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105th Paris - Roubaix Live
By Staff
Date: 4/15/2007
105th Paris - Roubaix Live

105th Paris - Roubaix Live
Queen of the Classics, the Hell of the North inside

Welcome to our coverage of Paris Roubaix the Queen of the Classics, the envy of every pro rider is to collect this race to his palmares. 259 kilometers with 28 sections of cobbleston pave to concquer before the velodrome in Roubaix.


Paris (Compiègne) - Roubaix - 259.5 km

At 31 kms  as fate would have it,  31 riders escaped the peloton and built up a 4 minute lead: Breschel, O’Grady, Roberts (CSC), Tosatto, Van Impe (Quck Step), Franzoi (Lampre), De Groot (Rabobank), Auger (FDJ), Bert Grabsch, Hammond, Klier (T-Mobile), Steels, Van Avermaet (Predictor Lotto), Valentin (Cofidis), Ralf Grabsch (Milram), Bacquet, Lhotellerie, Goesinnen (Skil Shimano), Putsep (Bouygues Telecom), Bileka (Discovery), Petito, Willems (Liquigas), Portal, Rojas (Caisse d’Epargne), Kopp, Stamsnijder (Gerolsteiner), Dean, Engoulevent (Credit Agricole), Poulhies, Rousseau (AG2R), Irinondo (Eusklatel), Pollack (Team Wiesenhof).

After the longest section of the northern pave at 106.5 km Quiévy à Saint-Python a 3.7 km section three riders were dropped, Portal, Klier and Bacquet as the breaks gap ballooned to 5 minutes.

As we join the race the riders have reached pave section 22 Verchain-Maugré à Quérénaing the gap is 4 minutes and the Hell of the North is dry, drier than ever... Klier is out of the leaders due to a mechanical.

14:10 CET - 20 km approx to the Wallers Forest, about 4 sectors of cobbles to go Boonen gave a press conference, stating he never gets thirsty in this race since he has many people crossing the area, watching the race at about 13/14 places and have drinks with them. Goesinnen sure does ride a lot these days. Last weekend Saturday he rode the Hel of het Mergelland in Holland, the next day he did Flandres and now he is present in the first group in this queen of all classics.

 14.13 CET - Leading group now: O’Grady (CSC), Tosatto, Van Impe (QSI), Franzoi (LAM), De Groot (RAB), Auger (FDJ), B.Grabsch, Hammond(TMO), Steels, Van Avermaet (PRL), Valentin (COF), R.Grabsch (MRM), Goesinnen, Lhotellerie (SKS), Putsep (BTL), Bileka (DSC), Petito, Willems (LIQ), Rojas (GCE), Kopp, Stamsnijder (GST), Dean, Engoulvent (C.A), Poulhies, Rousseau (A2R), Mikhailov (AST), Iriondo (EUS), Pollack (WIE)

The Dutch can't believe their luck with three men present in the first's hot in the hell of the North , hotter than ever, Europe skipped spring and got right along into summer with a record temperature of about + 25 degrees Centigrade today.

Eight minutes ahead of when the riders are to pass Wallers a train is scheduled to pass..... maybe a remake of last year? The favourites named most are Boonen and Cancellara. The team directors named the Belgian most over Cancellara in press statements earlier this week; though from the past, they tend to tip wrong.....Cancellara says before the start he can't explain the Wallers Forest, "you have to ride it..."

Milram rider Ralf Grabsch has escaped the escape and leads with almost a minute as he drives through  Maing à Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon pave section. The bunch sets the pace a bit higher, controlling the gap to the leaders with 103 km to go.

Sector 19 of the cobbles, Grabsch is still ahead with a 1:15 gap the Haveluy à Wallers pave section is 2500 metres long. The Peloton is 5 minutes behind the lead group.

Due to the higher speed and because of  the drier circumstances the chances of technical problems are higher. Also the riders tend to try to ride not on the cobbles but on the narrow pieces of dirt next to the roads......where due to dry and hot (and no rain for like three weeks) big holes are covered with dry sand which makes the holes nearly invisible. The juniors are riding their hell as well this morning and are scheduled to reach the Velodrome soon.

