The “Queen of the Classics” is anxiously waiting for its suitors, and just like Portia, it will be awash with them this Sunday, when the riders lining-up in Compiègne for the 257.2km-long 119th edition will battle the pavé and the dust for a chance at eternal glory in the iconic Roubaix velodrome.
Lampaert’s Roubaix podium fouled
Eight kilometers from the finish in the legendary André-Pétrieux velodrome, Yves Lampaert looked to be on track for his second Paris-Roubaix podium in three years. Having initiated what turned out to be the race-winning move with a canny attack inside the last 30 kilometers, the man from Izegem was trailing lone leader Dylan Van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers) together with Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), while holding a 15-second advantage over a four-man chasing group.
That was the moment when everything changed for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s 31-year-old, who was brought down by an incident with a spectator, causing a crash that saw Yves fly over his handlebars, luckily without any major consequences. Any chances of a top 3 finish were gone at that point, but Lampaert continued the race, getting on his bike quickly as more and more riders caught and passed him, digging deep for his last resources of energy and concluding the fastest edition in history a bitter tenth.
“I did a perfect race. It was hard and full gas from the beginning, but I fought and did my best, managing to be part of that strong group with 50 kilometers to go. Then, as soon as I sensed an opportunity, I accelerated, and things went really well once the group formed. I began hoping and thinking of a podium. Despite being a bit on my limit on the Carrefour de l’Arbre, I was confident and feeling that a top 3 was reachable, really within my grasp.”
“What else can I say? When the crash happened, I tried to save it, but there was nothing to be done, and I hit the ground. I remounted and continued the race, but despite coming home in tenth place, the disappointment is huge thinking of what could have been”, said a frustrated Yves at the end of Sunday’s breathless race after his fourth Paris-Roubaix top 10 finish.
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel