Van der Poel’s Masterclass at Paris-Roubaix: A Second Consecutive Victory with a Daring Solo Attack

Mathieu van der Poel 2024 Paris Roubaix

Mathieu van der Poel, riding for Alpecin-Deceuninck, took the 6th monument of his career with a breathtaking solo victory at Paris-Roubaix, marking his second consecutive win in what turned out to be the fastest edition of the race ever recorded. Demonstrating sheer dominance, the World Champion broke away from the peloton with 60 kilometres remaining, securing a monumental victory at the Hell of the North. Milan San Remo winner Jasper Philipsen, also of Alpecin-Deceuninck, completed a remarkable 1-2 finish for the team for the second year in a row. He clinched second place, followed closely by Mads Pedersen in third.

The early racing

The day began with the peloton rolling out from Compiegne under the watchful eyes of cycling aficionados, all eager to witness the unfolding of “The Hell of the North”. The early kilometres were marked by the customary flurry of attacks and counterattacks as riders jostled for position, attempting to make an early mark on the race. Notably, a breakaway formed early, including some strong riders, but the vigilant peloton, led by Alpecin-Deceuninck, never allowed them too much leeway.

Alpecin-Deceuninck, Van der Poel’s team, assumed control early on, dictating the pace and strategy with an iron grip. This tactical dominance by Alpecin-Deceuninck was evident as the race approached the first cobbled sectors. The team’s strategy was clear: keep Van der Poel in a prime position and protect him from the chaos that the cobbles invariably bring. The team worked tirelessly, pulling at the front of the peloton and reeling in breakaways, ensuring that the race remained under their control.

As the race progressed, several key moments hinted at the intense finale that was to come. The peloton encountered the feared cobbled sectors that are the hallmark of Paris-Roubaix. The pace intensified, with riders fighting to maintain contact over the punishing cobbles. Crashes and mechanical issues began to take their toll, thinning the ranks of contenders and adding to the drama of the race.

As the race hit the infamous Arenberg Forest, the tension was palpable. The peloton shattered under the relentless pace, with only the strongest riders able to keep up. It was here that the race’s dynamics shifted significantly, with the numbers truly thinning out at the front now.

Nils-Politt-Stefan-Kung-Jasper-Philipsen-2024-Paris-Roubaix
Nils Politt, Stefan Kung, Jasper Philipsen
(Photo Credit: Getty)

Van der Poel attacks

The attack, when it came, was a masterpiece of timing and strength. Van der Poel surged ahead, leaving his rivals struggling to respond. His acceleration was so fierce and decisive that it immediately opened a gap, laying the foundation for what was to become a historic solo victory. Van der Poel’s audacious attack, a calculated risk, paid off as he managed to extend his lead over the chase group, culminating in a solo arrival at the iconic Roubaix Velodrome.

Behind him his rivals quickly shipped time and the race decided soon after the move was made. From there we saw a trio of riders set to contest the podium places with a relatively fresh Jasper Philipsen taking the sprint in the velodrome ahead of Mads Pedersen. As the slowest sprint Nils Politt tried to go early but was caught and passed so settled for 4th place.

The victory at Paris-Roubaix is Van der Poel’s sixth Monument win, further solidifying his status as one of the sport’s greats. Notably, this win also marked the first time in over a decade that a male rider has secured the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix double while donning the World Champion’s jersey, a feat last achieved in the men’s peloton by Peter Sagan in 2018.

After the race Mathieu van der Poel said, “I just wanted to make the race hard from there on because I know that’s my strength,” Van der Poel explained, revealing the thought process behind his daring move. “I’m super proud of the boys and very happy to finish it off,” an ecstatic Van der Poel shared post-race, reflecting on the collective effort that led to his triumph.

For Jasper Philipsen, securing the second spot was bittersweet. Recognising the significant achievement, Philipsen acknowledged his ambitions for Paris-Roubaix, hinting at his own dreams of triumph in future editions. “It’s a race I really love to race. It motivates me. I really like to ride the cobbles, so why not?” Philipsen pondered, reflecting on the possibility of his own victory in the years to come.

The 2024 Paris-Roubaix will be remembered not just for Van der Poel’s indomitable spirit but for Alpecin-Deceuninck’s strategic brilliance and teamwork. As the cycling world looks ahead, Van der Poel’s historic victory at Paris-Roubaix serves as a beacon of inspiration, proving once again why he is considered one of the greatest cyclists of his generation.

2024 Paris Roubaix Hommes result

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Main photo credit: Getty