14:38 CET - Weylandts punctures. Bunch still at 5 minutes and 10 seconds, at close to 100 km from the finish. At this pace the riders will arrive early to the finish before 17 h CET. The pace is averaging 41.5 km/ph so far a with ten km to go to the Arenberg trench, often the site of the explosion of the peloton as it feeds through the funnel to the next wider asphalt section.

Grabsch enters Pave sector 18, 2.4 km of cobbles of the dreaded Tranchée (ou Trouée) d’Arenberg  a huge crowd of people line the road behind the fences today.  The bunch now at 4:11 as they heat up the chase with CSC at the front.

The bunch is onto the Arenberg cobbles too- Predictor/Lotto leading the chase. Grabsch leaves the forest with huge crowds cheering him on. The real bad forest is still to come, a crash and tumbling of a lot of riders onto the ancient cobbles. Lisabeth looking for a wheel to complete his the bunch enter the Arenberg cobbles too- Predictor Lotto continues pressing the pace at the front.

Lisabeth of Chocolade Jacques that is. Several riders down , but at the front of the bunch Boonen is setting the pace,  many 'helpers' have found their spot right after the Wallers to hand drinks to the riders. Boonen looks back to see who is in the leading group as they come out of the forest .

14:55 CET - The gap to the escapees has fallen quickly to under three minutes, and as always the paves of the Arenberg have shaken up the race and split the peloton. Vaitkus of Discovery already far behind the leaders. Boonen caused the damage as he drove the pace through the Arenberg, almost a replay of his ride in 2005 when he won the race.

The next cobble section to come is at 170 kms the Wallers à Hélesmes, 1.6 km long.  The riders pass the pont Gibus (the Gibus bridge) the bunch with Boonen in the frontlines moves up the pace. Grabsch still leading, yet another railroad crossing passed without having to wait for a train.... at the speed the riders are going the train crossings should be clear and we won't have a repeat of last years incident.

15:01 CET - Winner of the Tour de Flandres Allesandro Ballan is the only one of the top favourites (Boonen, Cancellara, Hoste etc.) not present in the group Boonen/Cancellara. 38,6 km/h per hour the last hour, the pace getting a bit slower.

 84 kilometres to go Grabsch has 2'55'' on the main group as he is caught by the original escapees and Kopp goes on the attack. Grabsch seems to have his best behind him today and appears to be struggling a bit from the effort. Behind the peloton is regrouping after the Arenberg experience. 

15:07 CET - Kopp now on cobble section 16 Hornaing à Wandignies - Hamage 3,7 km and he has built a small lead.  Kopp has great form at the moment, especially considering his problems in Milan San Remo. The first groups melt together, we now have about 60/70 men on the front.

Franzoi is riding this Paris-Roubaix with the bike he finished third at at the recent Worlds cyclocross. Big Magnus Backstedt winner in 2004 of Liquigas punctures. Big Maggy now lives in Wales having moved from Belgium.

The gap is down to about 1'45'' as the Boonen group puts the pressure on with 75 kms to go... as the peloton goes through the 2.4 kms of  Warlaing à Brillon cobble section.

Dropped in Arenberg crossing, Ballan and Burghardt make it back in the Boonen group. A peloton of about 60 riders are now 1:50 behind the leading group. 71.5 km to go as they enter the Tilloy à Sars-et-Rosières 2.4 km sector/ Predictor/Lotto riders are again putting the pressure on the front of the peloton.

Lotto continues piling the pressure on. Cancellara escapes! Klostergaard and Gilling have to let the bunch go.  Hoste and co have split the peloton and Cancellara, sorry it is not Cancellara but Michaelsen of CSC  who made a dig - but Boonen closes back down on them.

