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107th Paris-Roubaix - Live coverage Part 2
By Andy McGrath
Date: 4/12/2009
107th Paris-Roubaix - Live coverage Part 2

107th Paris-Roubaix - Live coverage Part 2
90 kilometers to go and the Trouée d’Arenberg  Forest cobbles have once again proven decisive... splitting the peloton

Paris - Roubaix  259 km
Haussler is first through the post-Arenberg feed. 20-odd contenders are with him, including Boonen, Flecha, Hincapie, Langeveld, Hammond, Cancellara, Pozzato and Breschel. Cervelo have a few men in there, as do Quick Step. But no Chavanel? All the favourites are there, barring Martijn Maaskant. No news of how he's getting on, having been caught in a crash a few clicks before the Arenberg Forest.

1505 CEST - 90 kilometres to go - Still 10 men in front, it's all back together. But their lead is in tatters, down to 1'30" after the pack's assault on the Arenberg Forest.

Behind is a chasing group of 25 or so - Saxo Bank, Rabobank, Quick Step and Cervelo are all well represented, for the likes of leaders Cancellara, Flecha, Boonen and Haussler respectively. Leif Hoste (Silence) is also spotted in there. On closer inspection, in fact, Quick Step don't have many men in there.Just Devolder, it appears. Not a bad man to have though!

Now some riders come back, including Tosatto for Quick Step. The speed has lulled slightly. 30 seconds between the first peloton and the second. By the way, Thor Hushovd was the Cervelo man who crashed in the Arenberg Forest. Rotten luck for the Het Niuewsblad winner.

The two groups have come together, meaning Boonen in particular has some more domestiques back up with him. Columbia sit on the front of this group, 1'36" behind the break. Burghardt and Hincapie are riding well for them.

I haven't mentioned this before, readers, because it isn't of note. Any sadists hoping for mud, rain and blood will be disappointed by today's weather conditions - warmish and clear. Another dusty edition of l'Enfer du Nord.

80 kilometres to go - Edvald Hagen, winner of Gent-Wevelgem, gets back onto the leading peloton. 40-odd riders in there now. Columbia with three men still tapping out the pace on this long section. 1'27" is the deficit to the ten escapees. Tour of Flanders winner Stijn Devolder is a victim of a puncture. And has to pick his way through the cars.

An Astana man has attacked the peloton, now numbering 50 riders (it's growing as riders chase back on, but they're burning matches). He's not getting very far though.

Sector 15, Warlaing now. Puncture for Hincapie! He has some trouble pryng the back wheel out of there. The American is back on his way, but with just over 70 kilometres to Roubaix, this is not good timing.

Punctures are part and parcel of Paris-Roubaix; luck plays a big part. On the plus side, his bike didn't fall apart on him like 2006 (was it?), when his hanger broke, dramatically propelling Hincapie over the bars, into a ditch and out of the race with a broken bone.

70 kilometres to go - Onto Section 14. Tilloy à Sars-et-Rosières 2.4 km in length. The lull in speed behind will help Hincapie, who is being helped back by several Columbia team-mates. In front, Sulzberger looks most uncomfortable among the break, who have actually extended their lead slightly to 1'38".

Hincapie gets back on, he didn't look too stressed upon puncturing. Exactly the right attitude - you need to take it as it comes in this race, stay relaxed and conserve energy, mental and physical.

In front, 2001 winner Servais Knaven has attacked the break. As he finishes this 14th section at Tilloy, he has a few seconds in hand. Saxo Bank are riding on the front of the bunch again. Is it Cancellara's day today? The lead group strings out in a long line as the speed rockets up on the asphalt section. Rabo Pedro Horrillo is bridging to the lead group and looks to join up in a minute.

1545 CEST - 66 kilometres and thirteen pavé sections left, and we have a healthy-sized bunch of fifty riders, 1'30" behind ten leaders. Calm before the storm time. Cancellara was just on the front, working away. Maybe Matti Breschel is Saxo Bank leader today? As we've said, Cancellara's preparation has been far from ideal.

Onto Sector 13,  Beuvry-la-forêt à Orchies 1.4 km of cobbles,  and there's a split in the bunch. About 25 in the front bit. Quick Step are the ones doing this damage! It's Boonen in front now, Pozzato is on his wheel. no, it's Quinziato and Flecha. Crash with the motorbike into fans. I hope all involved are ok.

 Riders are getting back on, about 20 in this group. Haussler comes through a bit hard. About ten or so in this group: Boonen, Flecha, Haussler, Quinziato and a few others.

 1550 CEST - 61 kilometres to go. It's over for the break, they're caught by the Boonen group.Boonen attacks! Flecha, Haussler and Cancellara are right in the wheel. Hushovd is also up there for Cervelo, as is Hammond.

