08/04/18 - 10:20
Road race - Men
Paris - Roubaix • Stage1

Road race - Men

Follow the Paris - Roubaix live with Eurosport. The Paris - Roubaix race starts at 10:20 on 8 April 2018. Find Paris - Roubaix results, calendar, standings and table. Get all the info on the teams to watch.
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Confirmation of today's top ten.


And this was a nice touch after Sagan's victory with Dillier joining the celebrations. A superb ride from the Swiss champion.


And the moment Peter secured a cobblestone trophy...


Taylor Phinney, Zdenek Stybar and Jens Debusschere completing the top ten, incidentally.


The moment Peter Sagan won Paris-Roubaix.


Greg Van Avermaet beats Jasper Stuyven for fourth place, with Sep Vanmarcke finishing sixth. A further 2:33 back, Nils Politt sprints for what is probably seventh place in the main pack.


Niki Terpstra enters the velodrome alone moments after Sagan wins and he will take third place, 57 seconds down. The Dutchman waves at the crowd and takes in the atmosphere - another podium after his victory in Flanders last Sunday.


Victory for Peter Sagan! He comes from behind to zip past Dillier on the final bend and take his first victory in Paris-Roubaix.


Sagan has him where he wants him...


Stefan Dillier leads Peter Sagan onto the velodrome... and the bell rings...


Entering the last kilometre and it's time for the final sprint...


Sagan leads the duo onto the final section of cobbles...


Sagan empties his bidon, which he will soon discard ahead of the final sprint. Just one small cobble section to go before the two riders will enter the velodrome and open up their final sprint.


The gap is up to one minute - and it looks increasingly like Sagan is going to win this after launching a winning move 53km from the finish.


Just 5km to go until the finish - and the last world champion to win Paris-Roubaix was Bernard Hinault in 1981. Can Sagan do it? Or will Dillier surprise us all?


Still Dillier is taking his turns - bravo to him. He may well be leading out the world champion, but he still has a chance at glory himself. They have 55 seconds and so it should be contested between them in the velodrome - but you never know...


This is a real bone-jangling sector - with loads of potholes tarmac sections as well. Both Sagan and Dillier are really wrestling their bikes - knowing that if they pick up a puncture now, it's game over.


We're onto the penultimate cobbles section of Willems to Hem - just 1.4km and only a three star rating. The gap is back up to 50 seconds.


Terpstra leads the chase ahead of Stuyven, GVA and Vanmarcke - but they're all taking turns with decent pulls. Terpstra won Flanders last weekend and is the in-form rider, while GVA and Stuyven are probably the fastest if it came to a sprint (Sagan aside). Vanmarcke looks like he'll have another high finish with very little returns.


Just 10km to go now in the 116th edition of Paris-Roubaix with leading duo Sagan and Dillier holding a slender 45-second advantage over four chasers - Terpstra, Vanmarcke, Stuyven and the defending champion Van Avermaet. Two more cobble sections to go...


Dillier, in his defence, is taking his turns like a pro. This is the 27-year-old's seventh major classic and only second Roubaix (he didn't finish his maiden race in 2014). His best finish in a monument is 38th in Milan-Sanremo in 2015. Today he's in line for a top ten - and could still even win. That would be a shock, mind.


Sagan is starting to empty his pockets in anticipation of the finale. He will know that Dillier will probably start to sandbag him soon - and he will be informed that the elite chasing quartet has closed the gap to 55 seconds.


With the Carrefour done, Sagan leads Dillier onto sector 3 at Gruson. There's a bit of a track on the right which means the riders can avoid riding the cobbles for a decent stretch. Their lead is down to one minute now.


Is this the moment Peter Sagan won Paris-Roubaix? Watch how the world champion broke clear with 55km remaining...

Video - Sagan attacks with 53km to go in Paris-Roubaix


Sagan is a monster. Dillier is really digging deep to hold on. The gap is still 1:10 for these two leaders. Behind, Jens Debuschere has blown leaving Terpstra, Vanmarcke, Van Avermaet and Stuyven riding in pursuit.


Right, time for the final five-star cobbled sector - the iconic 2.1km long Carrefour de l'Arbre. Our leading duo still have 1:15 to play with. But anything can happen on these truly brutal cobbles. In fact, Dillier is thrown all over the road as he tries to hold on to Sagan's back wheel.