15:32 CET - 1:10 the advantage of the escapees. Next cobbles coming up, the feared ones of the three sections of the Orchies. The race is 10 minutes ahead of the fastest timetable as they reached the second feed zone and above all a drinking zone for hot and thirsty riders. The riders look like ghosts, covered in black and dark grey of dust.

15:35 CET - Leif Hoste (Predictor Lotto) and Lars Michaelsen (CSC) attacked in cobbled sector 14 (km 190) but were reined in. The gap down to 45 seconds

65 km to go, still the long term escapees have an advantage of 45 seconds, on a group of about 35 riders which includes most of the favourites. Onto the Orchies pave, Lampre now leading the chase. Twenty one riders are in the leading group and lead the bunch by exactly one minute at kilometre 191.

15:40 CET - Breschel, Van Impe, Franzoi, De Groot, Auger, Grabsch B., Hammond, Van Avermaet, Valentin, Grabsch R., Goesinnen, Putsep, Bileka, Petito, Willems, Rojas, Kopp, Wrolich, Poulhies, Rousseau, Mikhailov and Pollack are the ones present in the lead group. Gap still 45 seconds, the bunch awaiting the right time to haul them in. Ouch, Van Summeren down hurting his leg/knee. He is the only rider down, looks like he hit an unmarked barrier in the middle of the road.

15:43 CET - less than 60 km to go now. Van Impe together with Kopp and Pollack ahead of the rest, onto the next section of pave, very dusty conditions for the riders , and three men Van Impe,  Kopp and Pollack are now leading the race. The trio quickly establish a 16 second gap.

After 200 kms of racing the natural attrition will soon start hitting the field with tired legs and burning lungs. Sieberg and Pozzato together with Backstedt have to let the others go, The 37 year old has planned his goodbye and wants to do that in style...

15:51 CET - Michaelsen places his next attack, one of the Quickstep riders (Van Petegem) is trying to close the gap.  Leukemans, Rosseler and Flecha are the ones joining Michaelsen. All trains look out, Flecha is coming...... Still a bit strange a Spaniard like Flecha so dedicated and in love with the classics of the north.

15:55 CET - Tom Boonen went up a gear, splitting the peloton. Backstedt and Pozzato are dropped as well. Michaelson, Leukemans Rosseler and Flecha will bridge the gap to the second chasing group - still Kopp, Pollack and van Impe leading the race with 55 seconds the gap.

15:57 CET - Km-eater of this week Goesinnen of Skill-Shimano still present in the following group. Four men, Flecha, Rosseler, Leukemans and Michalsen have parted company with the peloton and are now chasing what is left of the morning break.

Pave section 10 Mons-en-Pévèle 3 km - The three leaders start the section; Van Impe looking very strong 48 km to go. De Jongh back in the Boonen group.

The race now split into several groups over the paves , Van Impe Kopp and Pollack lead, as O'Grady slips on the cobbles but he is up and ok. Van Impe, Kopp and Pollack are now in sector 10 (Mons en Pevele).

16:07 CET - Again many fans lining the roads through the cobble section of Pevele. The group is at 1:38 from the leaders at the end of sector ten. The gap to the lead trio is 20 seconds, the next group is six riders followed by another 9 in the chase with 43 kms to go. The riders are all looking ragged and covered in grey dust.

The highpoint of irony in Paris-Roubaix: is a puncture on the tarmac (or even as Hinault had when he won a puncture áfter the finish, on the track due to a television cable)

40 km to go - Ballan and Bernucci and Elmiger at the rear end. off the field chasing. Van Impe and Kopp have dropped Pollack .

Pave sector 8 - 219.5 kms Pont-Thibaut à Ennevelin:  Flecha sets the pace, Franzoi follows at ease, Lots of CSC riders present in the front leading the chase.  Nuyens seems to have been dropped by the Boonen-group. cobbles sectors to go: 7 Templeuve - L’Epinette,  7 Templeuve - Moulin-de-Vertain, 6 Cysoing à Bourghelles 6 Bourghelles à Wannehain, 5 Camphin-en-Pévèle, 4 Carrefour de l’Arbre, 3 Gruson, 2 Hem, and 1 Roubaix .

