Reinvented Gilbert Clinches Paris-Roubaix In Bid To Win All Five Monuments

Belgian veteran Philippe Gilbert won the Paris Roubaix cobbled classic on Sunday after a cat-and-mouse final struggle with Germany's Nils Politt.

Gilbert's compatriot and teammate Yves Lampaert was third.

Six riders, including defending champion Peter Sagan, broke away with around 55km remaining but the Deceuninck-Quick-Step pair Gilbert and Lampaert worked together to drop the Slovak on the final cobbled section.

The victory gives former world champion Gilbert his fourth of five of the "Monuments," the Tour of Flanders, the Tour of Lombardy and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, just Milan-San Remo is missing from his prize list.

Gilbert called his bid for all five Monuments "Strive for Five," after winning Flanders solo in front of adoring home crowds in 2017.

Politt and Gilbert came into the iconic Roubaix velodrome 30 seconds clear of Belgian champion Lampaert. The crowd cheered wildly as the duo eyed each other on the final lap.

Gilbert pulled ahead with 50 metres to go before crossing the line in emotional scenes.

"It's really special. It was a really daring attack and it came off," said the 36-year-old who also led an earlier breakaway and was the architect of Sagan's downfall.

Gilbert said he was proud of reinventing his style to carve out a successful late career.

"When I decided to go for the classics they said the cobbles weren't for me. I was just a puncher, but now I'm more complete.

"It was a crazy gamble to join Quick-Step but that's the beauty of sport," said the affable all-rounder who has won stages on all three Grand Tours.

Gilbert spoke glowingly of the runner up and revealed the pair had a history of working together.

"We both deserved to win," Gilbert told reporters after gleefully riding his bike all the way to a desk in the press centre.

"We were a great duo and we worked so well together, giving it everything."

Politt, just 25, who has been threatening this kind of result in the classics this season said he had learned a great deal from his German compatriot Andre Greipel.

"My only chance today was to get him in the sprint," said the Katusha-Alpecin rider, who spoke without a trace of disappointment.

Breaking Sagan

"Nobody ever dares to test Sagan. If you don't test your rivals then you'll never break them," Gilbert said of how he saw off the 2018 champion.

The champion laughed when asked about his chances of winning Milan-San Remo or tackling the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year.

"I'll be watching that on the telly," he joked.

Biting Winds

The race is known as 'the Hell of the North' due to its 29 body-battering cobbled sections, some 54km of the 257km race, which are even given star ratings of one-to-five for their difficulty and danger.

The race was marked by relatively few crashes, although Tiesj Benoot went to hospital after crashing through the back windscreen of the Jumbo-Visma team car that had braked suddenly to miss a faller.

The 25 teams of seven riders were mercilessly exposed to the elements in the open fields as many Flanders flags, brandished by roadside fans, flapped and whipped in biting winds.

British outfit Team Sky, who are changing sponsors, had been hoping for a farewell win and set a fierce early pace but when Italy's Gianni Moscon fell and then team leader for the day Luke Rowe got a puncture, any chance of an unlikely send off celebration were undone.

Highly fancied Norwegian Alexander Kristoff punctured twice and was dropped half-way through.

Another tipped rider, the talented Belgian cyclo-cross champion Wout van Aert made it into the final elite selection despite two punctures and a fall.

But as with Sagan, and Education First rider Sep Vanmarcke, the sustained effort saw him suddenly pale and drop off with around 20km remaining.

Sagan Takes Stage 3 And Overall Lead At Tour de Suisse

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Former three-time world champion Peter Sagan took the overall lead of the Tour de Suisse by winning the third stage on Monday.

Sanchez Takes Tour de Suisse Stage 2, Asgreen Moves Into Lead

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Spanish veteran Luis Leon Sanchez of Astana won a hilly stage two of the Tour de Suisse on Sunday as Denmark's Kasper Asgreen took the overall lead.

Rohan Dennis Wins Tour de Suisse Stage 1 Time Trial

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Australia's Rohan Dennis took a razor-thin victory on the opening day individual time-trial at the Tour de Suisse on Saturday.

Froome Undergoes Surgery, Can Return To Racing In 6 Months

Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has undergone a successful four-hour operation following a devastating crash and could be back racing in six months, his surgeon said Thursday.

Froome Could Receive 2011 Vuelta Title After Cobo Banned

The 2011 Vuelta a Espana winner Juan Cobo has been found guilty of an anti-doping rule violation and could be stripped of the victory, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said Thursday.

More Ways To Watch FloBikes

null

Never miss a moment. 

Froome Crashes Out Of Dauphine, Taken To Hospital

Chris Froome was taken to the hospital Wednesday after falling on a training run for the Criterium du Dauphine 4th stage individual time-trial, Team Ineos said.

Greg Van Avermaet's TDF Prep To Begin AT Hammer Series Limburg

Greg Van Avermaet will return to racing at Hammer Limburg this weekend to mark the start of his pre-Tour de France racing block.

Carapaz On Brink Of Giro Victory As Tempers Fray On Eve Of Finish

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Richard Carapaz closed in on his first Giro d'Italia triumph on Saturday after keeping hold of the leader's pink jersey in a tumultuous 20th and penultimate stage that saw Miguel Angel  Lopez lash out at a spectator who knocked him over.

Esteban Chaves Attacks Again and Again For Stage 19 Victory

null

Ecuador's Richard Carapaz tightened his grip on the leader's pink jersey as Colombia's Esteban Chaves claimed victory in the 19th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Friday.