Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won Paris-Roubaix 2018: the triple world champion attacked from a group of favorites with 54 km to go, caught the two remnants of the early break (Silvan Dillier of AG2R la Mondiale and Jelle Wallays of Lotto Soudal). Wallays quickly dropped, but Dillier was still going strong, he started sharing the work with Sagan and they were never seen again.
In the final kilometers, Sagan even made his own repairs while riding: he took an alien key from his team car and made some adjustments on his apparently loosened stem. The duo came to the Roubaix velodrome together, and Sagan won the sprint. The Slovakian became the fifth cyclist to win the “queen of the classics” wearing the world champion’s rainbow jersey Notes 1. With an average speed of 43.55 km/h, his victory was also the sixth fastest Paris-Roubaix edition to date.
Actually, Sagan was a bit unlucky, because, after the news of the death of Michael Goolaerts, his victory seems a bit flat and meaningless. Condolences to Goolaerts’ family, friends, and colleagues.
Paris-Roubaix 2018 Top 10
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 5:54:06
2 Silvan Dillier (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
3 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:57
4 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:34
5 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
7 Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 0:02:31
8 Taylor Phinney (USA) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
9 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
10 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
Evaldas Šiškevičius: the unsung hero of Paris-Roubaix 2018
At 18.13, one hour later than Peter Sagan, Evaldas Šiškevičius (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) reached the velodrome out of time, with gates closed. Organizers still opened the gate for him giving him the joy to reach the finish line.
In fact, the 29-year-old Lithuanian’s appears among 61 others in the list of DNFs in the results of Paris-Roubaix 2018, but the real story is more inspiring. Šiškevičius started to race just to be able to see the finish line. But things didn’t go well, he left behind by the flying peloton, and while riding alone on the unforgiving cobbles, the broom wagon caught him with more than 40 kilometers remaining.
For the next 23 kilometers, until the Carrefour de l’Arbre, he rode just in front of the minibus, which was carrying a cargo of a handful of muddied and bloodied abandoned riders with their bikes on a trailer behind. But things got even worse on that 5-star cobbled sector: he punctured a tire. Luckily, his team car was just behind the broom wagon, laden on a truck, and he could get himself a wheel from the back of the team car.
But now he was completely alone. Even the broom wagon passed him and left him behind. He continued riding, regardless. At 18.13, one hour later than Peter Sagan, he reached the velodrome out of time, with the gates closed. Šiškevičius says: “But thankfully the marshal was sympathetic and let me in. That way I could still ride my lap and a half on the track.”
Michael Goolaerts dies following cardiac arrest
Unfortunately, Michael Goolaerts, the 23-year-old cyclist of the Véranda’s Willems-Crelan team, died following cardiac arrest. He crashed at 109 km into the race (148 km to the finish line), and lying unconscious by the side of the road. There were no images of the incident. Probably the Belgian came down by himself, after a heart failure. According to the Cycling News, Goolaerts passed away Sunday evening at 22:40 in Lille hospital in the presence of his family members and loved ones.
Michael Goolaerts also participated in the Tour of Flanders 2018 a week ago, but did not finish the race.
Véranda’s Willems-Crelan team published an announcement, saying:
“It is with unimaginable sadness that we have to communicate the passing of our rider and friend Michael Goolaerts. He passed away Sunday evening at 22:40 in Lille hospital in the presence of his family members and loved ones, who we keep in our thoughts. He died of cardiac arrest, all medical assistance was to no avail.”
“For now there will be no further communication as we want to give his close ones time to deal with this terrible loss. We thank you in advance for respecting the privacy of his relatives.”
“R.I.P. Michael! You will always be one of us!”
- To date, only five cyclist won the Paris-Roubaix wearing the world champion’s rainbow jersey: Rik Van Looy (1962), Eddy Merckx (1968), Francecso Moser (1978), Bernard Hinault (1981) and Peter Sagan (2018).
- “Michael Goolaerts dies following cardiac arrest at Paris-Roubaix” on Cycling News
- “‘I got to the velodrome and the gates were closed’: The extraordinary story of the final finisher from Paris-Roubaix” on Cycling Weekly