The appeal of Paris-Roubaix is multi-faceted. The race’s prestige and history makes it transcendental. The rugged, industrial beauty of its surrounds – juxtaposed with the technicolour chaos of the peloton – makes it a visual feast, regardless of whether it’s raced in the dust
or the damp. The resilience of the riders makes it a compendium of deeply human stories.
But as broad as the story is, there’s a tightly-coiled core to it: get to the end. Make it to the velodrome. Don’t stop pedalling. Onward.
This year’s race was defined by a tactical masterclass from Ineos, culminating in Dylan van Baarle soloing to the line from just under 20 km to go. Behind him, Wout Van Aert capped a remarkable recovery from COVID to finish second, and Stefan Küng – Mr Classics Consistency of 2022 – rounded out the podium.
Through the lenses of Jered and Ashley Gruber, this is the story of those riders, and many others.
All smiles and happy snaps at the race start in Compiègne.
On Mathieu van der Poel’s bike was his fuelling strategy for the day, complete with a different smiley face than he had at Tour of Flanders.
In addition to some hardy, wallet-friendly Elite Ciussi bottle cages, Van der Poel had an emergency Co2 canister…
… and some fans at the start.
Also in Compiègne is this patissier/chocolatier, which has some mixed reviews on Google. Some people like the mushroom quiche. Someone else got a burnt flan. Quite a few people are critical of the owner’s “bad accent around the edges”, which seems a bit classist if you ask me. But my favourite Google review (and I do like a Google review) describes “a hazelnut trapped in a vulgar very translucent caramel (thank you glucose syrup)… covered with industrial sprinkles… I could not bring myself to try the baba, whose frightful creme pastry very yellow and cracked, announces a work with custard powder (industrial shortcut) devoid of the slightest grain of vanilla.” Consider yourself warned.
Ah yes, there was a bike race. Here we go.
Ineos Grenadiers led the peloton early on, capitalising on crosswinds to splinter the race in two.
A sunny day with a sunny outlook …
… brought entire generations to the roadside.
Feel like this year’s Paris-Roubaix was a bit later than normal? That’s because the previous weekend was the first run-off in the Presidential election, forcing a recalibration of the calendar. Things did not pan out for the two Communists of varying degrees of fervour on the left, or the mountain-enthusiast independent second right. Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron (third from right) and Marine le Pen (far right, in both senses of the term) will advance.
As a palate cleanser after all that politics, please have this picture of two men of advancing years waiting for a bike race. One of them has two baguettes. The other has none.
Here at CyclingTips we are avid reporters on the intersection of farm animals and pro cyclists, so while these are not Thibaut Pinot’s new cows – and nor was he racing – it is about as good an excuse for an internal link as I’m likely to get.
Niki Terpstra is a past winner of this race, and as such should not be underestimated. That said, a solo break at 145 km to go could be viewed by some a touch ambitious. Maybe.
The light and colours of this year’s edition were pretty gorgeous.
Pretty good podcast, that CyclingTips Podcast.
Another older gent who’s really gone to town at the boulangerie.
To get the good shots, you climb into a building …
… and find a gap.
And so we reached the first five star sector, the Trouée d’Arenberg.
A TotalEnergies rider leaves a sad milky sealant trail.
Wout Van Aert made his way back from a couple of mechanicals and rode himself into condition as the race went on.
Milan-San Remo winner Matej Mohorič ducked off the front of the peloton toward an earlier breakaway, and made a junction with Tom Devriendt, among others. By 46.5 km to go, the duo were alone.
Chasing behind was a large group of most of the main favourites, led by the Pomeranian-owning, great quote-giving Guillaume van Keirsbulck (Alpecin-Fenix) who was riding in service of Mathieu van der Poel.
Van der Poel was the pre-race favourite, hoping to improve on his third place last year.
Mohorič and Devriendt make their way through the dust.
Trentin and Van Aert were among those in pursuit.
At 36 km to go, Mohorič puncured, leaving Devriendt briefly off the front solo.
Shortly thereafter, Mohorič picked up some friends …
… including Yves Lampaert, the reclaimed Devriendt, and Dylan van Baarle.
Dylan van Baarle nipped away with 19 km to go, quickly building an advantage.
Van Aert was in pursuit behind, but the gap kept growing.
More like Party-Roubaix, amirite?
Van Baarle gets shouted at by a local in a promotional sausage bucket hat.
There were high hopes for The Stavanger Stallion, who managed a very fine 12th position – one of five Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux riders to land in the top 20.
Van Baarle corners off the front.
The winning bike. Spoiler alert.
Mohorič and Lampaert were working well together, until Lampaert had a rather spectacular crash due to a spectator.
Van Baarle crosses the line solo to win by almost two minutes.
He was the victor in the fastest ever edition of the race, at a staggering 45.8 km/h average.
He rolls toward a spirited embrace from Sir Dave Brailsford.
While it was all cuddles in the in-field, the race was on for the minor placings.
Van Aert took a second place trophy home, but already had the biggest prize of all – their love. Aww.
Devriendt finished just off the podium, with a pretty astonishing fourth his clear career highlight.
Greg Van Avermaet has won before, and was the winning rider* again this year. *of his team; 17th overall.
Ben Turner (Ineos) hit the deck pretty hard, but still managed an impressive 11th.
That’s a blister. No second opinion needed.
Yves Lampaert was left wondering what could have been, after crashing out of podium contention.
Lewis Askey’s knee was looking all kinds of gory, but he made it to the end of the race to finish 42nd.
Van der Poel pre-shower.
2015 winner John Degenkolb winces as he undresses for a shower.
Van der Poel post-shower.
The last rider to cross the finish line – albeit outside the time limit – was an emotional Bas Tietema.
The YouTube star is riding his first pro season, but finished third in the U23 edition of the race.