“I had one of my best days on the bike. I think I’ve done my best Classics season ever and to finish it off like this is a dream. It’s incredible how we rode as a team, with Jasper finishing second. It’s not possible to do better than this.

“On the last sector I had to close the gap to Wout and I think he had a flat tyre. When I passed him, his pace was low. I knew he had a problem but didn’t know it was a flat. Maybe we would have gone as two to the finish line. It’s unfortunate but it’s part of the race. You need good luck and good legs and I had both today.

“It’s unbelievable. Especially when you’re entering the velodrome solo. It’s hard to describe what I felt at that moment.

“After last week in the Ronde, I’ve learned my lesson. It’s strange. You see it the last few years that we go all out from the start. It was also the fastest edition today. Incredible. There was no breakaway. We just raced like juniors from start to finish. It was quite crazy but it wasn’t bad for me. The harder the race, the better it is for me, especially in the final in a race like this where it is difficult to make the difference.”

On Degenkolb’s crash…

“I haven’t seen the images yet so I have to see if it was my fault or not, if he hit a spectator or not. If it was my fault, my apologies. It was a race situation. I’m glad that I could avoid it.” 

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Oof… gutted for JD.

“I’m really disappointed. There’s not much to say. Extremely disappointed about the outcome of the race. I was on the right side and suddenly there was no space anymore and I was pushed into a spectator.”

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“I’ve already had several punctures, but at this point in the race it’s sour. For the time being, ‘De Hel’ will remain cursed for me. I think I lose 20 or 25 seconds with that wheel change. You can’t make up for that on Mathieu in top form.

“You never know how a race could have turned out had things happened differently. I don’t like to speculate on who was the strongest today. Mathieu put me on the limit with his attacks, but he didn’t surprise me this time because I was really focused on following his wheel. When I had the flat tire, I was attacking myself and feeling really strong. Even on a flat tire I came out of the Carrefour de l’Arbre on his wheel, so I could have done something in the final, that’s for sure.

“But I was good and I am happy to end the spring with a good performance. I am proud of what I have achieved this spring. I put down a nice series, but the big win was not forthcoming. But life is not all victories. I have shown what I have in my march. I hope the fans have been able to enjoy that.”

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“It was clear that Wout [van Aert] and Mathieu [Van der Poel] were the strongest today. They had the best legs on the crucial parts of the race, and it was impossible for me indeed to follow them. But I also had good legs. To be 2nd while Mathieu won was a dream come true. Of course, I would like to come back and win myself, but as for today I’m going to enjoy the day.

“Van der Poel is human – and a super-strong bike rider. Together with Van Aert and [Tadej] Pogacar, they are the best riders in the world. Whenever they go, you know they have something extra and that following them is nearly impossible.

“We [Alpecin-Deceuninck and I] picked my racing days in order to keep me fresh for Roubaix – that’s why I didn’t take part in Flanders nor E3. We also did a very good preparation together. That’s why things went our way today. We had some good luck: we could have crashed, like Degenkolb, or punctured, like Van Aert. Are we the best team of the Classics season? Well, we can feel proud that we have won two Monuments this season, with a 1-2 in Roubaix.”

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“I would have loved to be on the podium, but I didn’t have the legs for that today. I’m just happy that I finally rode a final – well, sort of a final – in Paris-Roubaix. “Follow, follow, follow. I hoped it would be a sprint, but I also knew that they would go for it at the Carrefour. I had to hope that I could follow, but I couldn’t.”

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JOSH TARLING / Outside the time limit

The 18 year old was the youngest starter since 1937.

Author: Lee Rodgers

Cycling coach, race organiser, former professional cyclist and the original CrankPunk.

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