Van Avermaet outsprints rivals to win first Paris-Roubaix

Greg Van Avermaet claimed the first Monument victory of his career with a late sprint in Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.

Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet added Paris-Roubaix to his impressive palmares with a gutsy ride across the cobble-laden route on Sunday.

Van Avermaet had twice been denied victory in the gruelling one-day race as he finished fourth in 2013 and third two years later.

He grabbed top spot in 2017, though, with a late burst in the Roubaix velodrome that saw off Zdenek Stybar and Sebastian Langeveld to secure the top step of the podium.

The Belgian came back from an early crash on the 257-kilometre route from Compiegne to Roubaix to take the win, successfully negotiating the 29 sections of cobbles.

It is a fourth one-day win of the year for Van Avermaet having already tasted success in Gent-Wevelgem, E3 Harelbeke and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, while it also his first Monument triumph.

Stybar (Quick - Step Floors) and Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale Drapac) had entered the velodrome with Van Avermaet, but they could not deny the 31-year-old when it came to the decisive sprint.

The trio had settled themselves in at the front for much of the tactical battle, with Daniel Oss doing a lot of work at the front for BMC Racing team-mate Van Avermaet.

"In the end I was a bit afraid of Stybar because he wasn't working with us," said the victor. "I'm really happy to have finally won a Monument because I've had a long wait for this.

"I had a bit of bad luck before the Arenberg but the team did good work. Everybody was in the right place for me and Daniel Oss did really good work and everything came together for me."

While Van Avermaet celebrated, there was disappointment for world champion Peter Sagan who saw his challenge fade after two costly punctures.

Four-time winner Tom Boonen was also unable to keep up with the pace as his final professional race ended in disappointment, the Belgian having hoped to win for a record fifth time.

Paris-Roubaix Classification

1. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) 5:41:07
2. Zdenek Stybar (Quick - Step Floors)
3. Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale Drapac)
4. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)
5. Gianni Moscon (Team Sky)
6. Arnaud Demare (FDJ) +00:00:12
7. André Greipel (Lotto Soudal)
8. Edward Theuns (Trek Segafredo)
9. Adrien Petit (Direct Energie)
10. John Degenkolb (Trek Segafredo)

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