Flying finish but no final road victory for Sir Bradley Wiggins

Wiggins' young Sky team-mate Luke Rowe was the first Briton home with a notable eighth place.

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The Independent Online

Sir Bradley Wiggins’ career with Team Sky ended yesterday with two blazing attacks in the closing kilometres of Paris-Roubaix, which – even though they did not succeed – saw him bow out in style from top-level road-racing.

The race had earlier briefly veered close to disaster when a group of riders ignored a gendarme’s order to stop at a slowly closing train barrier. Moments after the rest of the peloton had finally ground to a halt, a high speed passenger train roared through the crossing, fortunately without incident. Racing could continue as the main pack then regrouped, with Sky and Wiggins constantly vying with the other main contenders.

His face grey with dust and mud thrown up from the grimy cobbles that constitute Paris-Roubaix’s main challenge, Wiggins’ most impressive move  came with about 30 kilometres to go.

His prolongued acceleration briefly had his rivals on the back foot. As he put it later: “They [his Sky team-mates] said that when I went it was panic stations. It was nice just to be able to attack in Roubaix. I had a go where I said this morning to the team I was going to have a go.”

That move was quickly hauled in,  though, and while Wiggins made another bid to connect with earlier breakaways around five kilometres from the line, it was too late to prevent Germany’s John Degenkolb winning.

Wiggins finally finished 18th. His young Sky team-mate Luke Rowe was the first Briton home with a notable eighth place.

While track racing still awaits – most notably in his attempt on the hour record and at next year’s Rio Olympics – Wiggins said he has ended his  top level road-racing career with no regrets.

“I’ve won the Tour de France, haven’t I?” he pointed out. “I’m pretty happy. I’ve had a good run at the whole thing.”