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Road race - Men
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Here's how van Avermaet won today's race...
What a win for Greg van Avermaet, who had to overcome a crash and a bike-change to take his first ever win in one of cycling's monuments.
There was confusion there as Moscon and Stuyven returned into the fray - although Moscon opened up the sprint many weren't sure if they were a lap behind or not. In the end, it didn't matter with the podium places going to those three men who entered the velodrome first. Stybar slammed the bars as he crossed the line - he could have become the first rider from the Czech Republic to win a monument...
Van Avermaet takes the win ahead of Stybar and Langeveld.
Stybar comes through on the home straight but it's Greg van Avermaet who surges through and takes that elusive win in a monument!
They're high on the banks... and the other two have come back! Moscon opens it up! Stuyven is there too!
Stybar goes high on the track... and almost loses his wheel! The bell is rung with Stybar ahead of GVA and Langeveld...
Under the banner and into the velodrome they go...
Final cobbled section here: sector 1 | 300 m | * | Roubaix (Espace Crupelandt) | 1.5 km to go.
The gap is still 40 seconds as they roll down the tree-lined esplanade ahead of the velodrome.
The calm before the storm... not long until they'll see the velodrome ahead... GVA takes a final drink before throwing away his bidon. They're all waterbottle-less now ahead of teh expected fast finish.
ATTACK: After chatting on his team radio, Stybar puts in a huge attack on a slight uphill rise. GVA follows but Langeveld is distanced. But it them comes back together... they're starting to play games.
Just five clicks to go now for these three leaders... it's a quality trio and we're up for a thrilling finale. You have to fancy Stybar or GVA, but you never know...
We're not getting any images from the chasers so we don't know if the Boonen group has caught the likes of Moscon and Stuyven yet...
If Stybar wins for Quick-Step Floors then he will keep the sequence going of 12 different rider from different nationalities winning the last 12 monuments. To be fair, none of these riders has ever won a monument before - but we have had Dutch and Belgium winners within that sequence.
They're onto the penultimate section, sector 2 / 1.4km / *** / Willems-Hem / 8km to go. The gap is still 45 seconds.
Should Langeveld win it will be Cannondale's first WorldTour win since Davide Formolo in the 2015 Giro d'Italia...
Stybar hasn't been doing any turns because he has Boonen behind. It's van Avermaet and Langeveld who are doing all of the work. This is a huge ride for GVA, who had that crash earlier in the race. Could he finally get his first monument win at the 36th attempt?
Just the two sectors to go now and three men out ahead: Greg van Avermaet 9BMC), Sebastien Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac) and Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors). They have 45 seconds on the Boonen fairytale-finish group.
Boonen is stuck: he can't lead the chase because of Stybar, so is relying on Naesen and Degenkolb. They have Hayman, I think, and Claeys with them.
Naesen, who crashed badly early on, is with Boonen and Degenkolb. They have slashed the lead to 30 seconds. Moscon and Stuyven ride together in pursuit of van Avermaet, Stybar and Langeveld. They're onto sector 3 / 1.1km / ** / Gruson / 14.5km to go.
Van Avermaet puts in a big dig and Moscon is now struggling... back with the chasers it's Boonen, Degenklolb and Eisel are going hell for leather. Sagan looks to be struggling. He looks shell-shocked and rather ill.
Here we go, it's the final big one: sector 4 | 2 100 m | ***** | Carrefour de l'Arbre | 17.0 km to go.
Moscon is setting the pace on the front of the race after the six leaders exit the cobbles. The gap is up to 45 seconds for these guys so it's looking good...
Langeveld ups the tempo and Oss is distanced - no surprise, given all his work earlier. Roelandts looks to be struggling too. Back with the pack, Boonen leads the chase with Degenkolb and Hayman. Sagan looks to be struggling.
The gap is only 35 seconds but it looks like that the riders in the main pack have pretty much given up. Meanwhile, out ahead it's now sector 5 / 1.8km / **** / Camphin en Pevele / 19.5km to go.
