The 2022 edition of Paris – Roubaix was fast. The fastest in history. It was hot. It was dusty. It was brutal. And still, the first thing we heard at the finish line was “I can’t wait for next year.”
“I will feel this for some more days, I think,” said Jenthe Biermans, IPT’s first rider to enter the velodrome.
“Last year, I made the mistake of not being in the big group and this year, there was the first echelon with me and Guillaume Boivin, so we had two good cards. It was only a pity that the peloton caught us back just before the Arenberg. But, I came really far, especially after missing some races in the last three weeks because of sickness. In the last 25 kilometres, I felt this. I was racing in the group for 12th position but then on the Carrefour de l’Arbre I needed to drop which was really a pity as it would have been a nice top-20. Now, it’s position 36 for me. I’m happy about the race as it’s my best result. I took a chance today, and now I hope the bad luck is behind us and we can keep moving forward.”
When it comes to Paris – Roubaix, we’ve come to expect the unexpected. So when the race turned on its head before the peloton even reached the cobbles, it was game on. INEOS Grenadiers caused a split in the peloton which saw many pre-race favorites miss the move. Jenthe and Guillaume Boivin made the front selection while the gap grew to more than one minute.
“When INEOS split the bunch early on, I thought ‘sweet, a free ride for the first bit’ and then I could just hide and it was a pretty good situation. Then the groups came back together on the sector before the Trouée d’Arenberg,” explained Boivin.
After the race hit the reset button, it became a game of legs and luck, good and bad. Boivin had both.
“I was in a pretty good position and I didn’t want to kill myself. But I had a puncture at the end of Carrefour de l’Arbre, so there wasn’t much I could do. It’s disappointing because I didn’t have the legs like I did last year to close the gaps, because of the sickness that I had recently. But, I already can’t wait for next year. This race is beautiful.”
The race carried on ahead while behind, Biermans and Boivin fought on, as did Reto Hollenstein and Rudy Barbier. Mads Würtz Schmidt crashed early in the race and was forced to abandon, fortunately only suffering from road race. While Aussie neo pro Taj Jones experienced the brutality of Roubaix and ended his race early. That’s Paris – Roubaix for you.
Another Roubaix done but we’re already dreaming of the next.