Vanmarcke left inconsolable after taking another fourth place at Roubaix

Belgian pavé specialist Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First) was inconsolable after crossing the finish line at the Roubaix velodrome in fourth place, 40 seconds behind Paris-Roubaix winner Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on Sunday.

It was Vanmarcke’s third fourth-place finish at the race, and his fifth top-10 result at ‘The Hell of the North‘. A troubled build-up to the race didn’t keep him from battling for the victory right up until the final major cobbled sector in Gruson, where a jammed rear derailleur effectively ended his Roubaix challenge.

With the pain of his injured knee – sustained in a crash at the E3 BinckBank Classic – in the back of his mind, along with those numerous past, close calls at Roubaix, Vanmarcke found it extremely hard to accept that a mechanical problem had kept him from sprinting for victory.

“It’s just not meant to be for me. I would have been better off staying at home on my sofa. Then I wouldn’t have been as disappointed as I am now,” said Vanmarcke, shortly after crossing the finish line.

He burst into tears and kept crying for several minutes while leaning over a fence, before recovering and turning to the waiting media. Being heralded for a strong race was no consolation for him.

“It’s true – I rode super well,” said Vanmarcke. “But if you turn onto the Carrefour de l’Arbre and your gears are no longer working, forcing you to ride everything on the 11 [11-tooth sprocket], then it’s painful when the others ride away. They would never have dropped me today.”

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