16:18 CET - The group-Ballan at 1:55. Cancellara said his physical condition is not as good as last year, but his head is way way way better for the race. Breschel, Michaelsen, Leukemans, Grabsch, Pollack, Flecha, Petito and Franzoi are the 8 at 26 seconds away from the Kopp and Van Impe duo in the lead. Behind them it is T-Mobile driving what is left of the peloton 1:10 back.

Meanwhile in Spain Joaquim Rodriquez with the help of his Caisse d'Epargne team mate has won the Klasika Primavera of Aorebieta. 
1. Joaquím Rodríguez (GCE) 
2. Alejandro Valverde (GCE) s.t.
3. Matteo Bono (LAM) at 8”
4. David López (GCE) at 8”
5. Francisco Mancebo (GCE) at 8”
6. Constantino Zaballa (GCE) at 8”.

16:22 CET - Wesemann attacks from the Boonen group gets a gap. Wesemann joined by O'Grady powers through the dust and tries to bridge. Boonen tries to jump to O'Grady/Wesemann. Gent-Wevelgems winner Burghardt has counter-attacked behind Wesemann, quickly followed by Boonen. Title holder Cancellara has not been able to follow after Boonen’s surge.

28 km to go, Gap: 55 seconds Group Flecha 17 seconds behind Kopp and Van Impe , Flecha driving it on furiously. Flecha seems eager to ride smarter than ever and come as closest to a win as he has never did before, the ones are chasing looking at one another and losing time.

Boonen attacks! Boonen indeed seems to dislike that and attacks... but Burghardt counters and the Boonen group comes back together 49 seconds behind Kopp and Van Impe as the dust flies!  Title holder Cancellara has not been able to follow after Boonen’s surge.

16:33 CET - 24 km to go, CSC's O'Grady leads the chase as the eight chasers catch Van Impe and Kopp and O'Grady immediately counter attacks. Devolder tries to bridge to the leading men; he has ridden more conservatively this race. Boonen and company at 1 minute.

Devolder broke away from the Boonen group to chase the leading group at the start of cobbled sector 6 (km 234). Stuey now has 22 seconds lead. O'Grady leads the race with 21 km to go, his arms leaning sort off relaxed on his stearer... the gap goes up to 25 seconds as O'Grady drives it.

16:43 CET -  Stuey has 25 seconds on group Flecha as he enters Sector 5 Camphin-en-Pévèle and O Grady sets the pace a bit higher again. He lets his bike go the way it wants, just following it; can he win a la Cancellara? I  think he can, he is strong, older and experienced.

Boonen and his group at 1:35,  Leukemans and company at 54 seconds. O'Grady has 51 seconds on group Flecha 1:35 on Boonen and there are 17 kilometres to go.

16:47 CET - O'Grady at cobble sector # 4 Carrefour de l’Arbre  the 2,1 km  feared sector. O'Grady going like a motorbike - he is looking very strong today. Flecha counterattacks!

As said by the infamous Yoeki in todays chat: Ogrady has had 3rd and 4th's locked in his whole career. O'Grady passes the famous café at the Carrefour, and yet another sector of cobbles done 3 sectors to go. 15 kilometers to go Ogrady has 1'10'' now as he motors looking invincible.

16:51 CET - 48 seconds the gap now, to the ones following. Michaelsen punctures, but gets a new wheel fast he now is down in the dust he is too eager, so no puncture, 'just' a crash.  Boonen trying to bridge the gap losing his companions behind in a cloud of dust. But has this attack come too late?

Last time gap to O'Grady - 1 minute and forty seconds...  Boonen has not given up yet,  though he is putting in a huge effort to try and claw back time. Stuey O'Grady peddles along, undisturbed. Boonen in no-man's land; Wesemann, Petito,Flecha Leukemans 47 seconds back with 12.5 kilometres to go.

