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It was a really fast start of the 113th edition of Paris-Roubaix, due to the tailwind. Many tried to escape. Eventually nine riders  got ahead, Sean De Bie was part of that front group. They had a maximal lead of more than nine minutes. At that point Astana, Katusha and Sky started to reduce the gap. As if the devil was involved Sean De Bie, who impressed on the cobbles, had a puncture at the Trouée d’Arenberg and so eight leaders were left.

About thirty kilometres from the end Belgian champion Jens Debusschere bridged to Stijn Vandenbergh and Bradley Wiggins. They got the company of Zdenek Stybar as well. The peloton, that was considerably reduced by that time, didn’t let them go. Twenty kilometres before entering the velodrome in Roubaix Jürgen Roelandts responded to an attack of Borut Bozic. The Lotto Soudal rider then started a solo on the cobbles of Camphin-en-Pévèle. Roelandts covered the sector of Carrefour de l’Arbre as race leader. His chasers were close and with fourteen kilometres to go the Belgian rider was caught by a group of about twenty, teammate Jens Debusschere was now with him. Yves Lampaert and Greg Van Avermaet attacked next. John Degenkolb bridged to them. This trio entered the velodrome in Roubaix together with Lars Boom, Martin Elmiger, Jens Keukeleire and Zdenek Stybar. John Degenkolb beat Stybar and Van Avermaet in the sprint. Jens Debusschere finished as ninth at 29 seconds of the winner after a strong race.

Jens Debusschere: “The race went pretty well for me, although sometimes I was positioned too far. That’s why I had to close some gaps and that cost energy. At the Forest of Wallers four riders of our team were part of the first thirty riders in the peloton. It was still a long way to go, but it was a good situation. Later I got in a group with Stybar, Vandenbergh and Wiggins, ideal for the team and me. After we got caught Jürgen attacked. Once we had covered the sector of Carrefour de l’Arbre I got in the group with Jürgen. The first seven riders in the ranking were too strong for me. Together with Luke Rowe I jumped away from the chase group. The circumstances changed all the time, I’m happy with the ninth place.”

Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Soudal: “The team animated the race again. Unfortunately we didn’t get the top result we had hoped for. Although there were moments in the race it could have turned out differently, when Jens was in the group with Wiggins or when Jürgen attacked. If Jürgen would have been joined by some riders it could have been the right move. On the other hand with about seventy kilometres to go we missed a breakaway. The team did everything they could to get back. Especially Marcel Sieberg did a good job at that point.”

“We weren’t strong enough to get a podium place. That’s the story of the past classics as well. Previous years we had less good results though. From Milan-Sanremo on we animated the race each time and we now have almost three times more WorldTour points than at this time last year. But we miss a top result. We can’t blame our riders. Now we’re looking forward to the Ardennes classics.”

 

BMC Racing Team's Campbell Flakemore crashed and broke his left collarbone while riding back to the team hotel after the finish of Wednesday's stage of the Santos Tour Down Under.

Flakemore said the accident happened while he was negotiating a turn on a descent.

"We were going pretty quickly – maybe 55 or 60 kilometers an hour," he said. "It was a left-hand turn and on the shoulder there was gravel or I maybe hit a bit of a groove. The next thing I knew I was on the ground. As soon as I got up, I knew something in my shoulder or collarbone was pretty bad."

BMC Racing Team's Dr. Scott Major said Flakemore will undergo surgery Thursday in Adelaide.

"It was a clean break in the middle part of the clavicle, which is the best place for a fracture to occur," Dr. Major said. "It is also most amenable to fixing it surgically."

In Wednesday's stage, Flakemore had been part of a three-man breakaway with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Cameron Meyer (ORICA-GreenEDGE) for more than 120 kilometers of the 150.5-km race. He went on to finish 113th on the day, 5:48 behind the stage winner.

Teammate Cadel Evans, who finished fifth on the day to climb into 10th overall, said Campbell's loss amounts to much more than simply being without a teammate for the remaining four days of the race.

"As Campbell showed in the national championships and as he showed today, he is a fantastic guy for the race," Evans said. "Just to get in that (breakaway) move was really clever and observant. He was really showing his maturity and looks like a rider to me who has the capabilities to utilize his physical potential, which is a pretty rare combination. It is really unlucky for him after what he did today and in the national championships. I was just thinking after the race what a good job he is doing."

Flakemore – the reigning Under 23 world time trial champion – finished fourth in the Australian national road race and sixth in the time trial earlier this month. New to the BMC Racing Team for 2015, he was riding in his second Santos Tour Down Under after finishing 128th overall last year while riding for UniSA-Australia, the national team squad.

Sport Director Fabio Baldato said Flakemore will definitely be missed as Evans tries to better his runner-up finish – by one second – at this race a year ago.

"It is a big loss because we saw today and yesterday that Campbell was one of the strongest riders," Baldato said. "He is a great teammate and a great worker. The other guys are really upset about what happened. Now we will need to be more attentive. But we still have five strong riders next to Cadel."

Listen to complete comments from Baldato and Evans on the BMC Racing Team's Audio Line:
http://bit.ly/1E14xIb

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