Procycling.com will be featuring an exclusive forum chat with O'Grady's team director Scott Sunderland next Tuesday, April 17. For more information, click here. From start to finish This year's Queen of the Classics was one of the warmest of the 105 editions on record. Temperatures climbed above the 25 degree mark in the afternoon, and there was only a light wind blowing from the east. But the dry conditions meant plenty of dust on the pav; there is no easy way to ride Paris-Roubaix. The field numbered 187 riders at the start in Compiegne, and everyone rolled out under blue, sunny skies shortly before 11am. As usual, there were plenty of itchy legs in the peloton as Anthony Ravard (Agritubel) and Angel Gomez (Saunier Duval) attacked in the opening kilometres. But the bunch wasn't prepared to let anything go right from the gun. The attacks continued until 32km, when a group of 34 split off the front. It was an interesting group and contained eventual winner Stuart O'Grady, along with his CSC teammates Luke Roberts and Matti Breschel, Quick.Step's Matteo Tosatto and Kevin Van Impe, Enrico Franzoi (Lampre), Bram De Groot (Rabobank), Ludovic Auger (Franaise des Jeux), Bert Grabsch, Andreas Klier, Roger Hammond (T-Mobile), Tom Steels, Greg Van Avermaet (Predictor-Lotto), Tristan Valentin (Cofidis), Ralf Grabsch (Milram), Clment L'Hotellerie, Floris Goesinnen and Fabien Bacquet (Skil-Shimano), Erki Putsep (Bouygues Telecom), Volodymyr Bileka (Discovery Channel), Roberto Petito, Frederik Willems (Liquigas), Jose Joaquin Rojas and Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne), David Kopp, Tom Stamsnijder (Gerolsteiner), Julian Dean, Jimmy Engoulvent (Crdit Agricole), Stephane Poulhies, Nicolas Rousseau (Ag2r Prevoyance), Iban Iriondo (Euskaltel), Gennady Mikhailov (Astana), Olaf Pollack and Robert Wagner (Wiesenhof), After covering 47.4km in the first hour, the break raced away to a 3'00 lead. Most of the big teams were represented in front, but most of their captains were in the main bunch. That meant the escapees were allowed to sit out in front, as long as the gap didn't get too big. They reached the first of 28 sectors of pav at Troisvilles (km 98) with some four minutes in hand, losing Roberts, Portal, Bacquet and Klier to reduce the group to 30. As the race passed over the first eight cobbled sectors, the gap grew to 5'10 at the 140km mark. The elder of the Grabsch brothers, Ralf, decided that he wanted to avoid doing the Arenberg Forest (96km to go) in a group, and attacked on his own. He opened up a 1'35 lead over his companions before the feared 2.4km cobbled trench, while the rest of the peloton chased at 4'40. By the end of the forest, Grabsch still led the break, but had sacrificed nearly two minutes of his lead over the peloton. The real fireworks were happening in the main bunch. Predictor-Lotto had pole position at the entrance to the forest, before Tom Boonen took over and led Leukemans, Hoste, Van Summeren, Siedler, Hushovd and Eeckhout to the end, with Steffen Wesemann showing good form as well. Halfway through, CSC's top man and 2006 winner Fabian Cancellara punctured, causing chaos as riders behind found nowhere to go except down. Cancellara made it back after a hard chase, but today wasn't going to be his. The peloton regrouped after the forest and the numbers came up for Predictor-Lotto. The men in salmon pink had plenty of firepower, with Van Summeren, Leukemans and Hoste all there, plus two riders in the front break. Others who made the selection included Boonen, Van Petegem and Rosseler (Quick.Step), Cancellara and