Now Terpstra comes to the front to up the tempo. Phinney, his job done, drops back - and Van Avermaet is also struggling to stay in touch here.


Sagan's upright style makes him look so casual and relaxed - but he's putting in a titanic effort here on the cobbles. They complete the section - and behind Van Aert picks up a puncture and needs to change his rear wheel. Or perhaps he just dropped his chain. Either way, he's lost contact and needs to chase back on. Behind there's a five-man second chase group that includes Stybar and Naesen.


The leaders are onto sector 5 of Camphin-en-Pevele, the 1.8km four-star apron to the main course that follows... and still the gap is a huge 1:27 as Taylor Phinney takes up the chase behind for his leader Sep Vanmarcke.


Dillier doesn't really have much choice but to ride for Sagan for his team-mates Oliver Naesen and Stijn Vandenberg appear to be out of the picture now, so the Swiss champion is Ag2R-La Mondiale's only hope.


Remember, you can watch the finale of Paris-Roubaix on the Eurosport Player...


The cobbles come thick and fast now as the riders hit Sector 6 at Bourghelles. Still Dillier is putting in the turns and giving it his all - the Swiss doing Sagan a huge favour - as their lead stretches to 1:25.


Through the cobbles they go and our leading duo now have 1:05 on the elite chase group. Terpstra and Stuyven lead the chase with EF-Drapac duo Vanmarcke and Phinney sitting right on the back.


All three leaders are fuelling up ahead of the final push. They still have 55 seconds over the seven-man chase group as they hit sector 7 of Cysoing - which is 1.3km and three stars when it comes to the ratings. Sagan has his hands on the top of his bars as he digs in - and only Dillier can follow. Wallays starts to drop back... and so there were two.


Can Peter Sagan hold on? He's riding with escapees Silvan Dillier and Jelle Wallays, picking up a new bidon and some gels. He's even taken a tool from his team car and is fiddling with his stem - perhaps to tighten his bars up.


Here was that crash earlier that ended the chances of Tony Martin, Alexander Kristoff and Luke Rowe.

Video - 'Kristoff, Martin, Rowe... all on the ground!' - Peloton rocked by big crash


Sagan leads the trio onto sector 8a of Templeuve, just 200m long, but joined more or less to sector 8b, the 500m to Moulin-de-Vertain. Flags and fans everywhere in this intriguing, yet far from vintage, edition of Paris-Roubaix. The sun is out and we've had no rain. And it's about to get into the business end of the race.


We're through sector 9 at Pont-Thibault and are now approaching the two tier section 8. The chasing six-man group now has 20 seconds on the main pack and have been joined by Jens Debuscherre of Lotto Soudal.


Van Avermaet and Phinney have joined Jasper Stuyven, Sep Vanmarcke, Wout Van Aert and Niki Terpstra to form this select six-man chasing group. But they're one minute down on the leading Sagan trio and only 10 seconds clear of the main pack, which has now regrouped a little after that crash-and-cobbles interlude.


Section 10 at Merignies-Avelin is the shortest, at just 700m long. Sagan drives the leaders through the crowds and dust. The world champion has no option but to continue. He'd have regretted no-one coming with him when he attacked because he only has two tired escapees to rely on, with QuickStep and EF-Drapac leading the chase behind.


Stuyven and Van Aert caught Bystrom just before the end of the cobbles. This trio is about to be caught by the six elite riders in pursuit. They trail the three leaders - including Sagan - by 40 seconds.


Terpstra, Gilbert, Vanmarcke, Phinney, Van Avermaet and Vandenbergh have a gap over the other riders in the pack after the cobbles.


Phinney and Vandenberg have been caught just as Terpstra attacks with Vanmarcke in his wheel. The race is now well and truly on.


Bystrom has a puncture so we're down to three in the lead. Sagan, Dillier and Wallays have 30 seconds on the Stuyven and Van Aert chasing group, with the pack 50 seconds back now after being disrupted by the crash.


CRASH: There's a touch of wheels in the pack and one of the Quick-Step riders swerves and causes Kristoff, Martin and Rowe to hit the deck at top speed. Their races are over - and that's terrible for all three were riding well, especially Martin.


Right, we're onto the second five-star cobbled section 11 of Mons-en-Pevele, a huge, energy-sapping 3km of jagged cobbles and tight turns.


