Mathieu van der Poel was proud of his podium finish at Paris-Roubaix, saying his intention on the bike is to “die trying.”
The Dutchman produced a monumental effort in the rain-lashed and mud-covered cobbles of northern France.
He put in mammoth turns on the front and looked primed for victory when breakaway leader Gianni Moscon was hit by mechanical issues and a crash.
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However, in the sprint to the line in the famous Velodrome in Roubaix, he could not repel Sonny Colbrelli and eventually crossed the line in third.
He crashed to the ground in a mix of exhaustion and disappointment, and looked glum on the podium.
Van der Poel will now take a break before returning for cyclo-cross later in the year, but will have great memories of his first Paris-Roubaix.
"If I'm not winning a race I want to die trying. I can be proud,” the 26-year-old said. “My legs were empty at the end of the race. I am proud that I cracked the podium in my first participation in Paris-Roubaix. It was really hard.
"Even though it was my first edition I feel it’s one for the history books and never to forget."

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Van der Poel’s cyclo-cross skills were on show on the cobbles, as he regularly made up ground on the technical sections but his massive effort in leading the chase of Moscon took a toll.
“In the Arenberg forest, I showed myself for the first time,” the Alpecin-Fenix rider said. “From that moment on the race never stopped.
"I managed to make up a lot with my technical skills on the pave sections. During the final 30-40km I was constantly riding on the limit.
"It was a really long finale which took its toll at the end of the race, even though I took a gel every 5-10km in the final 50km. I wanted to have enough energy but in the end, I lacked something to finish it off.
“You’re hoping that the others are dead too and that’s obviously the case. I hoped that I would be the least dead among the three of us for the sprint but it ended up that I was the one that was completely dead."
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