Fabian Cancellara wins Paris-Roubaix 2013

Two-man sprint decides the race on the velodrome

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) pulled off a thrilling performance to win the 2013 Paris-Roubaix in a dramatic sprint finish with Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco). Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma QuickStep) sealed the final place on the podium.

Cancellara and Vanmarcke pulled clear on the Carrefour de l'Arbre pave when Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma QuickStep) and then his teammate Zdenek Stybar crashed into spectators. But for one last ditch attack from Cancellara in the closing five kilometres, the leading duo shared the pace setting all the way to the Roubaix velodrome.

Vanmarcke led out, but Cancellara simply had more in the tank and had enough to win his third Roubaix title and his second Flanders and Roubaix double of his career.

“I was in another world of riding! I still don’t know how I did it. I was dropped and pretty far back but then I started to move up. This is a race you can never give up on until the end. I had to play with him in the end because I tried to go away but he followed so then I knew it was man against man. I’m happy for the team and for me. Now I look forward to rest and a holiday. Mission accomplished,” Cancellara said.

The foundations for Cancellara's win were built on solid work from his teammates, who controlled the race in the opening 200 kilometres, never allowing a break to gain more than two minutes and then shepherding their leader towards the front on the Auchy-lez-Orchies - Bersée sector of pave.

It was clear from as early as last weekend's Flanders triumph that Cancellara would be the marked man, but he took the race by the scruff of the neck and although his surge forward in Orchies didn't win him the race, it drew out his main challengers. Thor Hushovd, Taylor Phinney and Edvald Boasson Hagen were the first to fall by the wayside but those that remained played their cards, and allowed Cancellara both a brief respite and opportunity to see would match him.

By the end of the 11th sector, only Cancellara, the Omega Pharma-Quickstep trio Nikki Terpstra, Zdenek Stybar and Vandenbergh, Europcar duo Sébastien Turgot, Damien Gaudin, Blanco duo Sep Vanmarcke and Lars Boom and also Sebastiaan Langeveld, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Bernard Eisel (Sky), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Luca Paolini (Katusha) remained in contention.

In front, Langeveld and Vanmarcke anticipated the next pavé stretch where Vandenbergh and Gaudin impressed as they rode away from the rest of the group. Behind the four leaders, a poker game unfolded. The result was that four more riders rode away from the Cancellara group. When exiting sector 7, the eight leaders were Langeveld, Vanmarcke, Gaudin, Vandenbergh, Stybar, Van Avermaet, Flecha and Paolini.

On the roads towards sector 6, Cancellara closed to the eight leaders on his own, by far his most impressive feat in the race. Having dropped back to his team car and dragging Boom, Terpstra and Eisel with him, he quickly realised he had isolated three major threats. Within a flash, he had left them for dust and was soon back with the Flecha group.

Riders battle their way over the fearsome paris-roubaix cobbles: riders battle their way over the fearsome paris-roubaix cobbles
Riders battle their way over the fearsome paris-roubaix cobbles: riders battle their way over the fearsome paris-roubaix cobbles

The peloton on one of the numerous cobbled sectors

Meanwhile Vandenbergh and Vanmarcke didn't wait for Spartacus and snuck off the front. When reaching sector 6, Cancellara and also Terpstra joined the chase group, half a minute behind the two Belgian leaders. On the same section where Cancellara crashed during the reconnaissance, the second part of sector 6, the cobbles of Bourghelles à Wannehain, the Swiss rider accelerated. Only Stybar was able to keep up with Spartacus.

While Cancellara time trialed towards the two leaders on the wide roads after the cobbles, Stybar tried to hold his wheel. Just before reaching sectors 5 and 4 there were four leaders in the race: Cancellara, Vanmarcke and teammates Vandenbergh and Stybar. Chasers Flecha, Langeveld, Terpstra, Van Avermaet and Gaudin were half a minute down on the leaders. A large group with Boom, Eisel, Paolini, Kristoff, Leukemans and others were further behind.

Vandenbergh was already losing contact on the cobbles of the Carrefour de l'Arbre when he clipped a spectator and fell in the early phase of the sector, leaving Stybar with the difficult job of marking both Cancellara and Vanmarcke.

The former cyclo-cross star looked comfortable on the cobbles though, but when he also rode into a fan, there was no way back.

