Sonny Colbrelli navigates treacherous conditions to clinch maiden Paris-Roubaix title

The Italian, making his debut in the famous one-day race, cycled through mud in wet weather conditions before clinching the title in a sprint finish.

Picture by 2017 Getty Images

Italy's Sonny Colbrelli clinched victory in the 118th edition of the Paris-Roubaix, a one-day cycling event on Sunday (3 October).

The 31-year-old Bahrain Victorious rider sprinted to the finish line in the Roubaix Velodrome to snatch victory from Belgium's Floran Vermeesch, who finished second while Olympian Mathieu van der Poel from the Netherlands completed the podium.

Early in the race it was Italy's Gianni Moscon who pulled away in top spot, with the podium finishers forming part of the chasing pack. But with 31km to go of the 258km race, Moscon suffered a flat tyre. The subsequent bike change meant that the chasing pack cut down his lead from over a minute to just forty seconds.

But more misfortune was round the corner as the 27-year-old crashed with just 25km to go. Although he was able to get back on his bike, his lead was cut to 15 seconds.

READ: Lizzie Deignan wins first-ever Paris-Roubaix women's cycling event

Colbrelli, Vermeesch and van der Poel, who where were all making their debut in this race, manage to catch and pass Moscon with 15km to go.

The trio quickly overtook Moscon as they jostled for first place in the closing stages of the race in a sprint finish.

It is a huge result for the Italian, who shared in an interview with cyclingnews.com after the race: "Unbelievable, my first Paris-Roubaix and I win. I don’t know, I’m very happy. Today is a legendary Roubaix with the rain and the weather at the start."

He added: "I was at the limit in the final. It was super difficult because I had to pay attention for the crashes form the first sectors and then there’s always the stress to be in position in the cobbles. This year is my year, I’m very happy."

2021 Paris-Roubaix top 10 results:

  1. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA / BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS) - 6 hours 1 minute 57 seconds
  2. Florian Vermeersch (BEL / LOTTO SOUDAL)
  3. Mathieu van der Poel (NED / ALPECIN - FENIX)
  4. Gianni Moscon (ITA / INEOS GRENADIERS)
  5. Yves Lampaert (BEL / DECEUNINCK - QUICK - STEP)
  6. Christophe Laporte (FRA / COFIDIS)
  7. Wout Van Aert (BEL / JUMBO - VISMA)
  8. Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL / ISRAEL START-UP NATION)
  9. Guillaume Boivin (CAN / ISRAEL START-UP NATION)
  10. Heinrich Haussler (AUS / BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS)