German cyclist John Degenkolb has added the Paris-Roubaix, completing a rare double after winning the the Milan-San Remo early this year. it was a victory of historic proportions
It was the first time a German had won the traditional spring race in 119 years. The event covers 253.5 of rugged terrain with 27 cobblestone sections. Delgenkolb followed in the footsteps of Josef Fischer, the victor in the first edition of the race in 1896, the only other German to win it.
Three weeks ago, Delgenkolb won the Milan-San Remo. He is thus only the third cyclist to pull off this particular double and the first since Ireland's Sean Kelly in 1986. Zdenek Stybar of the Czech Republic and Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet completed the podium in the "Queen of the Classics."
Delgenkolb came out in front of a final sprint after holding off a challenge by Van Avermaet. Whatever his competitors threw at him, the German had an answer.
"San Remo was already emotional but this is topping everything," Delgenkolb said after the race. "This is the race I always dreamt of winning"
The victory carried prize money of more than 30,000 euros. Delgenkolb can now look forward to the Tour de France in June, but not before getting some well-deserved rest.
"It was mentally and physically difficult for me, but I'm in good form," he said. "I'd like to put in another good performance."
The race was disrupted after 162 kilometers when a gate at a railway crossing went down, nearly hitting French sprinter Arnaud Demare and splitting the peloton. But race officials neutralized the race to allow the trapped riders to cross the junction.
Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, competing in his final big road race, finished a respectable 18th.