It's not a great situation for Boonen: he won't be able to win in a sprint and he needs to close 30 seconds before having any chance of riding clear. Besides, this main pack has some really fast finishers - Andre Greipel is still there...
That said, there are some dilemmas out there: should Stybar, for instance, go for it himself, or wait for teammate Boonen and jeopardise both his and the Belgian's chances?
This is proving a fascinating race. BMC hold the aces with fast finisher van Avermaet in this lead group alongside teammate Oss. But QuickStep have two cards to play in Stybar and Boonen in both the main groups, while Trek-Segafredo also have their two main cards to play in Stuyven and Degenkolb in the second group. Degenkolb, the 2015 champion, has ridden a very stealthy race - he's been largely unseen, but could still take the prize.
The connection has been made so we have seven leaders: Oss, van Avermaet, Roelandts, Langeveld, Stuyven and Stybar. The gap is 32 seconds back to the main pack. We're on sector 6 / 1.1km / *** / Bourghelles - Wannehain / 24km to go.
Moscon takes on a gel on the front of the chasing group, with van Avermaet in his wheel. This is quite a stellar six-man group: Moscon, Roelandts, Langeveld, Stuyven, van Avermaet, Stybar.
In all that dust it's great that Daniel Oss has a distinctive hair style... his gap is down to 10 seconds but his BMC teammate Greg van Avermaet is in the group which is closing in.
Lone leader Daniel Oss has 25 seconds over the Stybar chasing group and 1:05 over the Boonen-Sagan pack. He's now onto sector 7 | 1 300 m | *** | Cysoing - Bourghelles | 26.5 km to go.
The Sagan-Boonen group is swelling: it has Mat Hayman in it and Arnaud Demare. Perhaps with more men they can lead the chase better?
Tom Boonen is riding in a seven-man chasing group about 50 seconds down on Oss. Bernie Eisel is there for Dimension Data, as is Marcel Seiberg for Lotto Soudal. They have been joined by Sagan following his puncture. Van Baarle is there, with his Cannondale teammate Langeveld further up the road in that Stybar group.
Stuyven, van Avermaet and Moscon have joined the Stybar group.
PUNCTURE FOR PETER SAGAN! Terrible timing for the world champion - just as he was closing in on Stybar, Langeveld and Roelandts, Sagan needs a wheel change. It takes a stricken age and he'll have a fight to get back to the others now...
Oss rides onto sector 8 / 500m / ** / Templeuve (Moulin de Vertain) / 33km to go. His lead is down to 20 seconds. The road order is very confusing because the accelerations are coming thick and fast.
Stybar is the latest rider to try his luck. The Czech is riding in pursuit of Langeveld, not van Baarle, who went earlier to try to reel in Oss. Stybar has Sagan in pursuit - a move which has sparked a flurry of activity, in particular by van Avermaet.
The lone leader is Oss with van Baarle in pursuit. Then we have Stuyven, Moscon, Claeys, Roelandts, Chavanel, Boonen, Sagan, Degenkolb, van Avermaet, Langeveld, Stybar and Bert de Backer. The Italian has about 10 seconds to play with.
On to sector 9 | 1 400 m | *** | Pont Thibault - Ennevelin | 39.0 km to go. And there's a mechanical for Jens Keukeleire... at the worst possible time. He was looking good, and with Hayman dropping back, was Orica-Scott's main card.
Daniel Oss rides clear with Keukeleire leading the chase...
Stybar attacks from the chasing group just as the junction is almost made. The Czech riders powers past the leaders and onto the front. It comes to nothing but we now have a leading group of around 15 riders.
Boonen drives the pace as he continues this softening-up process on the cobbles. Keukeleire has a dig off the cobbles with van Avermaet. They're going to join the leaders very soon.
The leaders edge onto sector 10 / 700m / ** / Merignies-Avelin / 42.5km to go. Just 15 seconds to play with.
