Terpstra wins Paris-Roubaix race

The Associated Press
Terpstra wins Paris-Roubaix race
.

View photo

Omega Pharma team cyclist Niki Terpstra, center, of the Netherlands poses on the podium after he won the 112th edition of the Paris-Roubaix cycling classic, a 257 kilometer (159.69 mile) one day race, of which 51.1 kilometers (31.7 miles) are run on cobblestones, at the velodrome in Roubaix, northern France, on Sunday, April 13, 2014. Germany's John Degenkolb, left, of the team Giant came second and Fabian Cancellara, right, of the Trek Factory team placed third. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)

ROUBAIX, France (AP) -- Niki Terpstra of the Netherlands won the Paris-Roubaix race for the first time on Sunday, making a decisive break near the end of the one-day classic to win it by 20 seconds and upstage pre-race favorites Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara.

Belgian rider Boonen was looking to win the race for a record fifth time, and the Swiss star Cancellara, who finished in third place, for a fourth time.

Terpstra outwitted his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammate Boonen after pulling ahead with about six kilometers (3.7 miles) remaining. Known as the ''hell of the north'' because it is so grueling, the race features about 50 kilometers (31 miles) of cobblestone sections along the 257-kilometer (160-mile) route.

''Maybe not (the best day) in my life, but for sure my career,'' said Terpstra, who won in a little more than six hours. ''I did the attack and I was in front but I didn't know (by) how many seconds. I was just pushing until the end.''

German rider John Degenkolb finished second after beating Cancellara in a sprint to the line. Belgian rider Sep Vanmarcke was fourth and Czech cyclist Zdenek Stybar - Terpstra's teammate - was fifth.

Boonen attacked strongly from the front as a group of eight riders, including Peter Sagan, kept the pressure on the Tour of Flanders champion Cancellara, who was tucked in the chasing pack and lacking his usual pace after being involved in a crash.

The only other four-time winner is Belgian Roger de Vlaeminck, who won in 1972, '74, '75 and '77 and the 33-year-old Boonen will have to wait another year for a chance to break the record.

Sagan took the lead and, after passing the Carrefour de l'Arbre cobblestone section, he was a few seconds ahead of a group of six riders. But Boonen caught back up with about 10 kilometers to go and Terpstra was with him.

''Tom and I came back in the front but after the last cobble section, I attacked,'' Terpstra said.

The 33-year-old Cancellara missed the chance to become the only rider to win Flanders and Roubaix back-to-back in consecutive years.

''It was really hard. The first thing was that the wind changed a lot of things. I was struggling a bit after my fall, had to change my bike and work hard to catch up,'' he said. ''That cost me a lot of energy.''

Still, after also finishing second in the Milan-San Remo classic last month, Cancellara was not too disheartened.

''I'm proud of myself because I gave my maximum, and it's the 12th time I've been on the podium (in a classic race),'' he said. ''I'm proud of that.''

Milan-San Remo winner Alexander Kristoff of Norway had a puncture in the Trouee d'Arenberg, one of the most feared cobbled sectors.

Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Hockey
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.
    • Najdawi scores 30 to lead The Citadel past Colgate 108-101

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Zane Najdawi scored a career-high 30 points, Brian White hit six 3-pointers for 20 points and The Citadel defeated Colgate 108-101 on Friday in the Holy City Hoops Classic. … More »

      AP - Sports - 5 minutes ago
    • Lawyer: 'Superfly' Snuka in hospice, has 6 months to live

      Former pro wrestling star Jimmy ''Superfly'' Snuka is in hospice care in Florida and has six months to live, his lawyer said Friday. The disclosure was made during a hearing to re-evaluate the 73-year-old Snuka's mental fitness six months after a … More »

      AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
    • Officer: Woman with Cleaves didn't mention an assault

      A police officer says a woman who's accusing former Michigan State basketball star Mateen Cleaves of sexual assault didn't indicate a crime had occurred when he talked to her at a Flint-area motel. Mundy Township Sgt. Todd Johnson testified for the … More »

      AP - Sports - 13 minutes ago
    • No. 9 Baylor hosts No. 7 Xavier in top-10 clash

      While Baylor's football program is stuck in a quagmire of scandal off the field and a five-game losing streak on the field, the Bears basketball team ascended from unranked to No. 9 in the Associated Press poll this week. Baylor already defeated … More »

      AP - Sports - 19 minutes ago
    • Oilers try to halt home woes vs. Ducks

      The Edmonton Oilers host the Anaheim Ducks Saturday. The Oilers are playing their first season at the new Rogers Place, but it's been anything but home sweet home. At 8-4-2, Edmonton has the best road record in the NHL, but has won just one of its … More »

      AP - Sports - 20 minutes ago