Moscon fifth at Roubaix

09 Apr 2017

Moscon fifth at Roubaix

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Gianni Moscon put in a heroic ride to claim fifth place at Paris-Roubaix after a nail-biting finish.

At just 22 the Italian impressed with a strong and attacking performance across the 257-kilometre Queen of the Classics, coming within metres of victory as the lead group came back together inside the iconic velodrome.
 
After overhauling a 30-second gap in the final kilometres alongside Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Moscon hit the front momentarily and opened up the five-man sprint on the final lap of the track. Yet following a huge effort just to get to that point he was overhauled, with Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) crowning a dream Classics campaign with victory.
 
The Belgian had put in a punishing acceleration on the Carrefour de l'Arbre, splitting the select lead group and putting Moscon out of the back. Riding into the fan-packed Roubaix Velodrome with Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) and Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac) in tow, the trio engaged in a track sprint, waiting until they were caught before opening out the sprint.
 
With Van Avermaet seeing off Stybar, Moscon tucked in behind to bag a top-five in elite company.
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As the race unfolded Moscon, who battled back from an earlier bike change, was joined in the front group by Christian Knees. Between them the pair stayed in touch, with Moscon taking matters into his own hands ahead of sector 12. That proactive move ensured he was in prime position when the big names attacked behind.
 
Elsewhere Roubaix showed just why it is the sport's toughest one-day Classic. Luke Rowe was caught up in an early crash on the second of 29 cobbled sectors. The Welshman was unable to battle back to the front and eventually abandoned the race. Ian Stannard punctured directly before sector 24, and his chase back to the lead group was made more difficult by a number of crashes in a stretched peloton.

After the race Stannard summed up the day - telling TeamSky.com: "It's the nature of the race. It was going really fast when I punctured. Then there were a few crashes which blocked the road on a narrow bridge which slowed me up. I had to go all in to get back to the race but then it speeded up at Denain and the important sections before Arenberg. So I was a bit stuffed there but that's the way it is.
 
"It's disappointing but it's part of the race. I just have to look forward to next year and get on with it."
 
Stannard also reserved praise for Jon Dibben, Owain Doull and Lukasz Wisniowski, who all made their pro Roubaix debuts on the day. He added: "The new riders were really impressive - getting us into the right sections in the right places. They did a really good job." 
Ian Stannard

Ian Stannard

It's disappointing but it's part of the race. I just have to look forward to next year and get on with it.
It wasn't to be for Stannard or Rowe (Photo: TDWSport)

It wasn't to be for Stannard or Rowe (Photo: TDWSport)

Sport Director and 2001 Roubaix victor Servais Knaven was full of praise for Moscon. He said: "I'm really happy about Gianni's race today. The tactics were good and he followed what we told him. He finished up at the end sprinting for victory.
 
"For sure the best is yet to come. He's 22 with a really bright future ahead of him. Every year he gets older and more experience. If you can finish like this then you can finish higher up as well.
 
"It was really fast all day and when you get a problem it is hard to come back. You expend a lot of energy and that's what makes the race so hard. Ian and Luke managed to come back, then there was a crash and they were on the back foot again."

Knees (59th) and Stannard (72nd) came home inside a big group 9:41 back. Despite being outside the time limit Doull and Dibben were determined to finish the race and did. Lukasz Wisniowski was caught up in an early crash and abandoned alongside Rowe and Elia Viviani.

Race result:
 
1. Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) 5:41:07
2. Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) s.t.
3. Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac)
4. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)
5. Gianni Moscon (Team Sky)
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