'I got to the velodrome and the gates were closed': The extraordinary story of the final finisher from Paris-Roubaix

An hour behind Peter Sagan, Evaldas Siskevicius was the undoubted unsung hero of Paris-Roubaix

Paris-Roubaix requires some special bikes and equipment
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

The name of Evaldas Siskevicius appears among 61 others in the list of DNFs from the 2018 edition of Paris-Roubaix, but the the official results don't come close to telling the full story of Siskevicius' race and his epic battle to make it to the Roubaix velodrome.

The Lithuanian's goal at the start of the day was simply to finish the race, but things weren't looking promising as he appeared on the radar of the driver of the broom wagon with more than 40km remaining, riding alone close to the Ennevelin sector of cobbles.

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For the next 23km Siskevicius rode in front of the minibus, carrying a cargo of a handful of muddied and bloodied abandoned riders with their bikes on a trailer behind, before he was hit by a puncture on the five-star sector of the Carrefour de l'Arbre.

Siskevicius' best WorldTour result to date is second place on stage three of the Critérium du Dauphiné (Credit:Tim de Waele/Corbis/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Corbis via Getty Images)

This should have been the end for Siskevicius, but he had a stroke of luck after he discovered that one of the other parts of the convoy was a broken down Delko Marseille Provence KTM team car which was being taken to the finish on the back of a breakdown truck.

"At 18km from the finish, I was scared when I punctured on Carrefour de l'Arbre," Siskevicius told Sporza. "But I was lucky. Amusingly there was my team car on the tow truck just behind the broom wagon, so I could get myself with a wheel from the back of the team car."

Watch: Paris-Roubaix 2018 highlights

After getting his spare wheel, Siskevicius was left completely alone as the driver of the broom wagon was told to leave the final man on the road and drive straight to the finish at the velodrome in Roubaix.

But thankfully the riders in the broom wagon weren't the last to arrive in Roubaix, and at 18.15, an hour after Peter Sagan had crossed the line to take victory, Siskevicius arrived at the velodrome to find one last obstacle in his way.

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"I never give up either on the bike or on other things in life, and I didn't want to give up out of respect for the race, Paris-Roubaix is a Monument that you must honour," Siskevicius continued.

"But when I came to the velodrome, the organisers had already closed the gates. But thankfully the marshal was sympathetic and let me in. That way I could still ride my lap and a half on the track."