Boonen, Keukeleire and Langeveld open up a small gap on the flat. Van Avermaet closes the gap while Sagan leads the chase in the chasing group. The five leaders - Oss, Stuyven, Roelandts, Moscon and Claeys - only have 20 seconds ahead of the next cobbled sector.
Boonen closes it down on his teammate Stybar and Sagan. The world champion has been very unlucky but he's clearly feeling good. We now have a group of around 10 riders in this main pack.
The three chasers are about to join the two leaders: Moscon pulls Claeys and Roelandts level with Oss and Stuyven just after the exit of this five-star section.
Degenkolb has closed the gap on Stybar and Sagan, and he has Hayman, van Baarle, Boonen and some others with him. Stybar and Sagan up the tempo again and open it up once more.
Stybar manages to close the gap on Sagan. They have a small gap over the others, with Martin hogging the wheel of Boonen.
Stybar takes it up back with the main pack and once again it's left to Sagan to close the gap. And the world champion rides on and ahead of his rivals!
Oss and Stuyven still lead the race - two riders who could win this race one day, but seem to be here today for their respective team leaders, van Avermaet and Degenkolb. They're now onto the infamous sector 11 | 3 000 m | ***** | Mons en Pevele | 48.5 km to go. Moscon is leading the chase with Claeys and Roelandts. They trail by 15 seconds with the Boonen pack at 50 seconds.
Boonen, Sagan and van Avermaet are sticking to one another while Tony Martin leads the chase back on the front of this splintered pack. And look who it is... MAT HAYMAN IS THERE. The commentators had buried him, but the Aussie veteran is still in with a shout.
We haven't heard anything about Mat Hayman, the defending champion, for quite some while. There's a big chance that he's not in this main pack, putting Jens Keukeleire as Orica's main man now.
Stijn Vandenbergh (Ag2R-La Mondiale) is back on the front of the main pack. He was in the leading break earlier before dropping back. The other two riders with Moscon are Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) and Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis).
The gap is up to 40 seconds now as Oss and Stuyven hit the crucial sector 12 | 2 700 m | **** | Auchy lez Orchies - Bersee | 54.0 km to go. That gap appears to be back to the main pack because there are around three riders in pursuit, including Moscon, who are much closer.
Now Dylan van Baarle comes to the front for Cannondale-Drapac with Zdenek Stybar of Quick-Step Floors on his wheel. Sagan is having nothing of this and has it covered. He's been on the front of thereabouts all day, has Sagan.
Time for things to get serious, surely? The race moves onto sector 13 | 1 700 m | *** | Orchies | 60.0 km to go. On cue, Boonen has come to the front. He's trying to force a selection. Sagan, Degenkolb, van Avermaet and Kristoff all near the front as well. They have caught Greipel and Langeveld but still trail the two leaders, Stuyven and Oss, by 25 seconds.
Nils Politt, the young German, puts in an attack - and van Avermaet leads the chase. So the Belgian is back in this group after all. Van Baarle and Moscon near the front as well. In fact, this is a large main pack now after all the regrouping.
Boonen urges some other riders to take up the slack. Marcus Burghardt is there for Bora, too. Langeveld and Greipel both ping clear.
Now Tom Boonen takes it up and he's got Jens Keukeleire on his back wheel and former teammate Tony Martin. Sagan is there as well, and Moscon. Langeveld too.
The leaders sweep onto sector 14 / 1.4km / *** / Beuvry la Foret - Orchies / 65km to go. They have 40 seconds. Demare's attack is short-lived and he's reeled in by the front markers.
There's a regrouping after that last cobbled sector. This Boonen group is about 40 strong and it looks like Moscon is the only Sky rider in it for now. Arnaud Demare is the latest rider to ping off the front for FDJ. No Frenchman has won here in 20 years - since Frederic Guesdon.
