As the cobbled sectors ticked down, the selection of who would go through to the final of Paris-Roubaix was made. Team Sunweb were up there with Nikias Arndt, Bert De Backer, Mike Teunissen and Ramon Sinkeldam as the race headed towards its pointy end.
The fastest race in the history of Paris-Roubaix, the day’s speeds averaged at 45.2km/h. A multitude of breakaway attempts came from its first kilometres, but with each attempt the peloton injected the pace so no rider could go clear. Eventually a three man break escaped, but were caught by the reduced peloton.
Bert De Backer went through inside the first group into the last 30 kilometres. Attacks that came from the front saw the group of 20 reduced down even further, and Bert lost contact with the group after a puncture. In the group behind Bert, it was Team Sunweb’s Ramon Sinkeldam that entered the Roubaix velodrome first, winning the sprint between his companions.
“It was a really hard race, in one moment I just felt like my legs were empty,” said Ramon after the race. “Luckily we had Bert up at the front, he had a really good day and he was still in the lead group. Unfortunately he had a flat tyre which meant that we missed the first group that went through to the finish. I could sprint for maybe within the top 30 which is a little disappointing, but it was just one of those days.”
Team Sunweb coach Tom Veelers said: “The beginning of the race was pretty chaotic but later on the guys showed some really strong team work and we had three guys up in the first chasing group of 20 guys. We were in a good situation until Bert got a flat tyre which meant that we lost our good positioning. In the end it wasn’t the result that we had hoped for but the guys worked well together which is the most important thing.”