Morning Chronicle - Van Baarle comes of age with Paris-Roubaix victory

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Van Baarle comes of age with Paris-Roubaix victory
Van Baarle comes of age with Paris-Roubaix victory / Photo: Thomas SAMSON - AFP

Van Baarle comes of age with Paris-Roubaix victory

Dutch rider Dylan van Baarle of Ineos Grenadiers won the 257km Paris-Roubaix cycling classic on Sunday, emerging in the bright sunshine from the 30 cobbled sections of dusty old mining roads for a solo triumph.

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Van Baarle held his head in his hands crossing the line before leaping off his bike and hoisting it in the air as he screamed with joy and relief.

Belgian Wout van Aert of Jumbo was second and Swiss Stefan Kung of FDJ was third after Van Baarle entered the Roubaix velodrome on his own.

His win is doubly special as Paris-Roubaix, known as "The Queen of the Classics", because of its extreme length and difficulty, is rarely taken by a solo winner.

The 29-year-old Van Baarle had been threatening to win such a race after finishing a narrow second at the recent Tour of Flanders and at the 2021 world championships.

The winner dropped his last companion in style, on the toughest cobbled section of the closing stages, when Slovenia's Matej Mohoric could no longer hold on.

It is also the first time Ineos Grenadiers have won this race.

The British team recently also won the Amstel Gold with Poland's Michał Kwiatkowski while American Magnus Sheffield claimed the Brabantse Pijl.

On Sunday, Van Baarle took 5hrs 37mins to finish the 257km course in bone-dry weather which made the 2022 course extremely fast at an average speed of over 45kmh with riders avoiding the bumpy cobbles by racing in the dirt tracks alongside them.

The often bleak flat fields that skirt the Belgian border were a glistening green in Sunday's sunshine in stark contrast to the 2021 mudfest that took place in a deluge last October.