ATTACK BY BOONEN! The four-time winner puts in a big acceleration and takes Sagan with him as they bridge over to Greipel. He takes his foot off the gas - the aim here is to whittle down the pack and get rid of the deadwood, not yet to ride clear. Oss and Stuyven have 30 seconds.
Sagan attacks straight away before being pegged back by Boonen. Trentin has now been distanced after that huge effort he made for Boonen to reel in the leaders. Andre Greipel then has a big dig on the front in the German national champions jersey...
Perhaps it's a puncture for Sagan because he's looking down at his wheels. If not a puncture then a mechanical issue with his rear brakes. He and Bodnar are caught just as they enter the next stretch of cobbles, sector 15 / 2.4km / **** / Tilloy-Sars et Rosieres / 71.5km to go.
Problem for Sagan! Bodnar slows to wait for his teammate, who seems to have an issue. Either that or he's decided he's gone too early and is prepared to wait for the other main favourites. Stuyven and Oss ride clear.
We're onto sector 16 / 2.4km / *** / Warlaing-Brillion / 75km to go. Stuyven looks to have dropped back but then he puts in a big effort and surges clear with Oss, leaving Sagan and Bodnar just behind.
There's a big regrouping behind as the Boonen chasing group becomes a pack of around 50 riders. Team Sky have taken up the chase through Knees and Rowe. The gap is 28 seconds.
Boonen now has a teammate in Stybar helping lead the chase. Sagan and Bodnar have been joined by Jasper Stuyven and Daniel Oss. There's a fair bit of looking behind to check whethe ror not it's in their interests to carry on this effort... Sagan is on the back and letting Bodnar, his teammate, pull.
Now Sagan goes! The world champion rides clear with a Bora teammate and they open up a small gap over the other leaders. What a move this would be. He must have heard that Boonen and van Avermaet are distanced.
10 riders have broken clear of the main pack on this, the second-longest sector of cobbles. They have caught the two leaders. There are no Quick-Step riders there and it's left to Boonen to lead teh chase.
Juraj Sagan is now being distanced by the main pack, so that's one less Bora rider for his world champion brother. Lars Boom is really struggling - he's been distanced by the chasing group...
Impressively, Sagan still has a couple of Bora-Hansgrohe teammates with him. That said, it's currently the Trek-Segafredo teammates of John Degenkolb, the 2015 winner, who are setting the tempo.
Onto sector 17 | 3 700 m | **** | Hornaing - Wandignies | 82.5 km to go. It's a four-star one with some terribly rugged cobbles and one railway crossing. The gap is still 30 seconds.
Jelle Wallays overcooks a tight bend and has to ride onto the pavement, giving Sylvain Chavanel the chance to ride clear on the front of the race. This is the French veteran's 43rd monument and his 10th Paris-Roubaix. His best finish was 7th in 2009.
Mechanical for Lars Boom of LottoNL-Jumbo, who is back with the van Avermaet chasing group, as is Kristoff. Both packs cross the train line which caused a bit of controversy last year. This is shaping up nicely. We'll try and bring you a list of big name riders in this main and chasing packs.
The two leaders - Chavanel and Wallays - have 28 seconds over the pack and 45 seconds over the van Avermaet chasing group.
No rest for the wicked: we're onto sector 18 | 1 600 m | *** | Wallers - Helesmes | 89.0 km to go. Vandenbergh seems to have disappeared, to be replaced alongside Wallays by Sylvain Chavanel of Direct Energie.
Well, that was over fast and without any calamity - perhaps because of the weather and the fact that the pack was already very streamlined entering the Arenberg.
The crowds are four deep here on the Arenberg but the riders pass through without any drama... they all grab fresh bidons after the leave the cobbles, trailing the two leaders - Vandenbergh and Walleys - by 20 seconds.
Matteo Trentin sets the tempo for Quick-Step on the Arenberg with Peter Sagan, the world champion, right on his wheel. Delage has been dropped by the leaders and will be the first to be caught.
Here it is: Hell has arrived with the Arenberg trench... It's the infamous sector 19 | 2 400 m | ***** | Trouee d'Arenberg | 95.5 km to go.