Bright skies for Compiègne start

In contrast to the massive crowds in Bruges last week, the start in Compiègne was much more low-key. Teams were still rolling in toward the Place Charles de Gaulle in front of the Compiègne castle less than an hour before the start of the race. While temperatures dived under freezing point early in the morning, the sun did enough to persuade riders to wear short-sleeved kits once the race got underway at 10:20 am.

The pace was high right from the start with many teams trying to get a rider in the breakaway group. Thirteen riders managed to get a gap after 17km of racing, but the sizeable group didn't receive the ok from the peloton. The outcome was a blistering fast first hour of racing, averaging just under 50km per hour. The group was caught, and several more attempts fell short.

Upon hitting the first pavé sectors after 100km of racing, the peloton was back together. On the second cobbled stretch of the day, there was a crash which quickly reduced the peloton and hindered men like Stijn Devolder and Ian Stannard. In front, four riders finally managed to get away. Former winner Stuart O'Grady (Orica-Greenedge) was joined by Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), Matthew Hayman (Sky) and Clément Koretzky (Bretagne-Seche Environnement). The four got away in sector 22, at 124km from the finish. Behind them, André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) tried to bridge up but the German sprinter fell short. At the back of the peloton, Yoann Offredo (FDJ) crashed out of the race when he didn't notice a traffic island.

The four leaders built up a lead of more than two minutes over the peloton where Team Saxo-Tinkoff set the pace for their leader Matti Breschel when heading towards the famous Wallers-Arenberg forest. Steegmans led the breakaway into the Trouée Arenberg with a gap of 1:30 on the peloton. Thanks to the efforts from Taylor Phinney (BMC), John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) and Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) that gap was brought down to 40 seconds once out of the 2400m long pavé sector. In contrast to previous years, there were barely no crashes in this zone.

The four leaders struggled to hold off the peloton which at sector 17 closed in to touching distance. Nevertheless they reached sector 16 with a 30-second bonus. At that point Steegmans and Hayman left their companions behind. At the same time, Michael Schär (BMC) launched a solo move to join the leaders. In the peloton, outsiders like Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida), Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ) and Geraint Thomas (Sky) were affected by a crash while BMC's leader Thor Hushovd (BMC) flatted.

After 185km of racing and with 69km left to cover, the riders reached the second feed zone. The duo forced Schär to work hard and long but 20km after his initial acceleration, he finally joined the two leaders. A little later, Damien Gaudin (Europcar) bridged up with the leaders, who were riding only half a minute ahead of the reduced peloton.

Sector 11 was the first one where Cancellara moved to the front and from there the pace never dropped. By the time the race reached sector 10, the famous Mons-en-Pévèle the leaders were caught.

Switzerland's fabian cancellara of the radioshack leopard team, holds the cobblestone trophy aloft after winning the 111th paris-roubaix classic : switzerland's fabian cancellara of the radioshack leopard team, holds the cobblestone trophy aloft after winning the 111th paris-roubaix classic
Switzerland's fabian cancellara of the radioshack leopard team, holds the cobblestone trophy aloft after winning the 111th paris-roubaix classic : switzerland's fabian cancellara of the radioshack leopard team, holds the cobblestone trophy aloft after winning the 111th paris-roubaix classic

Fabian Cancellara hoists his third Paris-Roubaix cobblestone trophy above his head

Former Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Sharp) flatted while his compatriot Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) impressed in front. No more than 13 riders survived the selection of this sector. They were top favourite Cancellara, Terpstra, Stybar, Vandenbergh, Turgot, Gaudin, Vanmarcke, Boom, Langeveld, Van Avermaet, Eisel, Flecha and Paolini. A little later, Turgot dropped out of the lead group with a flat tyre and Cancellara moved into position.

“It’s amazing having a third victory. When I see how in this race everyone was against our team, against me, I just had to do a selection. The team came into a little bit of difficulty because we lost a few guys because of bad luck. But that’s Roubaix. It’s always nice to win alone but today there was pure fighting until the very end. I could not believe it when I crossed the finish line. My legs and my head wanted to bring me here,” Cancellara said.


1Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard5:45:33 
2Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
3Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:31 
4Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
5Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar  
6Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:00:39 
7Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge  
8Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
9Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha0:00:50 
10Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar  
11Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling  
12Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling  
13Maarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
14Lars Boom (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
15Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
16Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
17Steve Chainel (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
18Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
19Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
20Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
21Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha0:01:00 
22Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:02:52 
23Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team0:03:13 
24Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol  
25Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
26Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ0:03:17 
27Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
28John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano0:03:29 
29Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
30Robert Wagner (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
31Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
32Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
33Roger Kluge (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura  
34Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
35Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team  
36Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
37Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team  
38Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
39Marco Bandiera (Ita) IAM Cycling  
40Gael Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
41Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling  
42Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling  
43Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
44Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano  
45Sébastien Minard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
46Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge  
47Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling  
48Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Team Europcar  
49Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha0:03:32 
50Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin-Sharp  
51Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling  
52Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling  
53Hayden Roulston (NZl) RadioShack Leopard0:06:07 
54Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard0:06:11 
55Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
56Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
57Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
58Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp0:08:37 
59Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team0:10:27 
60Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
61Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2R La Mondiale  
62Florent Barle (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
63José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team  
64Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha  
65Pierre-Luc Perrichon (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
66Jos Van Emden (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
67Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha  
68André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol  
69Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
70Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp  
71Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
72William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ0:10:30 
73Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Garmin-Sharp0:13:16 
74Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team0:13:42 
75Clément Koretzky (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
76Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:14:34 
77Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun  
78Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
79Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling  
80Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack Leopard  
81Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
82Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team  
83Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
84Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard  
85Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
86Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack Leopard0:14:38 
87Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
88Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
89Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
90Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ0:14:40 
91Wesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
92Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
93Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
94Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
95Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura0:19:12 
96Stuart O'grady (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge0:20:37 
97Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Sky Procycling  
98Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
99Ricardo Garcia Ambroa (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
100Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Sojasun  
101Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack Leopard  
102Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) Ag2R La Mondiale  
103Michael Morkov (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:25:31 
104Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
105Marko Kump (Slo) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
106Dominic Klemme (Ger) IAM Cycling  
107Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura  
108Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp-Endura  
109Luke Rowe (GBr) Sky Procycling0:26:16 
110Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
111Edward King (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
112William Clarke (Aus) Team Argos-Shimano  
113Arman Kamyshev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
114Jetse Bol (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
115Russell Downing (GBr) Team NetApp-Endura  
116Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
117Morgan Lamoisson (Fra) Team Europcar  
118Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  
HDTom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano0:43:59 
DNFGuillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team  
DNFSébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFJerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar  
DNFDavid Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar  
DNFMarkel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack Leopard  
DNFMarcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team  
DNFDaniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
DNFDanilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
DNFSalvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling  
DNFRick Flens (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team  
DNFMarco Haller (Aut) Katusha  
DNFVladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha  
DNFGatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha  
DNFAndreas Klier (Ger) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFRaymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFJacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFSébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin-Sharp  
DNFMatthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ  
DNFDavid Boucher (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMurilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ  
DNFYoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ  
DNFLars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol  
DNFKenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFJens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol  
DNFGreg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol  
DNFVicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto Belisol  
DNFBorut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team  
DNFEvan Huffman (USA) Astana Pro Team  
DNFRuslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
DNFFumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFBaden Cooke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFMitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFJens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge  
DNFBertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFMirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFFrederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
DNFElia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFMassimo Graziato (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFAlessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFMaximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida  
DNFDavide Vigano (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFLuca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-Merida  
DNFKristof Goddaert (Bel) IAM Cycling  
DNFGustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling  
DNFAleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling  
DNFKoen De Kort (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano  
DNFDavide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFHugo Houle (Can) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFValentin Iglinskiy (Kaz) Ag2R La Mondiale  
DNFJimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Sojasun  
DNFMaxime Daniel (Fra) Sojasun  
DNFChristophe Laborie (Fra) Sojasun  
DNFRony Martias (Fra) Sojasun  
DNFJean-Lou Paiani (Fra) Sojasun  
DNFEvaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun  
DNFGuillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFMauro Da Dalto (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFAlan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling  
DNFEgoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFJan Ghyselinck (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFGert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFNico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFRomain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFMarkus Eichler (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura  
DNFBlaz Jarc (Slo) Team NetApp-Endura  
DNFAlexander Wetterhall (Swe) Team NetApp-Endura  
DNFAlex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team  
DNFJesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFEloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Movistar Team  
DNFJean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
DNFFlorian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
DNFBenjamin Le Montagner (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement  
DNFPeio Bilbao (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFJuan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFSteffen Radochla (Ger) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFAdrian Saez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DNFAndré Schulze (Ger) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
DSQGiovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team

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