10 km to go - Boonen closes in to Franzoi and Hammond. O'Grady has 56 seconds on group Flecha. Boonen asks for a little help from Franzoi, but he's not going to get it. The riders approach  the infamous railroad crossing of last year with less than 9 km to go.

8.5 km to go - Boonen catches Hammond and Franzoi, ahead O'Grady still has 57 seconds. The man from Adelaide who moved to Toulouse, France but now often is in Monaco motors on, a journeyman pursuiter at work.

Pave section 2 - O'Grady powers on - the 4 chasers are looking tired now 59 seconds  the gap - 7 km to go can O'Grady become the first Australian to win Paris Roubaix ? Go Aussie Go!!

Less than 6 km to go - O'Grady is in the pursuit contest of his life.. Boonen is finally catching Van Impe, Van Impe starts to help his team mate. Boonen has a stomach ache due to the drinking too much; so his sports director reports from the team car.

4 km to go at 17:03 CET - O'Grady digging deep, the gap grows again to 1:05. So the podium will be? O'Grady, Flecha, Leukemans, Petito? Seems to be yet another CSC rider winning this classic for the second year in a row.

17:05 CET - Behind O'Grady, Flecha and Co are working well together - but have they left it too late - as Boonen gets close to them. The chasing group know that they will be fighting for the final podium positions. Boonen with his two companions close to the four behind O'Grady. Hammond is working hard to try to close the gap.

2.5 km to go the gap 1'15 for O'Grady. If O'Grady wins, he will be the first Aussie to take the victory in Paris - Roubaix and take a well earned cobble trophy home.

O'Grady has been out at the front of this race virtually all day he has ONE KILOMETER to go. There he is. He enters the Roubaix Velodrome to huge applause, the crowd is going wild O'Grady raises a fist in triumph.

STUEY O'GRADY WINS!!!!!!!!!  and can take the first cobble home to Oz!!

So who will be second? Boonen not at the four yet.  Flecha attacks!
Flecha second, Wesemann third, Leukemans fourth, Petito fifth, Boonen sixth, Hammond seventh, Franzoi 8th, Van Impe ninth, Baldato tenth, all provisional at this time of course. Cancellara enters the track

O'Grady in tears. O'Grady is sure happy. he tells this race was the first he saw images of, on a videocassette. More he could not tell, he now is celebrating together with is teammates.

He is back at the microphone now, O'Grady says, its a dream come true. "I can't believe it it is a race I have dreamed about winning but never thought I really would" says O'Grady,  "It has not always worked out for me and I’ve not won races for a long time but I want to thank the team to have kept their faith in me."

"I shared rooms with Fabian and I had told myself why not? I always believed anything was possible. Track is where I was born and where I won my first victories. Since this finishes on a cycling track, I’d told myself, why not? This is the race I was dreaming of when I was 13."

Cancellara says everyone was watching him, they pulled another card in the CSC-camp, the Stuey stronger card, the King of Aces.

Congratulations to Stuart O'Grady and Australia!

Official Results:
105th Paris - Roubaix
259.5 kms - 6:09:07 -  42.181 km/h

1 007 O’GRADY Stuart CSC AUS
2 031 FLECHA Juan Antonio RAB ESP 00' 52"
3 221 WESEMANN Steffen WIE SUI 00' 52"

