Dust, cobbles, mechanicals, flat tires … Paris-Roubaix takes no prisoners! But when you finally reach the Vélodrome, you forget the pain and you cannot help but smile.

The first part of the race was extremely nervous. It took over two hours before a breakaway was allowed a reasonable margin. Jesper Asselman, Senne Leysen, Michael Van Staeyen, Sjoerd van Ginneken and Justin Timmermans: they were at the front of the peloton, trying to escape the bunch or reacting on another rider’s attempt one by one. Finally, it was Van Staeyen who made it in a breakaway group with eight others.

The Antwerp rider took on the second cobbled section, the one named after Michael Goolaerts, at the forefront. A special moment in the race for everyone who worked with ‘Goolie’ last year. Van Staeyen got a lead of a few minutes over the bunch with his eight fellow escapees, but that suddenly ended for him when he had a puncture because of a tiny piece of glass…

With over a hundred kilometers to go, Lars Boom – always attentive at the front of the peloton – opted for the attack. He was part of a nice escape group, perhaps too nice for the teams that weren’t up there, and a few kilometers later they were caught. Boom would no longer play a role at the front after that: a combination of too much tire pressure, a bad feeling on the cobblestones and some saddle issues, he explained afterwards. He changed bikes just before the second feed zone, but that didn’t alter his race anymore.

The others didn’t escape their share of bad luck either: Boy van Poppel lost some time stuck behind a crash and was never seen at the front. Senne Leysen crashed and eventually had to give up after continuing mechanical issues and wrist pain. Bad luck for the youngster, who rode his second Paris-Roubaix on Sunday. Boom and van Poppel finished the race, Jesper Asselman too but after the time limit. Thumbs up to all our riders who faced  the Hell of the North yesterday! # All4Goolie

Next on the race calendar of Roompot – Charles Cycling Team are the Brabantse Pijl, on Wednesday 17 April, and the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday 21 April. With these hilly races we leave the cobblestone classics behind us.

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