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After this last weekend, Mathieu van der Poel could quit racing for the year and still finish with a career season.
The Dutch rider added a Paris-Roubaix cobblestone to his trophy case Sunday, capturing his second monument of the season after winning Milan-San Remo last month.
The latest monument came in memorable fashion as Van der Poel made a strong select group then outpowered them on the final five-star cobbled sector of the race, Carrefour de l’arbre. Fans will surely lament for years to come what could have been in if Wout van Aert, the only rider left chasing Van der Poel, hadn’t suffered an ill-timed puncture exiting that sector. Others still will question what 2015 winner John Degenkolb would have done had he not crashed out on the very same sector.
But that is the cruel nature of Paris-Roubaix, and that is why we watch.
This year’s edition had more than its share of dramatic moments, and Ashley and Jered Gruber were in northern France to capture the moments that defined the race.