Van Avermaet is still 25 seconds off the back of the main pack and he'll need to move up ahead of the Arenberg or risks being distanced once again. The three leaders - Vandenbergh, Wallays and Delage - have 30 seconds to play with.
Flat tyre for Alexander Kristoff of Katusha - a terrible setback for the Norwegian.
The main pack is just about 50-strong at the moment, with another dozen chasing back on. That crash really thinned things out ahead of the Arenberg. Van Avermaet didn't look hurt in that incident, but needed a bike change and he's 50 seconds back...
Right on cue, Tom Boonen comes to the front... and he's been joined by Lars Boom of LottoNL-Jumbo. Ian Stannard was also held up in that crash, but didn't go down.
CRASH! The main pack comes to a standstill and Greg van Avermaet is involved. He needs a new bike and will lose time here... big setback for the Belgian, who will have a real fight to get back ahead of the Arenberg.
We're now onto sector 20 / 2.4km / **** / Haveluy-Wallers / 103.5km.
Confirmation of the withdrawal of Niki Terpstra of Quick-Step Floors.
And here's a video of another tumble from earlier...
RECAP: The big flashpoint today was this crash on the second sector of cobbles...
Sorry, this video is no longer available
There's been a crash on a roundabout: one riders has come down and hit the curb. More details later.
Almost a nightmare for van Avermaet after BMC are caught out when the road bottlenecks and there's almost a mini pile-up in the pack. The Belgian has three teammates with him to pace him back up. The three leaders still have 50 seconds to play with.
Update: Stannard, Hayman and Lampaert are back with the main pack. The first two got flat tyres and the third was involved in that big early crash.
Problems for van Avermaet who needs to slip back to get an allen key from his team car and make an adjustment with his stem - perhaps needs to tighten it up after all the cobble-jangling.
This video from the side of the road gives you a taste of the difficulty, speed and potential chaos out there on the cobbles.
And there's our answer about Terpstra...
The 2014 winner Niki Terpstra is also riding in a second peloton. The race's only Dutch winner must have had a mechanical problem earlier, or been held up by one of those early crashes.
Now the BMC team of van Avermaet come forward to set the tempo and keep their man out of trouble. Hayman is still chasing back on after his flat.
The gap is now 33 seconds now for the three leaders as they hit sector 21 / 1.6km / *** / Maing-Monchaux sur Ecaillon / 116.5km to go.
Tony Martin once again leading the pack, with the likes of Sagan and Degenkolb right there near the front.
We're hearing that defending champion Mat Hayman (Orica-Scott) has a puncture.
Vandenbergh still setting the tempo for the three leaders as they start sector 22 / 2.5km / *** / Querenaing - Maing / 119.5km to go. Still 10 seconds to play with. This is the big Belgian's seventh Paris-Roubaix; his best finish was 16th in 2014.
Peter Sagan has a sketchy moment in the gutter on the left of the road. Will he ever learn? That's this sector over for another year, but the next one is coming right up.
Vandenbergh leads the trio and he's taken to the gutter on the right of the road - which can be a great tactic, but there are occasional holes and divots which can be hidden by the shadow and the overhanging grass.
The three leaders are about to hit sector 23 | 1 600 m | *** | Verchain Maugre - Querenaing | 122.5 km to go. They have just 6 seconds to play with.
Stijn Vandenbergh (Ag2R-La Mondiale) has joined the two leaders so we have a trio riding with 15 seconds over the pack. The big Belgian used to be a vital component of Quick-Step's classics set-up and today he's riding his 20th monument after rejoining Ag2R in the close season.
The leaders battling through the dust and fans on an earlier sector...
Here's Ian Stannard grappling with his rear puncture... chapeau!
Sector 24 over. The question is - can Stannard get a new wheel quick enough for him to rejoin the main pack? Stannard wasn't the only concern for Sky, who had Moscon needing to switch bikes a short while back.
