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Monday, March 20, 2023

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Italian Sonny Colbrelli wins Paris-Roubaix in his first participation

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The European champion, the Italian Sonny Colbrelli, won Paris-Roubaix on Sunday in his first participation in an exceptionally muddy edition. Colbrelli (Bahrain) beat his last two companions, the Belgian Florian Vermeersch and the Dutch Mathieu van der Poel, in a sprint on the Roubaix velodrome, before collapsing, screaming his joy, on the lawn. Irresistible since the spring, the Italian removed his first “monument” at the age of 31. Although with around thirty victories to his credit, he had never yet been on the podium of a great classic.

Wout van Aert 7th

Behind the trio, the Italian Gianni Moscon, who had glimpsed success until a puncture 30 kilometers from the finish and then a crash, took fourth place 44 seconds behind his compatriot. The Belgian Wout van Aert, one of the big favorites, was ranked 7th in a group settled by his compatriot Yves Lampert (5th) ahead of the Frenchman Christophe Laporte (6th). On the soggy and muddy cobblestones, van der Poel made a strong impression in a race that turned to the disadvantage of his great rival, Belgian Wout van Aert, and number one team, Deceuninck.

“I followed van der Poel in the final, I did a great sprint”

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Generous and lavish of his efforts, van der Poel found himself alone in the pursuit group behind Moscon, who left alone to attack 53 kilometers from the finish. He could not then cause the decision in the trio of neophytes who fought for the victory. Colbrelli is the second rider to win the “queen of the classics” in his first participation. Apart from the German Josef Fischer who opened the prize list in 1896, the Frenchman Jean Forestier is the only neophyte, in 1955, to have won from his beginnings. “It’s the race of my dreams with the Tour of Flanders”, exulted the winner. “I followed van der Poel in the final, I did a great sprint. I focused on van der Poel but the guy from Lotto-Soudal (Vermeersch) almost surprised me. I managed to switch to 25 meters from the finish “.

The Lombard rider succeeds the Belgian Philippe Gilbert, winner in 2019 and this time behind before the halfway mark. He signed the 12th Italian victory, but the first in the 21st century (Andrea Tafi, last Italian winner in 1999).

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