4 062 LEUKEMANS Bjorn PRL BEL 00' 53"
5 125 PETITO Roberto LIQ ITA 00' 55"
6 011 BOONEN Tom QSI BEL 00' 55"
7 056 HAMMOND Roger TMO GBR 00' 55"
8 026 FRANZOI Enrico LAM ITA 00' 56"
9 016 VAN IMPE Kévin QSI BEL 01' 24"
============== 2:00 ==============
10 022 BALDATO Fabio LAM ITA 02' 27"
11 006 MICHAELSEN Lars CSC DEN 02' 27"
12 154 KOPP David GST GER 02' 28"
13 061 HOSTE Leif PRL BEL 02' 28"
14 002 BRESCHEL Matti CSC DEN 02' 28"
15 083 GRABSCH Ralf MRM GER 02' 28"
16 077 SCHEIRLINCKX Staf COF BEL 02' 28"
17 111 GUSEV Vladimir DSC RUS 02' 28"
18 116 DEVOLDER Stijn DSC BEL 02' 28"
19 001 CANCELLARA Fabian CSC SUI 02' 38"
============== 3:00 ==============
20 051 BURGHARDT Marcus TMO GER 03' 43"
21 013 ROSSELER Sébastien QSI BEL 03' 45"
============== 5:00 ==============
22 175 POULHIES Stéphane A2R FRA 05' 04"
23 017 VAN PETEGEM Peter QSI BEL 05' 04"
24 171 ELMIGER Martin A2R SUI 05' 05"
25 041 GUESDON Frédéric FDJ FRA 05' 05"
26 137 ROJAS Jose Joaquin GCE ESP 05' 05"
27 216 MIKHAILOV Guennadi AST RUS 05' 05"
28 055 GRABSCH Bert TMO GER 05' 05"
29 066 VAN AVERMAET Greg PRL BEL 05' 06"
30 226 POLLACK Olaf WIE GER 05' 07"

31 093 GOESINNEN Floris SKS NED 05' 12"
============== 8:00 ==============
32 231 EECKHOUT Nico JAC BEL 08' 28"
33 206 MEIRHAEGHE Filip LAN BEL 08' 28"
34 177 ROUSSEAU Nicolas A2R FRA 08' 29"
35 126 POZZATO Filippo LIQ ITA 08' 29"
36 113 BILEKA Volodymyr DSC UKR 08' 31"
============== 9:00 ==============
37 142 BARANAUSKAS Aivaras AGR LTU 09' 27"
38 012 DE JONGH Steven QSI NED 09' 38"
39 163 BONNET William C.A FRA 09' 38"
40 090 SIEBERG Marcel MRM GER 09' 38"
41 105 MARTIAS Rony BTL FRA 09' 38"
42 155 KRAUSS Sven GST GER 09' 38"
43 161 HUSHOVD Thor C.A NOR 09' 38"
44 131 BRARD Florent GCE FRA 09' 38"
45 033 DE GROOT Bram RAB NED 09' 38"
46 005 LJUNGQVIST Marcus CSC SWE 09' 38"
47 121 BACKSTEDT Magnus LIQ SWE 09' 39"
48 102 FLICKINGER Andy BTL FRA 09' 39"
49 158 WROLICH Peter GST AUT 09' 39"
50 224 LUDEWIG Jorg WIE GER 09' 39"

51 211 DE KORT Koen AST NED 09' 39"
52 044 GILBERT Philippe FDJ BEL 09' 39"
53 065 STEELS Tom PRL BEL 09' 39"
54 186 GOMEZ Angel SDV ESP 09' 39"
55 047 MENGIN Christophe FDJ FRA 09' 40"
56 228 WAGNER Robert WIE GER 09' 40"
57 025 FORNACIARI Paolo LAM ITA 09' 41"
58 068 VANSEVENANT Wim PRL BEL 09' 43"
59 053 BERNUCCI Lorenzo TMO ITA 09' 43"
60 064 SENTJENS Roy PRL BEL 09' 45"
61 021 BALLAN Alessandro LAM ITA 09' 52"
============== 12:00 ==============
62 103 GENE Yohann BTL FRA 12' 21"
63 193 IRIONDO Iban EUS ESP 12' 21"
64 004 KLOSTERGAARD Kasper CSC DEN 12' 21"
65 054 EISEL Bernhard TMO AUT 12' 21"
66 038 VAN HEESWIJK Max RAB NED 12' 21"
67 217 RAST Gregory AST SUI 12' 21"
68 223 GILING Bas WIE NED 12' 21"
69 182 ALARCON GARCIA Raul SDV ESP 12' 22


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