Attack from the pack from Taylor Phinney of EF-Drapac, who takes Stijn Vandenbergh with him. Remember, they have Stuyven and Van Aert ahead in pursuit of the four leaders, who include Sagan.


Sagan combines with the three other leaders, riding alongside Dillier on the front. It's a bold move from Sagan to go so early - but he needed to try a different tactic and, to be fair, if anyone is strong enough to pull this off, it's him.


Sagan has the leading trio in his sights - and he may well ride right past them once he catches them up. They're all riding in the gutter for now, with the pack 30 seconds back. Stuyven and Van Aert are leading the chase.


There's no response as everyone hesitates, allowing Sagan to ride clear ahead of the four-star sector 12 of Auchy-lez-Orchies a Bersee section. The three leaders still have 40 seconds with John Degenkolb coming to the front as the cobbles start, with Oss in his wheel.


Now Peter Sagan is going solo - responding to some gesticulations of frustration from Van Avermaet with an acceleration of his own.


Another attack from the defending champion, throwing down the hammer just as many riders are taking on fresh bidons. Wout van Aert has it covered and it comes to nothing.


Big move from Greg van Avermaet - forcing a reply from Niki Terpstra. All the big guns are there with Sagan, Gilbert, Vanmarcke, Martin and Siberg all loitering.


Yves Lampaert is struggling a little off the back of the pack. With the leaders, it's Silvan Dillier doing all the work for the leading trio. Stybar has been caught after his foray off the front.


Right, time for sector 13 now - the 1.7km Orchies. Bora-Hansgrohe are back on the front now with Burghardt doing the work for Peter Sagan.


We haven't mentioned him yet, but Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) is in the main pack, while Alexander Kristoff looks more settled following his early problems. They trail the leaders by 40 seconds with Stybar in between having just caught Robeet.


Daniel Oss on the attack! He did it last year for BMC and now he's doing it for Bora-Hansgrohe. Can Sagan benefit from the work which set up Van Avermaet last year? Maybe not - for now, at least - for the Italian has been chased down by Lars Bak of Lotto Soudal.


It's not Smukulis, as reported earlier, in this leading group of four. Well, make that three - because Robeet has now been dropped leaving Dillier, Bystrom and Wallays out ahead.


We're onto sector 14 at Beuvry-la-foret, which is 2.7km and rated three star. Stybar has dropped Soler and now rides solo in pursuit of the four leaders. Soler has been caught by the pack, led by Martin.


Taylor Phinney is in the mix for EF-Drapac as the main pack close in on reeling in both the Stybar group and the remnants of the early break. Daniel Oss is now riding tempo for Bora.


Tony Martin accelerates and Sagan has it covered. They lead the chase coming out of the Sars-et-Rosieres section, but Mads Pedersen appears to have been dropped. Stybar is back in time trial mode, giving his hands a rest, with Soler in his wheel. A quartet around Vandenbergh and John Degenkolb - is in pursuit, but it looks like they will be caught by the main pack soon.


It looks like Heinrich Haussler of Bahrain Merida is now leading the main pack. Stybar is 45 seconds down on the leaders and 20 seconds ahead of the main pack.


MArc Soler has been dropped by the leaders and just passed by Stybar on sector 15 at Tilloy - Sars-et-Rosieres, another four-star sector. The four leaders - Bystrom, Wallays, Dillier and Smukulis - have 1:10 over the main pack. Soler, to be fair, has managed to dig in and hold Sytbar's back wheel.


Trek and Lotto have send a man clear in pursuit of Vandenbergh and Stybar. Lotto still have Wallays leading the tempo on the front of the break 1:15 up the road. Marcus Burghardt leads the chase for teammate Sagan, in third wheel.


QuickStep clearly sticking to a plan here as Stybar attacks the moment Gilbert is reeled in. The Czech national champion time trials clear with an Ag2R-La Mondiale rider in pursuit. He has about 20 seconds on the pack as he hits sector 16 at Warlaing. And the rider in pursuit is former Quick-Step rider Vandenbergh, who has the Strava record on this current segment...


The Gilbert-Politt-Soupe-Teunissen group have been joined by a BMC rider and a Delko Marseille rider - but they're now reabsorbed into the pack as Zdenek Stybar takes up the slack for QuickStep.


Kristoff is back in the main back, by the way, alongside the likes of Stybar and Oss. They're quite gar back, though, as Ian Stannard returns to the front to set a fast tempo. The gaps are coming down and the Gilbert group will soon be caught by the main pack.


More problems for Arnaud Demare, who is off the back of the main pack again - either after another mechanical or simply with bad legs. To be fair, the hole bunch has been blown apart on this sector - it's strung out and there are some very weary limbs out there.


Trek-Segafredo have both Degenkolb and Stuyven now on the front of the pack as they close in on Lotto Soudal's Jens Debusshere - I think - who had a little dig off the front.


The five leaders hit the 3.7km sector 17 of Hornaing with a gap of 1:40 to play with. An incredible ride so far from young Soler, the Spanish climber who won Paris-Nice in March and is only making his first appearance on the cobbles. Further back, Gilbert, Polit and Teunnissen have caught Soupe, Thomsen and teammates Robeet and Duquennoy.


Polit has joined Gilbert and Teunissen - and behind, there's an attack by Wout van Aert. Luke Rowe has it covered, with Vanmarcke and some of the QuickSteppers there. The gap for the nine leaders is 1:55. I say nine - they were nine, but they may be doen to five now: Bystrom, Wallays, Dillier, Smukulis and Soler.


Could this be the winning move? Gilbert has gone BIG and LONG but he's building up a gap with Teunissen, with Polit struggling to close it down and the main pack being led by Pedersen 25 seconds back.


The pace in the pack appears to have slowed as Nils Polit (Katusha) rides in lone pursuit of Gilbert and Teunissen. The leaders have just completed sector 18 at Wallers, which the pack hits right now. Past the iconic Pont Gibus go the two chasers with a gap of 10 seconds on Polit and 20 seconds on the pack.


Gilbert and Teunissen have 10 seconds with a number of riders trying to bridge over - including Mads Pedersen, runner-up last week in Flanders.


Yes, it's Mike Teunissen and Philippe Gilbert who have opened up a small gap over the other big favourites. Meanwhile, the break has reformed after splitting up on the Arenberg. They have 2:08 over the pack as Tony Martin leads the chase.


Sieberg leads the main pack off the Arenberg, trailing that two-man move by about 15 seconds. Bora have Sagan, Oss and Burghardt there.


Sunweb and Quick-Step have riders going clear - it is Teunissen and Gilbert?


Team Sky's Dylan Van Baarle has been dropped on the Arenberg, while Arnaud Demare is struggling a little too. Meanwhile, the four leaders - which includes Dillier and Soler - have opened up a gap over the other escapees.


Peter Sagan is right on the front with team-mate Marcus Burghardt as the pack hits the Arenberg. Sep Vanmarcke is right there too, as is Seiberg.


The break has split into two with four leades edging away from the five others. Meanwhile, the bunch of favourites behind is down to just 50-odd riders.


The break has the five-star sector 19 of the Trouee d'Arenberg - the most famous of them all, which was first introduced in 1968 and has been causing chaos ever since. They have 2:33 to play with. Read this long feature to learn all about the history of this iconic section of road through the Arenberg forest.


The fight for positions continues in the pack as Bora, BMC, Sky, QuickStep and some of the other big teams jostle ahead of the Arenberg.


CRASH: Big spill in the peloton after a rider skids on the muddy verge and causes chaos. One of the riders be brings down is Matteo Trentin of Mitchelton-Scott, who looks like he may have to abandon the race.


The peloton is onto that sector at Haveluy now - this was the section that was so muddy a few days ago that the race organisers had to send down a machine to hose it off. Back on the front it's Tony Martin of Katusha and Marcel Sieberg of Lotto Soudal.


French veteran Sylvain Chavanel has clearly taken a tumble - either that or the Direct Energie rider cries tears of blood.


Now Team Sky have come to the front to up the tempo and those moves by Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis) and Marco Haller (Katusha) come to nothing. The gap for the nine leaders is 2:55. They're approaching the four-star sector 20 of Haveluy.


Dylen Groenewegen also needed mechanical assistance from his LottoNL-Jumbo car around the same time as Degenkolb needed attention. He's also back with the main pack as another rider - this time from Cofidis - tries his luck off the front. Less than 10km to the Arenberg now...


The pace slows on the front of the pack after Zdenek Stybar needs to drop back. A Katusha-Alpecin riders exploits this lull and truce by riding clear on a mad solo break in pursuit of the leaders.