The riders hit section 12, Orchies, 1.7 km section. Very good for photographers. Posthuma and Cozza, breakaway riders, go backwards. 12 riders in the lead now, with some more chasing back. Hoste and Guesdon dig in and make it back on. This is attrition for you: even those who make it back will have burnt crucial matches they could use later. Two Cervélo men lead through Orchies; the all-black-clad squad look strong today.

Wouter Weylandt gives it a go in the attack. A group is getting away around Weylandt: Haussler, Flecha, Quinziato and Breschel.Five riders lead. Behind, Quick Step on the front just look round as if to say 'We have Weylandt up there, so we're not chasing'.

1555 CEST - Just over 200 kilometres raced, 57 kilometres till the finish. The Saxo Bank man is not Breschel, but compatriot Kasper Klostegaard. After 180 kilometres in the day's break, this is impressive riding from the youngster. Looks like he and Weylandt will be content as deadweight, sitting on.

A group of twelve chases 15 seconds behind, including Boonen, Hoste and others. Filippo Pozzato is not in there, I haven't seen Hincapie either. This is unconfirmed though.

54 kilometres left. Section 11 at Auchy-les-Orchies. Among the twelve chasers are Boonen, Wynants, Chavanel, Hushovd, Hammond, Guesdon and - he is there - Pozzato. Henderson and Klier are there too, hanging on from their earlier escape.

Boonen attacks! Pozzato is in his wheel. He is 20 seconds behind the leading quintet. As Wynants goes backwards, legs dead, it looks like the former world champ is using a lot of his strength even before the closing hour of racing. However, now he has closed the gap to the five leaders! Haussler and Pozzato go with him, and we have eight in front, with many more coming up from behind.

51 kilometres to go - Chavanel puts in a dig. Haussler marks it. About 12 riders in this lead group, Klier sits on the back looking knackered. Now lanky Johan van Summeren takes the front. I count sixteen riders in this lead group, and it looks pretty decisive - Flecha, Boonen, Haussler, Pozzato and Cancellara are all in here. They're about to hit Mons-en-Pevele, the second of three painful 5-star cobbled sections in today's route.

Attacks are going everywhere. Chavanel attacks around the outside and brings a Cervelo man with him. They're quickly brought back. Onto Mons-en-Pevele, Roger Hammond takes the front.

1610 CEST - Cervelo have 3 men in this group of 16 (I make it). The Columbia man in here is Henderson, sitting on. George Hincapie is not in this group, neither is Burghardt. Ah, the camera pans to a second peloton and Columbia are driving it for Big George. However, they are a minute down.

In those recognizable Oakley shades, Hincapie is on the front driving it himself. He is desperate to get back up there, after an untimely puncture 70k out.

Boonen accelerates again! He looks committed. Pozzato is stuck to his back wheel like glue!  It's Boonen, Pozzato, Flecha, Haussler... but the others aren't coming through and the pace lulls again. Now Pozzato hits the front. Quinziato is dropped like a bad habit. They get a 30 meter gap, Quinziato is fighting to get back on as the road pitches up.

The race has exploded! These men lead - van Summeren, Boonen, Pozzato, Hoshovd, Hoste and Flecha. They have about 10 seconds.

43 kilometres to go - 20 seconds is the difference. In the group behind, Cancellara is driving the chase. Saxo Bank know that this could be decisive, and Cancellara, Klostegaard and Breschel have all missed the group.

Our Live Coverage Continues in Part 3

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Paris (Compiègne) - Roubaix  259 km
Paris - Roubaix Map
Time Schedule  Start 11:00 AM
Official Race Store

Cobble Section
# -
Kilometer marker - name - length

16 176.5 km - Hornaing à Wandignies-Hamage 3.7 km
15 184 km - Warlaing à Brillon 2.4 km
14 187.5 km - Tilloy à Sars-et-Rosières 2.4 km
13 194 km - Beuvry-la-forêt à Orchies 1.4 km
12 199 km - Orchies 1.7 km
11 205 km - Auchy-lez-Orchies à Bersée 2.6 km
10 210.5 Mons-en-Pévèle 3 km 
9 216.5 km - Mérignies à Pont-à-Marcq 0.7 km
8 219.5 km - Pont-Thibaut à Ennevelin 1.4 km
7 225.5 km - Templeuve - L’Épinette 0.2 km
7 226 km - Templeuve - Moulin-de-Vertain 0.5 km
6 232.5 km - Cysoing à Bourghelles 1.3 km
6 235 km - Bourghelles à Wannehain 1.1 km
5 239.5 km - Camphin-en-Pévèle 1.8 km
4 242 km - Carrefour de l’Arbre 2.1 km
3 244.5 km - Gruson 1.1 km
2 251 km - Willems à Hem 1.4 km
1 257.5 km - Roubaix 0.3 km
Finish 259 km
Total kilometers pave sections: 52.9 km

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