Michaelsen (CSC), Pozzato and Bckstedt (Liquigas), Nuyens and Scheirlinckx (Cofidis), Gusev and Devolder (Discovery), Gilbert and Mengin (FDJ), Flecha (Rabobank), Baldato (Lampre), Wesemann (Wiesenhof), Burghardt (T-Mobile), Hushovd (Credit Agricole), Eeckhout (Chocolade Jacques), and Siedler (Milram). In front, Grabsch soft pedaled until he was reabsorbed by the break with 84km left. The lead group was losing more riders to mechanicals and tiredness, as Dean, Engoulvent, Iriondo, Tosatto and Steels were all dropped. O'Grady and Breschel were recalled as well, in an interesting tactical move. At sector 14 (73km to go), the gap was 1'40 as Michaelsen and Hoste attacked the main bunch. That prompted a quick reaction from Boonen, who dragged another dozen riders with him. The peloton regrouped at the feedzone a few kilometres later, and Predictor-Lotto was still the best represented in the 35-40 strong bunch. Lars Michaelsen (CSC), in his last ever race, was also doing a good deal of work. At Orchies (sector 12, 61 km to go), Kopp, Van Impe and Pollack attacked the leading group with the bunch hovering 1'00 behind. They quickly distanced the rest of the break, which was slowly falling apart on the pav. In the peloton, Michaelsen kept the pressure on and took away Flecha, Leukemans and Rosseler, catching and shredding the break with 54km to go. At 40km to go, the race was split to pieces with a leading duo (Kopp and Van Impe having dropped Pollack), a chase group of eight (Michaelsen, Breschel, Petito, Flecha, Leukemans, R. Grabsch, Franzoi, Pollack) at half a minute, then a larger group including Boonen, O'Grady, Cancellara, Hoste, Hammond, Burghardt, Scheirlinckx and Devolder at 1'13. O'Grady was now in the third group, having at one stage been at the front of the race. But at 33km to go, he started to bridge up to the second group, together with Wesemann and another of the early breakaways, Roger Hammond. Boonen recognised the danger and put the hammer down, taking Devolder, Baldato, Burghardt, Scheirlinckx and Hoste with him. But they couldn't stop O'Grady and co from closing to the second group at 27km to go. The front riders, Kopp and Van Impe, only survived another two kilometres before O'Grady's CSC-heavy group came back to them. O'Grady wasted no time and attacked with 25km left, pressing the advantage. No-one in that group could react, and O'Grady opened up a half minute lead as he reached sector 5, Camphin-en-Pvle, with 20km left. Meanwhile, Boonen's group had just Devolder, Burghardt and Scheirlinckx in it, and was a full minute behind the lone Aussie. O'Grady was on fire and pulled another 40 seconds out of his nearest chasers on the Carrefour de l'Arbre (17km to go). These were whittled down to just four with Flecha, Leukemans, Wesemann and Petito. Michaelsen was with them but had to change bikes on the Gruson sector with 14km left. He remounted but crashed immediately, and lost any chance of a podium placing in his last race. 1'30 behind O'Grady, Boonen had decided to take matters into his own hands and took off alone. He quickly caught and passed Kopp, Breschel and Michaelsen, then latched onto Hammond and Franzoi and eventually Van Impe. The four man group tried in vain to close the gap to the four just in front of them, but failed by a few seconds. O'Grady, riding the race of his life, maintained his one minute advantage all the way to the velodrome in Roubaix. At 1km to go, he clenched his fist as he knew he had won it. He entered the Roubaix track and could afford to start his celebrations right then and there. The CSC rider reached