Terpstra Wins Paris-Roubaix
In making Paris-Roubaix predictions, one observer wrote of Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), “He will not be a free agent, but he could surprise in support of Tom Boonen. One overlooks him at one’s peril.”
(Belkin) joined him. The pair joined the leaders with 22 km to go. Other riders joined the group, among them Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) and Cancellara.
Sagan attacked and got a gap, but the peloton kept him within reach. On the Carrefour de l’Arbre, Vanmarcke, Cancellara, Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Degenkolb caught the Slovak, while Terpstra towed Boonen up to the move and Bradley Wiggins and Thomas (both from Sky) joined the group. The lead group consisted of 11 riders.
De Backer accelerated on behalf of team captain Degenkolb. Omega Pharma-Quick Step, with three riders in the lead group, had cards to play. The Belgian squad played one of them. With 6.3 km left, Terpstra attacked.
The Dutchman’s lead was never large, and a concerted chase would have caught him. Such a pursuit, however, was not forthcoming. His teammates in the lead group blocked, and the other riders refrained from taking the initiative to chase. Terpstra, the first Dutch winner of the Hell of the North since Servais Knaven in 2001, pumped his fist and grinned as he crossed the finish line.
"I feel happy, but really tired," Terpstra said after the race. "When we came together in the last cobblestone section — at the end of the cobblestones — [Omega Pharma-Quick Step directeur sportif] Wilfried Peeters told us if we go for the sprint we go with Tom. But, if you can attack, it's always good to open the final. So it was up to me and Zdenek to attack and they know I like to do it. So, 20 seconds later I attacked. It was the good one. When I looked behind me, I saw there was a gap, so it was just full gas to the finish line. Don't look back, because that doesn't help. They will come back anyway if you check or not. Then, when I was crossing the finish line, it was just really special. I'm so satisfied. Finally I won a big one."
"We had a healthy, comfortable pressure from within the team to perform. The kind that motivates us to do well. We won a lot of races but not a big one yet. We wanted to prove we can win a big one. Today we really proved we are a strong team that can also win the biggest races. As for me, two years ago I was fifth, and last year I was third. If you can finish in the top 10 here you can also, with a bit of luck, win it. Last year, I was really close, and this year I made it. Since I was a little child and I started cycling, Paris-Roubaix was the most special race for me. Now, I won it. It's a dream come true. Paris-Roubaix is a crazy race, old-fashioned, but that's why it's special and why I love it that much. It was really my lucky day. I think we're going to have a nice dinner with the team tonight to celebrate this great victory, and then I will enjoy my time at