'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.

>>> Mathieu van der Poel says he 'was the most broken of all' in Paris-Roubaix sprint

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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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.