Moment in time: Johan Vansummeren's shock win at Paris-Roubaix

Belgian Johan Vansummeren left the cycling world with a feeling of welcome astonishment in April 2011 when he triumphed at Paris-Roubaix. But as the then Garmin-Cervélo rider explains in the first of our Moment In Time features, he almost squandered his chance of success in the final minutes thanks to an event beyond his control

Johan Vansummeren wins the 2011 Paris-Roubaix (Watson)

(Image credit: Watson)

He was respected, but not feared by the peloton. Johan Vansummeren had spent his career playing the role of super-domestique, collecting bottles, acting as the windbreaker and playing the role of the dog who chases the hare.

He had only won two races as a professional, a stage and an overall at the Tour of Poland. His love was Paris-Roubaix, and he had previously finished 4th and 8th there, rare days when he was afforded team leadership. In 2011, however, he was instructed to work on behalf of teammate and world champion Thor Hushovd. He was Garmin-Cervélo’s best chance of victory, so thought his team and the world.

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Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).