the finish line with a big one armed salute, savouring victory in the race that he had always dreamed about winning. Behind, Flecha was too strong for Wesemann for second, with Leukemans, Petito, Boonen and Hammond taking the next placings. Results 1 Stuart O'Grady (Aus, Team CSC) 6:09:07 (42.18 km/h) 2 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa, Rabobank) 0:00:52 3 Steffen Wesemann (Swi, Team Wiesenhof Felt) 0:00:52 4 Bjorn Leukemans (Bel, Predictor-Lotto) 0:00:53 5 Roberto Petito (Ita, Liquigas) 0:00:55 6 Tom Boonen (Bel, Quick Step - Innergetic) 0:00:55 7 Roger Hammond (GBr, T-Mobile Team) 0:00:55 8 Enrico Franzoi (Ita, Lampre-Fondital) 0:00:56 9 Kvin Van Impe (Bel, Quick Step - Innergetic) 0:01:24 10 Fabio Baldato (Ita, Lampre-Fondital) 0:02:27 11 Lars Michaelsen (Den, Team CSC) 0:02:27 12 David Kopp (Ger, Gerolsteiner) 0:02:28 13 Leif Hoste (Bel, Predictor-Lotto) 0:02:28 14 Matti Breschel (Den, Team CSC) 0:02:28 15 Ralf Grabsch (Ger, Team Milram) 0:02:28 16 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel, Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone) 0:02:28 17 Vladimir Gusev (Rus, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) 0:02:28 18 Stijn Devolder (Bel, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) 0:02:28 19 Fabian Cancellara (Swi, Team CSC) 0:02:38 20 Marcus Burghardt (Ger, T-Mobile Team) 0:03:43 21 Sbastien Rosseler (Bel, Quick Step - Innergetic) 0:03:45 22 Stphane Poulhies (Fra, Ag2r Prevoyance) 0:05:04 23 Peter Van Petegem (Bel, Quick Step - Innergetic) 0:05:04 24 Martin Elmiger (Swi, Ag2r Prevoyance) 0:05:05 25 Frdric Guesdon (Fra, Franaise des Jeux) 0:05:05 26 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa, Caisse d'Epargne) 0:05:05 27 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus, Astana) 0:05:05 28 Bert Grabsch (Ger, T-Mobile Team) 0:05:05 29 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel, Predictor-Lotto) 0:05:06 30 Olaf Pollack (Ger, Team Wiesenhof Felt) 0:05:07 31 Floris Goesinnen (Ned, Skil-Shimano) 0:05:12 32 Nico Eeckhout (Bel, Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen) 0:08:28 33 Filip Meirhaeghe (Bel, Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner) 0:08:28 34 Nicolas Rousseau (Fra, Ag2r Prevoyance) 0:08:29 35 Filippo Pozzato (Ita, Liquigas) 0:08:29 36 Volodymyr Bileka (Ukr, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) 0:08:31 37 Aivaras Baranauskas (Ltu, Agritubel) 0:09:27 38 Steven De Jongh (Ned, Quick Step - Innergetic) 0:09:38 39 William Bonnet (Fra, Credit Agricole) 0:09:38 40 Marcel Sieberg (Ger, Team Milram) 0:09:38 41 Rony Martias (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) 0:09:38 42 Sven Krauss (Ger, Gerolsteiner) 0:09:38 43 Thor Hushovd (Nor, Credit Agricole) 0:09:38 44 Florent Brard (Fra, Caisse d'Epargne) 0:09:38 45 Bram De Groot (Ned, Rabobank) 0:09:38 46 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe, Team CSC) 0:09:38 47 Magnus Backstedt (Swe, Liquigas) 0:09:39 48 Andy Flickinger (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) 0:09:39 49 Peter Wrolich (Aut, Gerolsteiner) 0:09:39 50 Jorg Ludewig (Ger, Team Wiesenhof Felt) 0:09:39 51 Koen De Kort (Ned, Astana) 0:09:39 52 Philippe Gilbert (Bel, Franaise des Jeux) 0:09:39 53 Tom Steels (Bel, Predictor-Lotto) 0:09:39 54 Angel Gomez (Spa, Saunier Duval - Prodir) 0:09:39 55 Christophe Mengin (Fra, Franaise des Jeux) 0:09:40 56 Robert Wagner (Ger, Team Wiesenhof Felt) 0:09:40 57 Paolo Fornaciari (Ita, Lampre-Fondital) 0:09:41 58 Wim Vansevenant (Bel, Predictor-Lotto) 0:09:43 59 Lorenzo Bernucci (Ita, T-Mobile Team) 0:09:43 60 Roy