Degenkolb has managed to rejoin the peloton after his mechanical - but he did so alone, which goes to show that Trek-Segafredo may fancy Jasper Stuyven's chances more than the 2015 champion. Or that they simply had faith in the German to fight back.


The leaders have finished sector 21 at Maing - just as the main pack rides onto the 1.6km sector. The gap is three minutes and Quick-Step are back on the front. Meanwhile, John Degenkolb - one of four former winners of this race in the pack - needs to change his bike. The Trek Segafredo rider will have a fight to get back into contention now.


Tim Declercq, who has been working very hard for Quick-Step, is currently on the back of the peloton - perhaps after a mechanical. The Belgian is riding back into contention. He will be a key match to burn for the Wolf Pack later in the race.


Geoffrey Soupe has been doing the lion's share of the pace-setting in the break, the bearded Frenchman holding the gap above three minutes for the leaders. Back in the pack, Marcel Seiberg is back on the front for Lotto Soudal with Ian Stannard in his wheel.


The leaders are on sector 22 at Querenaing, which the peloton has just started - led by Ian Stannard of Team Sky. The British team have already lost Geraint Thomas after that crash in the opening sector at Troisville.


Ag2R-La Mondiale's Stijn Vandenbergh, who used to ride for Quick-Step, has joined his former colleagues on the front of the pack, which is all strung out again with numerous riders being pinged off the back.


We're all keeping everything crossed for Belgium's Michael Goolaerts of Verandas Willems-Crelan, who hit the deck heavily in the second sector today. He was motionless on the side of the road and is currently en route to hospital after being treated for a cardiac arrest according to Dutch media. We will keep you updated.


Confirmation that Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) has withdrawn. The Welshman seems incapable of avoiding the spills on all surfaces and yet again he has a DNF against his name in a major race.


The peloton are now on the 2-star sector of Saulzoir, with Quick-Step still on the front. The gap is down to 3:50 for the nine leaders, who themselves are about to start the three-star sector 23 of Verchain-Maugre.


The break hits sector 24 at Saulzoir with 4:20 to play with. It's quite a quiet sector here with very few fans and a forgiving dirt trail alongside the cobbles. It's impressive to see Spanish debutant Marc Soler there - but judging from the chaos behind, it's really the best place to be: out ahead and away from the incidents and, hopefully, crashes.


Quick-Step now have FIVE riders on the front of the pack setting the tempo before the next cobbled sector. Oliver Naesen has a few team-mates with him as he also rides back after his mechanical.


Things are calming down - ever so slightly - as Tony Martin sets up shop on the front for Katusha, alongside Keisse and Senechal of Quick-Step. The nine escapees have 4:10 to play with, while Demare is still trying to ride back to the main favourites after his wheel change.


The leaders come through the new section of cobbles, #25 at Saint-Vaast, without any problems. Their lead is 4:35 with Quick-Step still setting the tempo through Florian Senechal. The latest rider to rejoin the pack after early toil is Marcel Kittel, making his first appearance in this race since 2011.


CRASH: A handful of riders skid over on a tight right-hand bend in the peloton. Nothing serious, but it just goes to show that it's not only the cobbles that cause damage and take their toll. It looked like Daniel Oss and Gianni Moscon who went down first.


Wheel changes for the French and Belgian national champions as Arnaud Demare and Oliver Naesen stop because of punctures. They'll have a fight on ahead of the next cobbled sector.


Here was that big crash on the first sector...


The leaders are onto section 26 of Quievy, the first four-star section and a long one at 3.7km. Kristoff has also made it back to the strung-out peloton now, with Quick-Step still setting the tempo.


Greg van Avermaet is back with the peloton after his scare. It's worth remembering that he was distanced in last year's Roubaix after an early incident but still managed to fight back and win.


Another withdrawal to report - Magnus Cort Nielsen of Astana appears to have called it a day after coming down hard in that early crash.


Meanwhile, the nine leaders are down to eight after Ludovich Robeet has a mechanical issue with his gears. The Belgian has another team-mate in the break - Jimmy Duquennoy - and should fight back once he's sorted out his shifter. The gap is 5:15 for the leaders as the peloton starts to regroup behind.


The pack is onto the third sector, #27, at Saint-Python. Another rider distanced by early strife is the European champion, Alexander Kristoff of UAE Team Emirates.


And it looks like Geraint Thomas of Team Sky also came down in that early crash...