Wallays and Delage are still out ahead but only by about 20 metres. Greg van Avermaet has edges close to the front behind three or four Katusha riders, who are controlling the tempo for Kristoff.
Sector 24 | 2 300 m | *** | Vertain - Saint Martin sur Ecaillon | 132.5 km to go. Poor Stannard - I spoke too soon: he didn't get any help before the sector and he's now riding with a flat rear tyre and sliding all over the place. His rims must be destroyed and his arse practically as bad.
Puncture for Ian Stannard of Team Sky. Not great timing but at least he'll get support from his team car on this wider stretch of road.
There's a knowing nod between the two leaders, Walleys and Delage, as the peloton closes in. Their time ahead is soon to be over.
Many riders are fighting to rejoin the main pack after being distanced by the carnage caused by that flurry of crashes - including Luke Rowe of Team Sky and that man Naesen, who was one of the riders who went down hard in the second sector.
There's a lull and regrouping between cobbled sectors - this 9km of macadam gives the pack a chance to take stock and check where they are. The gap for the two leaders is still 20 seconds. It's also a feed zone so the musettes are going round.
Nuno Bico, the Portuguese youngster making his Roubaix debut for Movistar, hits the deck on some terribly ropey cobbles. Today's going to be a struggle for so many riders... it already is!
The gap is down to just 20 seconds now for the two leaders as we hit another cobbled sector: 25 | 800 m | ** | Biastre - Solesmes | 141.0 km to go.
Tony Martin rides clear of the pack as they complete sector 26, the fourth sector of cobbles. He has a small gap over the pack. The German showed how well he can ride the cobbles with a victory on these roads in the Tour de France in 2015. He could prove an invaluable foil for Alexander Kristoff today.
The Sky rider who went down in that Naesen crash was Lukas Wisniowski, the Polish youngster making his debut in the race.
CRASH: There's a touch of wheels towards the back of the peloton which sees a cluster of riders go down just as a second peloton were riding back on. The cobbles have already caused carnage with riders and groups stretched out all over the roads.
Some better images of that huge crash earlier...
Luke Durbridge of Orica-Scott - one of the main lieutenants for defending champion Mat Hayman - is riding back onto the peloton after some issues. The leaders are now onto 26 / 3km / *** / Viesley-Biastre.
Terrible luck for Oliver Naesen, the young Frenchman who was riding so well last Sunday until that crash which saw him, Sagan and van Avermaet all come down on the Kwaremont. Naesen is back in the wars today after that crash on the opening sector and he needs attention from the Ag2R car - for a mechanical issue we're hearing.
The two leaders have finished the third sector and have a gap of 55 seconds on the pack, which is being led by Germany's Andre Greipel - until Katusha swing through. Peter Sagan is very prominant.
Here's that original crash, which happened just as Eurosport were running an interview with Luke Rowe of Team Sky. It looked like someone clipped something on the verge and it caused a bit of chaos, with one rider going right over the bars and at least one more ending up in a muddy ditch. Not sure who the Sky rider was but it was Lampaert for Quick-Step and Oliver Naesen for Ag2R-La Mondiale.
Another crash: this time on a tight right-hand bend before the third sector. Tony Gallopin of Lotto Soudal is involved, but not critically injured or anything.
CRASH: Half a dozen riders come down near the front of the pack - including bodies from Sky, Quick-Step and Ag2R-La Mondiale. That was a nasty one.
The leaders are onto the next sector: 27 | 3 700 m | **** | Quievy - Saint Python | 151.0 km to go. Martinez has been dropped by the other two escapees.
Katusha, Team Sky and Quick-Step all on the front - as is the world champion Peter Sagan, who has made a big effort to move onto the front. He crashed badly last week in the Tour of Flanders when clipping the barriers on the Oude-Kwaremont, and since then he's had a rather fetching haircut...
We're onto the second section of cobbles: 28 | 1 800 m | *** | Viesly - Quievy | 153.5 km to go. The gap is up to 1:05 for the leaders.
