'I cried more than during the last two years of my life': The story of the last man in Paris-Roubaix 2021

22-year-old Tom Paquot finished over 18 minutes after the time cut after spending 150km solo

Tom Paquot at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Belgian rider Tom Paquot said he "cried more than during the last two years of my life" riding 150km solo as last-man at Paris-Roubaix 2021.

Paquot (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces WB) is a promising young rider, but the 22-year-old suffered through a gruelling day at Paris-Roubaix where he finished last, over 18 minutes after the time cut, 40-17 after winner Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) finished.

The race was even more brutal than normal as the riders had to face the race's trademark cobbles in horrific conditions. As the rain fell it created huge amounts of mud that splattered the riders throughout the day. Paquot said he was forced to stop countless times because of the conditions, and eventually was forced to ride on his own across the cobbles of northern France to make it to historic velodrome.

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Speaking after finishing, Paquot said: "I thought I had stopped 30 times, but my head would not. I did 150k on my own, 50 of which went without food. Last five kilometers, I cried more than during the last two years of my life."

Paquot was one of 10 riders to finish outside of the time limit, including second place at the World Championships and one of the race favourites, Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers), who missed the cut by about 50 seconds.

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Over 65 riders abandoned the race including some very big names, including Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious), Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates), and more.

Paquot did beat some riders to the velodrome, as he actually made it to the line. Only four of Paquot's team-mates managed to finish the race with the best-placed a very impressive ride by Laurenz Rex who came 21st.

Following the race, Paquot tweeted: "Sometimes emotions get the better of you and you can't do anything about it. I lived it all today, but I wanted to join the velodrome of #ParisRoubaix! Thank you all for your encouragement on the side of the road."

Paquot has had a good season this year, finishing third at the Tour du Doubs as well as third on a stage of the Tour de Limousin. However, he did not finish the E3 Saxo Bank Classic, Tour of Flanders, or Flèche Wallonne.

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