Van Avermaet has three BMC riders working him back into the main pack, while Quick-Step have sent Yves Lampaert on the front to keep the tempo high before the next cobbled section. Groups all over the road in this race, which has blown apart after that early crash on section 29.


Tony Martin (Katusha) opens up a gap and strings out the main pack accordingly, the German really throwing down the hammer. We also saw a Verandas Willems-Crelan rider lying prostrate on the side of the road after what must have been a nasty crash in the mud. It's carnage out there.


Tom Van Asbroeck of EF-Drapac was involved in the crash and now rides covered in mud in one of those chasing groups alongside Sky's Dylan van Baarle, who must have been caught out.


Marcel Seiberg is on the front for Lotto Soudal of this main pack. Vanmarcke, Sagan and Tony Martin are all near the front as well. But it's only about 45-strong, with a second peloton about 20 seconds back and the van Avermaet group 40 seconds back.


Greg van Avermaet is one of the riders fighting back after that crash. Things now going well for the defending champion, who has already lost BMC teammate Stefan Kung. The main pack has just started sector 28, which is 3km long and quite muddy. Iljo Keisse has taken up the slack for the Wolf Pack.


Meanwhile, the leaders are onto sector 28 at Viesly a Briastre. Their advantage is down to 6:15.


The peloton has split following that crash with a large gruppetto chasing back now that the first cobbled section is over. On the front of the main pack, it's Bora and QuickStep who are setting the tempo.


We're hearing that the Movistar rider who crashed before the cobbles was Nelson Oliviera and that he's withdrawn from the race. "We can confirm Nelson Oliveira is conscious and stable after his hard crash before the first cobbled sector."


CRASH: A dozen riders hit the deck in the middle of the peloton after an incident in the mud caused a right skittle in the pack. Loads of riders are held up and a Katusha man looks rather worse for wear. Oliver Naesen was held up but didn't go down.


Right away we have Niki Terpstra of Quick-Step Floors - the Ronde van Vlaanderen winner and 2014 Roubaix champion - who comes to the front to drive the pace.


The Groupama-FDJ team of Arnaud Demare come to the front as the road narrows ahead of the first cobbled section. And both Bora and Sky are there as the peloton his sector 29 at Troisvilles. It's show time!


The nine leaders get through the first sector - which didn't seem as muddy as reported - without any problems, although they have already lost a minute of their advantage. The peloton is driving towards the cobbles with Bora and EF-Drapac on the front.


COBBLES AHOY! The first sector at Troisvilles a Inchy (2.2km) is under way. The gap is eight minutes for the break.


BMC have confirmed that Kung is out because of a crash involving team-mate Jurgen Roelandts.


We're hearing that Stefan Kung of BMC has withdrawn from the race - we're not sure if that's because he's ill or had a crash, but it's a big blow for Greg van Avermaet the defending champion.


CRASH: Frome nowhere a Movistar rider skids and comes over his handlebars and lands heavily on his shoulder on the grass verge. That was acrobatic and extremely dramatic. We think it's Carlos Barbero. // CORECTION: It's Nelson Oliviera.


More info on the tried-and-tested favourites...


And finally, the slight outsiders with a one-star rating... They are: Florian Senechal, Magnus Cort, Edward Theuns, Dylen Groenewegen, Marcel Sieberg, Damien Gaudin, Sylvain Chavanel, Mathew Hayman (the surprise 2016 winner), Geraint Thomas, Luke Rowe, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Heinrich Haussler and Stijn Vandenbergh.


The two-star riders? Arnaud Demare, John Degenkolb, Daniel Oss, Jurgen Roelandts, Tony Martin, Oliver Naesen, Matteo Trentin, Gianni Moscon, Dylan van Baarle, Mads Pedersen. Since winning in 2015, Degenkolb hasn't quite been the same rider following his subsequent training crash in Spain. Belgian champion Naesen was in the wars last week in Flanders, while Denmark's Pedersen rode with gusto for second place behind Terpstra in Oudenaarde after featuring in the break with Sebastian Langeveld, who was third last year and has two more top tens in Roubaix.