It's already a real elimination race as the peloton stretches out considerably. The lead is still just under 50 seconds for the three leaders, who have two riders in pursuit: Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis) and ?.
The three leaders have survived the first sector. Meanwhile, Tony Martin - formerly of Quick-Step and now of Katusha - is on the front of the dust-covered peloton.
Team Sky and Quick-Step lead the pack onto the first cobbled sector at Troisvilles. Both teams have high hopes today: Sky have two cards to play in Ian Stannard (third last year) and Luke Rowe, perhaps even Gianni Moscon; Quick-Step have that man Tom Boonen, plus a raft of Plan Bs in Niki Terpstra, Zdenek Stybar, Matteo Trentin and Yves Lampaert.
Here we go... it's the cobbles! Let the Hell of the North commence... the gap is 47 seconds for the three leaders.
The gap is up to 40 seconds now for the three leaders: Yannick Martinez (Delko Marseilles Provence KTM) was joined by Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) and Mickaël Delage (FDJ). There are a few others trying to bridge over.
The first sector is Troisvilles-Inchy / 2.2km / *** / 160km to go. And we have a photo sent through by a follower on Twitter... here's what the riders have to expect.
Just one rider out in front now - from the French wildcard team Delko Marseilles Provence KTM. It's Yannick Martinez on a crazy bid to lead the race onto the first stretch of cobbles. He probably wished someone came with him... and someone has now done just that: Lotto Soudal and FDJ send riders clear of the pack.
The Katusha riders is Marco Haller and he's with Wang Meiyin (Bahrain-Merida) - or at least, he was: they've been reeled in with 10km until that first cobbled section.
Some nice footage from the start of the race from Velon...
It's bunched up again as the pack splits around a roundabout while two riders go ahead. Behind there are some heated exchanges between riders on the front of the pack - the tensions are high without any road hierarchy out there for now.
Just 20km to go until the first cobblestone sector at Troisville... and there are frantic attempts from riders to get in a break before then. Here's what Tom Boonen has on his top tube... pretty apt for today's, although with all the vibrations from the cobbles you probably don't want too big balls.
The five leaders have been reeled in and we have a counter attack starting to dip its collective toes into the Roubaix water... the pack is really strung out as four riders open up a slender gap.
If you're interested in the Arenberg and the role it has played over the years in Paris-Roubaix then you can't miss our long-read article by Laurent Vergne in the French Eurosport office. I translated it last week and it's a bit of a corker...
Meanwhile, on the Arenberg...
It looks like it's doomed for this break, whose lead is down to single figures now. Adrien Petit is still trying to rejoin the peloton after that run-in with the plastic bag...
Frenchman Adrien Petit, the Direct Energie rider who finished in the top 10 last year, has to stop to sort out a problem with his rear mech: he got a plastic bag stuck in his derailleur and it's taking for ever for his mechanic to sort it out. It's going to be a right struggle for him to chase back on...
The other three riders in this break are Frenchmen Maxime Daniel (Fortuneo-Vitel Concept), Benjamin Giraud (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) and Hugo Hofsletter (Cofidis). But the five leaders now only have 10 seconds to play with so it's looking like they're going to be reeled in - or at least joined by some others.
Could this finally be the break that sticks? These five leaders now have 22 seconds to play with... the two Katusha riders are Michael Morkov and Mads Schmidt.
Average speed for the first hour today is a whopping 50.9kmph. That's why it's been impossible for anyone to get daylight between them and the rampaging pack...
Five clear now - and they have 12 seconds over the pack. Intriguingly there are two Katusha riders in this move...
Send me your photos of cobbles and I'll publish them here in the live feed. We've got some great ones filtering through...
Here's what the riders have to look forward to when the race hits the famous Trouee d'Arenberg later on...
It looked like a break of around 20 riders were forming but it came back together on a sweeping downhill straight. There riders then pinged clear and they have two more - including Haller again - in pursuit.