Sentjens (Bel, Predictor-Lotto) 0:09:45 61 Alessandro Ballan (Ita, Lampre-Fondital) 0:09:52 62 Yohann Gene (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) 0:12:21 63 Iban Iriondo (Spa, Euskaltel - Euskadi) 0:12:21 64 Kasper Klostergaard (Den, Team CSC) 0:12:21 65 Bernhard Eisel (Aut, T-Mobile Team) 0:12:21 66 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned, Rabobank) 0:12:21 67 Gregory Rast (Swi, Astana) 0:12:21 68 Bas Giling (Ned, Team Wiesenhof Felt) 0:12:21 69 Raul Alarcon Garcia (Spa, Saunier Duval - Prodir) 0:12:22 70 Servais Knaven (Ned, T-Mobile Team) 0:16:22 71 Fabio Sabatini (Ita, Team Milram) 0:16:22 72 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned, Skil-Shimano) 0:16:22 73 Wouter Weylandt (Bel, Quick Step - Innergetic) 0:16:23 74 Niki Terpstra (Ned, Team Milram) 0:16:41 75 Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat, Saunier Duval - Prodir) 0:16:41 76 Steven Caethoven (Bel, Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen) 0:16:43 77 Christophe Laurent (Fra, Credit Agricole) 0:16:43 78 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned, Skil-Shimano) 0:16:43 79 Markel Irizar (Spa, Euskaltel - Euskadi) 0:16:44 80 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita, Team Milram) 0:16:44 81 Koldo Fernandez (Spa, Euskaltel - Euskadi) 0:16:48 82 Mathieu Heijboer (Ned, Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone) 0:16:49 83 Andreas Klier (Ger, T-Mobile Team) 0:16:56 84 Tristan Valentin (Fra, Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone) 0:17:53 85 Pedro Horrillo (Spa, Rabobank) 0:18:25 86 Carlo Westphal (Ger, Gerolsteiner) 0:19:17 87 Wouter Van Mechelen (Bel, Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner) 0:20:37 88 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned, Gerolsteiner) 0:20:57 89 Erki Ptsep (Est, Bouygues Telecom) 0:20:58 90 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita, Liquigas) 0:27:43 91 Jan Kuyckx (Bel, Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner) 0:28:33 92 Johan Van Summeren (Bel, Predictor-Lotto) 0:31:34 93 Alexandre Usov (Blr, Ag2r Prevoyance) 0:34:33 94 Imanol Erviti (Spa, Caisse d'Epargne) 0:34:33 95 Clment Lhotellerie (Fra, Skil-Shimano) 0:34:33 96 Evert Verbist (Bel, Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen) 0:34:34 Outside time limit TC Julian Dean (NZl, Credit Agricole) TC Fabien Bacquet (Fra, Skil-Shimano) TC Hans Dekkers (Ned, Agritubel) TC Mikel Gaztanaga (Spa, Agritubel) TC Sjef De Wilde (Bel, Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner) Did not finish DNF Sbastien Hinault (Fra, Credit Agricole) DNF Ren Mandri (Est, Ag2r Prevoyance) DNF Laurent Mangel (Fra, Ag2r Prevoyance) DNF Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra, Ag2r Prevoyance) DNF Christophe Riblon (Fra, Ag2r Prevoyance) DNF Francisco Ventoso (Spa, Saunier Duval - Prodir) DNF Angelo Furlan (Ita, Credit Agricole) DNF Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra, Credit Agricole) DNF Linas Balciunas (Ltu, Agritubel) DNF Emilien-Benot Berges (Fra, Agritubel) DNF Cdric Coutouly (Fra, Agritubel) DNF Anthony Ravard (Fra, Agritubel) DNF Benoit Sinner (Fra, Agritubel) DNF Thomas Fothen (Ger, Gerolsteiner) DNF Oscar Gatto (Ita, Gerolsteiner) DNF Heinrich Haussler (Ger, Gerolsteiner) DNF Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun, Credit Agricole) DNF Jesus Del Nero (Spa, Saunier Duval - Prodir) DNF Arkaitz Duran Aroca (Spa, Saunier Duval - Prodir) DNF Luciano Pagliarini (Bra, Saunier Duval - Prodir) DNF Alexey Kolessov (Kaz, Astana) DNF Michael Schar (Swi, Astana) DNF Artur Gajek (Ger, Team Wiesenhof Felt) DNF Felix Odebrecht (Ger, Team Wiesenhof Felt) DNF Steffen Radochla (Ger, Team Wiesenhof Felt) DNF Glenn D'Hollander (Bel, Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen) DNF Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel, Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen) DNF Kurt Hovelynck (Bel, Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen) DNF Kenny Lisabeth (Bel, Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen) DNF Aaron Kemps (Aus, Astana) DNF Benoit Joachim (Lux, Astana) DNF Andoni Aranaga (Spa, Euskaltel - Euskadi) DNF Andoni Lafuente (Spa, Euskaltel - Euskadi) DNF Alan Perez (Spa, Euskaltel - Euskadi) DNF Unai Uribarri (Spa, Euskaltel - Euskadi) DNF David Boucher (Fra, Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner) DNF Frdric Amorison (Bel, Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner) DNF Frdric Gabriel (Fra, Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner) DNF Kevin Neyrinck (Bel, Landbouwkrediet - Tonissteiner) DNF Ren Haselbacher (Aut, Astana) DNF Bart Vanheule (Bel, Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen) DNF Allan Johansen (Den, Team CSC) DNF Ludovic Auger (Fra, Franaise des Jeux) DNF Sbastien Chavanel (Fra, Franaise des Jeux) DNF Timothy Gudsell (NZl, Franaise des Jeux) DNF Thierry Marichal (Bel, Franaise des Jeux) DNF Francis Mourey (Fra, Franaise des Jeux) DNF Eric Baumann (Ger, T-Mobile Team) DNF Bert Roesems (Bel, Predictor-Lotto) DNF Nick Nuyens (Bel, Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone) DNF Kevin De Weert (Bel, Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone) DNF Leon Van Bon (Ned, Rabobank) DNF Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus, Rabobank) DNF Luke Roberts (Aus, Team CSC) DNF Gert Steegmans (Bel, Quick Step - Innergetic) DNF Matteo Tosatto (Ita, Quick Step - Innergetic) DNF Daniele Bennati (Ita, Lampre-Fondital) DNF Claudio Corioni (Ita, Lampre-Fondital) DNF Massimiliano Mori (Ita, Lampre-Fondital) DNF Daniele Righi (Ita, Lampre-Fondital) DNF Jan Boven (Ned, Rabobank) DNF Rick Flens (Ned, Rabobank) DNF Herv Duclos-Lassalle (Fra, Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone) DNF Michiel Elijzen (Ned, Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone) DNF Sbastien Minard (Fra, Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone) DNF Steve Cummings (GBr, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) DNF Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) DNF Matthew White (Aus, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) DNF Michael Albasini (Swi, Liquigas) DNF Mauro Da Dalto (Ita, Liquigas) DNF Aleksandr Kuschynski (Blr, Liquigas) DNF Frederik Willems (Bel, Liquigas) DNF Eric Berthou (Fra, Caisse d'Epargne) DNF Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa, Caisse d'Epargne) DNF Antonio Cruz (USA, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) DNF Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn, Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team) DNF Brett Lancaster (Aus, Team Milram) DNF Martin Mller (Ger, Team Milram) DNF Christian Mller (Ger, Skil-Shimano) DNF Albert Timmer (Ned, Skil-Shimano) DNF Aart Vierhouten (Ned, Skil-Shimano) DNF Mathieu Claude (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) DNF Arnaud Labbe (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) DNF Alexandre Pichot (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) DNF Franck Renier (Fra, Bouygues Telecom) DNF Nicolas Portal (Fra, Caisse d'Epargne) Got a comment? 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