What of the three-star riders? Well, I've put Peter Sagan there. Many will think that the triple world champion merits a higher rating - but the Slovakian showman has never finished in the top 5 here and last year, after two punctures, was a lowly 38th. But he does have Daniel Oss as a loyal Bora-Hansgrohe team-mate today, and that could make a huge difference for him in the finale. Others on three stars are the 2015 Flanders winner Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), Belgian nearly-man Sep Vanmarcke (EF-Drapac) and a fourth from the Wolf Pack, Yves Lampaert. Kristoff has been a bit off-the-boil since his move from Katusha, but he knows what it takes to win over the cobbles, Vanmarcke surely must deliver some time soon, while Dwars door Vlaanderen winner Lampaert could go under the radar because of his illustrious team-mates.


Latest mud-on-cobbles news from the first sector (#29 at Troisvilles) coming up in a 10 minutes or so.


Right, let's take advantage of this lull to run through the main favourites. The way I see it, Quick-Step could finish with three on the podium - although clearly they won't. But they are that strong. For me, the five-star riders for today are last week's Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Niki Terpstra and his Quick-Step team-mate Zdenek Stybar, who was runner-up last year. The four-star riders are Philippe Gilbert - despite not having raced here since 2007 - and the defending champion Greg van Avermaet of BMC. The latter has had a disappointing season - and clearly misses Daniel Oss, who was so influential in his victory last year - but cannot be discounted because of his class. Outsiders Wout van Aert (Verandas Willems-Crelan) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) also merit four starts - the former because of his promise and skills in the mud, the latter because of his consistency.


The lead balloons to 8:18 for the nine escapees, who are combining well together ahead of the first cobbled section on the horizon. Quick-Step, Bora-Hansgrohe, Ag2R-La Mondiale are all prominent on the front of the peloton working for their men Gilbert/Stybar/Terpstra, Sagan and Naesen.


The temperature is much warmer than many expected today - as you can see...


In total there are 29 sectors of cobbles covering 54.5km. Ranging from just 700 metres long to 3.7km, the first sector of cobbles comes after 93.5km of racing while the past is located just 1km from the finish inside the historic Roubaix velodrome. Like the famous hairpin bends of Alpe d'Huez, the cobbled sectors are numbered and tackled in reverse order. The three most famous sectors are the five-star rated Trouee d'Arenberg (#19 with 95km remaining), Mons-en-Pevele (#11 with 48.5km remaining) and the Carrefour de l'Arbre (#4 with 17km to go).


The gap is up to 6:40 for the nine leaders at they edge within 25-odd kilometres from the first cobbled section at Troisville - yes, that one with all the mud tweeted just minutes ago...


More mud! Look at the conditions of the cobblestones at Troisvilles, courtesy of Andy McGrath of Rouleur magazine.


The two groups have now joined forces so we have nine leaders with a gap of almost five minutes. They are: Sven Erik Bystrøm (UAE Team Emirates), Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale), Marc Soler (Movistar Team), Ludovic Robeet (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic), Jimmy Duquennoy (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic), Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal), Geoffrey Soupe (Codifis), Jay Robert Thomson (Dimension Data) and Gatis Smukulis (Delko Marseille Provence KTM).


The pace has slowed in the pack. Everyone is taking a leak, talking to their DS, chewing the fat and taking a breather. Philippe Gilbert and Jack Bauer are deep in conversation. They're former Quick-Step team-mates, with Bauer now at Mitchelton-Scott after making the move with Matteo Trentin over the winter. They're apparently talking about Bauer's little spill earlier. Perhaps they're talking about Gilbert's prospects, too. The Belgian needs to win Roubaix to keep up his quest to win all five of cycling's monuments - he also lacks Milan-Sanremo. But it's odd to see the 36-year-old named the favourite today, given this is his first time on the cobbles of northern France for over a decade.


Smukulis has company in the form of Geoffrey Soupe (Cofidis) and Jay Robert Thomson (Dimension Data) and so we could see nine riders form the lead group once things come together. They are 25 seconds down on the leaders, who have 1:50 over the pack.


And now it's calmed down: the front of the peloton is flat as the big teams take their collective feet off the gas and decide to sit up. Some take the chance to stop and take a comfort break, so it looks like that break will be allowed to stay out. Once Smukulis joins they will be seven riders, including Ag2R-La Mondiale's Silvan Dillier, the Swiss national champion. Dillier could be a useful teammate for Oliver Naesen later on - which is probably why Quick-Step were concerned.


A Delko Marseille Provence KTM rider - Gatis Smukulis - is doing his best to join the leaders - and then, all of a sudden, the pace is ramped up when Quick-Step and Dimension Data decide they're not happy with the way things are. Meanwhile, off the back of the pack Jack Bauer (Mitchelton-Scott) is receiving some attention to a cut elbow. The New Zealander must have had a small spill.