Marco Haller of Katusha-Alpecin is the latest rider trying to force a break. He rides with an Ag2R-La Mondiale man - Gougeard again, it seems - with eight or so in pursuit. It looks like Tim Declercq of Quick-Step is leading the chase from the pack.
Cannondale-Drapac with six riders on the back of the peloton... the American team were very active early on but are against the ropes now, with the peloton all strung out for now. They're man to watch today is the in-form Dylan van Baarle, who will aim to get Cannondale's first WorldTour win since Davide Formolo won a stage early on in the 2015 Giro d'Italia...
While all eyes are on Tom Boonen there are plenty more riders in with a realistic chance of winning today. Read my thoughts in my latest Blazin' Saddles blog...
We now have a dozen riders with a 100m gap on the pack but yet again it's going to come to nothing. The pace is so fast today and - like last year - nothing is sticking in this early phase of the race.
That two-man break peaked at 17 seconds but has now been swallowed up and we have numerous other riders now trying their luck on a slight uphill rise - including riders from Wanty and Cannondale...
Tom Boonen and compatriot Greg van Avermaet are chatting back in the peloton. The two Belgians are two of the big favourites for today's race: it would be Boonen's fifth Roubaix and eighth monument win in 42 appearance, while it would be van Avermaet's first in 36. GVA has been on stellar form, though, and many believe the Olympic champion would have won last Sunday's Tour of Flanders had he not crashed with Peter Sagan on the Kwaremont.
That break has come to nothing and we now have two riders out in front: Jasha Sutterlin (Movistar) and Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis). They have 10 seconds but it's clear to say that they're not going to hold on for long unless they're joined by more bodies.
Kenneth Vanbilsen of Cofidis is in this small leading group, while the Cannondale riders are Paddy Bevin and William Clarke. But it looks like they're going to be reeled in very soon.
Two more riders have joined the leaders so we have 10 out ahead now but the gap is the same in seconds, so it's very much touch and go for them. One of those riders who joined is Alexis Gougeard of Ag2R-La Mondiale.
That leading group is slowly being reeled in, with a handful of riders trying to bridge over but the gaps still very slight.
Just remember that the first of those 29 cobbled sectors does not come until the riders have taken down 97km - so that's with 160km remaining. From that point, those sectors come thick and fast. This tweet says it all... including the odd typo here and there.
Eight riders have opened up a small gap with a fierce chase going on behind to bridge over. Cannondale have two riders in this group - and three right on the back of the peloton, book-ending this race nicely.
We've had numerous attempts from riders to break clear in these opening kilometres but so far nothing has stuck. The latest dig comes from Direct Energie, who have a good track record in this race getting riders in the first move...
And they're off! Christian Prudhomme waves the flag from the car and the race is under way... Expect a fierce battle to get in the break today.
The popular narrative today is for Belgium's Tom Boonen (Quick-Step Floors) to win a record-breaking fifth Paris-Roubaix crown in his final professional race. The 36-year-old, who finished runner up to Mat Hayman last year, retires from the sport after today's race - the 42 monument of his illustrious career.
The big news - which isn't news, really, because we knew it all along - is that the sun is out in northern France and there isn't a cloud in the sky. That means that we'll have a dry Paris-Roubaix for the 11th year running. And together with a favourable tailwind that's why today's start was put back 20 minutes: because the organisers feel that today's race could well be a quick one.
The riders have rolled out of Compiegne and are currently soft-pedalling through the neutral zone ahead of the official start. Here's the view from the man behind race radio...
Today's race is 257km long and features 55km of cobbles across 29 sectors. In the words of the official race Twitter handle, Bring it on!
Good morning and welcome to live coverage of the 115th edition of Paris-Roubaix: the Hell of the North, the Queen of the Classics, the brutal dusty/muddy one with the cobbles where everyone falls off or collides with spectators... call it what you want, this is the big one, and the third monument of the season.