Mathieu van der Poel wins men's Paris-Roubaix in Alpecin-Deceuninck 1-2

Mathieu van der Poel has now won three different Monuments

Mathieu van der poel winning Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Getty)

Mathieu van der Poel won his first-ever Paris-Roubaix after attacking 15km from the finish and riding solo to a memorable victory.

The Dutchman moved clear from his fellow attacker Wout van Aert as soon as they exited the Carrefour de l’Arbre, the latter suffering a puncture just as the duo seemed to have finally ridden clear of the other five riders in the leading group.

Van der Poel entered the velodrome solo and won by 46 seconds, claiming his maiden victory in the Hell of the North. It is also the Alpecin-Deceuninck rider’s fourth win in a Monument, adding Roubaix to two victories at the Tour of Flanders and Milan-Sanremo.

His teammate Jasper Philipsen beat Wout van Aert to second, ensuring that Alpecin-Deceuninck scored a 1-2 in the final cobbled race of the spring. 

For van Aert, it was yet again a case of what could have been: this was his fifth participation in the race, and he has now finished second, third and seventh. The top step, like at the Tour of Flanders, continues to elude him.

How it happened

The 120th edition of the race began at a record-breaking speed, the peloton averaging more than 50kph in the first 90 minutes of racing. During that period, despite attempts by multiple riders, no breakaway was able to form.

After 90km of racing, an escape group was finally permitted to go clear, the peloton satisfied that Juri Hollman (Movistar), Sjoerd Bax (UAE-Team Emirates), Derek Gee (Israel-PremierTech) and Jonas Koch (Bora-hansgrohe) didn’t pose too many problems.

On the first 10 of 29 sections of cobbles, there were the customary mechanicals (mostly flat tyres) and crashes (2018 winner Peter Sagan was forced to abandon as a result of one), but the race remained relatively calm until 110km were left to race.

Just before the entrance to the five-star cobbles of the feared Forest of Arenberg, Jumbo-Visma’s van Aert and Christophe Laporte did what they’ve been doing all spring: they upped the pace, jumped clear and ignited the drama. Joining them was Van der Poel, 2015 victor John Degenkolb of Team DSM and Groupama-FDJ’s Stefan Küng.

If that looked like a decisive move watching at home, the peloton thought the same. Onto the Arenberg, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) were two of six riders to power away from the peloton, the duo bridging across to the van Aert-Van der Poel group within a few kilometres to swell the leading group to 13 riders.

But while Van der Poel had the support of two Alpecin-Deceuninck teammates in Jasper Philipsen and Gianni Vermeersch, van Aert was left without any companions: Laporte suffered a flat tyre immediately after exiting the Arenberg, just seconds after defending champion Dylan van Baarle hit the cobbles hard; Britain’s Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious) was brought down in the same incident. As it does every year, the Arenberg had destroyed dreams.

The leading group worked well together to extend their advantage, helped by most of the big teams having a presence. Soudal-QuickStep, however, were not involved, their dreadful cobbled Classics campaign reaching a new nadir.


(Image credit: Getty)

For 40km, the front group marched on intently, Alpecin-Deceuninck doing the majority of the pulling. At 51km to go, and with 11 sectors remaining, Van der Poel made the first of three attacks inside 10km. Each time, Philipsen, van Aert, Degenkolb, Küng, Pedersen and Ganna were able to rejoin, but not without a significant effort. Four riders, including Cofidis’ Max Walscheid, were spat out the back. 

The lull then returned, the group of seven working cohesively to ensure that it would be one of them who would win the coveted cobble. It wasn’t until 15km to go, across the vicious cobbles of the Carrefour de l’Arbre, that the race exploded into life again.

In the space of 10 seconds, Degenkolb and Van der Poel collided, the former hitting the ground. Meanwhile, van Aert attacked. It seemed like the opportune moment with his great rival tangled up, but within seconds Van der Poel was on his wheel. By the time they exited the cobbles, the latter was at the front, marching away, van Aert hamstrung by the most ill-timed of punctures.

And that was that. Van der Poel time trialled to the finish, his first victory in the Hell of the North, and the third different Monument he has won, having already won the Tour of Flanders twice and Milan-Sanremo. 

Behind him, Philipsen made sure of team 1-2 by edging Van Aert in the sprint, with Pedersen coming home for fourth place. 

Results: 2023 men's Paris-Roubaix (256.6km)

1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin-Deceuninck, in 5-28.41
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck, at 46s
3. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, at same time
4. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo, at 50s
5. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
6. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, all at same time
7. John Degenkolb (Ger) Team DSM, at 2-35
8. Max Walscheid (Ger) Cofidis, at 3-31
9. Laurenz Rex (Bel) Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, at 3-35
10. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma, at 4-11

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.