The four chasers - who have now bridged over - include another Roubaix debutant, the Spainard Marc Soler of Movistar. These six riders have 25 seconds now. Full details coming up.


That's not the only muddy cobbled section...


Famous last words, eh? Those two riders - Jelle Wallays and Ludo Robeet - are still out ahead and now have four chasers about to join them. Meanwhile, we have this from sector 25 at Saint-Vaast, a new cobbled sector in this year's race, and one that looks very muddy despite the sunshine. Wout van Aert, the cyclocross specialist making his own debut in the race, will be excited about those conditions. The Belgian youngster, who finished ninth in his debit Tour of Flanders a week ago, is currently off the back of the peloton visiting his Verandas Willems-Crelan team car.


Lotto Soudal and WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic have sent a rider ahead, this duo riding with a small gap over the peloton. But their advantage isn't huge and - like all moves before - it is bound to come to nothing. So far it's a real battle of attrition out there in the sunshine of northern France.


As expected, there were way too many riders getting involved there and all those groups came back together. It was Florian Senechal who helped neutralise the danger there for Quick-Step, the Frenchman tipped by many as an outsider today - although the former Cofidis man will surely be on team duty for the likes of Terpstra, Gilbert, Stybar and Lampaert...


There's loads of movement now as three of four groups form off the front of the pack after a medley of attacks. No one wants to let a move go and so most teams get represented in the chase. It's going to take a while to get on top of who's where and what's what...


Great stat here about the cobbles standing between the riders and the Roubaix velodrome today, courtesy of our man in the commentary box, Rob Hatch.


Feillu is taking advantage of a tailwind on this exposed section of the race, but his gap is small and there are a cluster of riders trying to bridge over. It's fair to day, a Feillu win today would be a turn-up for the books - even more unlikely than Leicester City winning the Premier League.


Here's a full preview of the race, the route, the riders, the ratings, the rewards, the records and the rain (which has not materialised). The header is a riff on the war of words coming from last week's Tour of Flanders, where Peter Sagan complained that his rivals handed it on a plate to Quick-Step - aka the Wolf Pack.


BRICE FEILLU ON THE ATTACK! The French climber is throwing caution to the wind to ride clear of the pack once that four-man move was neutralised by the peloton.


FOUR RIDERS AHEAD: De Bondt, Pichot, Van Zyl and Jones have 15 seconds with some riders trying to bridge over.


We have a break forming now after a move made by a solitary Bahrain-Merida rider sparked some activity behind. Quick-Step Floors have sent a rider out to cover it - and numerous riders bridge across. But it comes to nothing...


World champion Peter Sagan is always named among the favourites for every race he does - and that's the case again today. But the triple world champion doesn't have a stellar record here in Paris-Roubaix - in six starts he has never made the top five.


Sep Vanmarcke already with a mechanical problem! The Belgian - who crashed twice in last weekend's Tour of Flanders - is off the back of the peloton having his mechanic adjust his saddle. The EF-Drapac rider is due a big result - in fact, his only ever major one-day win was the semi-classic Omloop Het Niewsblad back in 2012. In 18 monuments, Vanmarcke has finished third in the Ronde twice, fourth in Roubaix twice, and once runner-up (2013). He didn't race Roubaix last year after being ruled out with an injury.


It's a fairly busy start with numerous riders trying their luck. But for now, it's still one, long, strung-out peloton.


They're off! Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour de France and ASO's head honcho, waves the flag and we're under way. Expect an early break to form at some point - provided Quick-Step are happy with the composition - and a fair few mechanicals ahead of the first cobbled section, which doesn't come for about 95km of racing.


The peloton is currently rolling through the neutral zone ahead of the big start. Quick-Step Floors - the self-styled Wolfpack - have two riders on the front, ready to monitor all the early moves. Expect action right from the outset.


And voila, the riders at the start ahead of the neutral zone. And despite all that rain last week - and reports of crazily muddy cobbles - it's a sunny day with temperatures set to rise to 20 degrees. So, the wait for a wet Roubaix continues: the last one was 2002.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of the 116th edition of Paris-Roubaix - a brutal 257km slog over the cobblestones of northern France. They don't call it the Hell of the North for nothing...