Michael Matthews finally takes his longed-for stage win, repaying the effort expended all day long by his Sunweb teammates and earning his team their second consecutive stage victory. Runner-up Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) came second and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension-Data) rounded out the podium. Chris Froome, Dan Martin and Rigoberto Uran were the only GC riders alive to the dangers on today’s finish and came in with the sprinters. Race leader Fabio Aru inexplicably finished 30th, 26 seconds back allowing Froome to retake yellow. Aru now lies second, 18 seconds back. Just over a minute separates the top-five on GC.
Paris-Roubaix 2017 was supposed to be the fairytale ending of a legendary career. All the stars were supposed to align in order for cycling fans the world over to see, one last time, the magic of Tom Boonen crossing the finish line in the Velodrome, dirty but victorious. Ah, but Roubaix doesn’t work that way. Instead, the dirty but victorious rider was this season’s colossus Greg Van Avermaet, who outsprinted Zdenek Stybar and Sebastian Langeveld to lift the cobble trophy. Roubaix giveth and Roubaix taketh away …
The twists and turns of this season just keep coming. Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) took the biggest win of her career – and became the first American to win Ronde Van Vlaanderen – by being part of a chase group that caught the break in the final kilometre to set up a tight bunch sprint for the line. And Belgian national champion Philippe Gilbert (Quick Step Floors) did the opposite – finding himself with a gap on the crest of the Oude Kwaremont 55km from the finish, he set out on an impossible dream that led to the reality of one of the most thrilling solo wins in the race’s history.