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For a brief moment on Sunday afternoon, it looked as if Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) might have thrown away his chance of winning Paris-Roubaix. He’d come into the famous Roubaix velodrome in the lead group of three and was clearly the strongest sprinter of the bunch. But some cat-and-mouse tactics allowed two chasers to catch on just before the sprint, and another chase group was just seconds behind.
And then when Zdenek Stybar (QuickStep Floors) wound up his sprint, Van Avermaet was boxed in, unable to match the Czech rider’s initial acceleration.
Thankfully for Van Avermaet and his legion of fans, the Belgian was able to extract himself from difficulty before sprinting past Stybar to win by a couple of bike lengths.
It was a fitting result – the strongest rider won after working hard to forge the lead group and ensure it stayed away. And all that after chasing back from an ill-timed mechanical earlier in the race.
See below for a great gallery of images from Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, courtesy of the ever-terrific Kristof Ramon and Ashley & Jered Gruber.