There was no perfect finale for Sir Bradley Wiggins in Team Sky colours, but the London 2012 gold medallist insisted he was still content with how his Paris-Roubaix panned out.
Known as the ‘Hell of the North’, Sunday’s 253.5-kilometres race through the World War One battlefields of northern France was always going to be a brutal test, especially the 27 sections of cobbles totalling 53km.
But for Wiggins, this edition of the famous race was made all the more special considering it eas his final event riding for Sir Dave Brailsford and Team Sky.
And the 34-year-old gave everything he had in his final flourish, going on a long-range attack with 32km to go before repeating the trick 3km from the end.
His efforts were ultimately in vain though as he was hauled back before battling on and rolling home in a highly-commendable 18th position.
Luke Rowe was the highest-placed Brit as he came home eighth, with the victory being taken by German John Degenkolb.
But while there was no golden ending for Wiggins, the Olympic time trial champion was still in high spirits.
“I’m relieved to get it over and done with and I’m happy with how it went,” Wiggins told Team Sky.
“The tailwind made it tough out there because it meant the racing was on all day and there was no chance to relax like we normally do after the first few sectors.
“It was a tough edition but nice to be able to have a few attacks. I had my first go where I said I was going to go on the bus this morning.
“No-one else seemed to be expecting it there and I got myself in a pretty good position. It was unfortunate though that I got lumbered with a few riders who didn’t want to work and that meant it was chased down quite quickly.
“I’m happy. I’ve had a good run, and being a classics rider has been like a new job for me over the last two years – it was a hobby driven by my passion.
“Before the race I was trying really hard to not think about this being my last race for Team Sky.
“So many riders came up to me to wish me good luck and that was really nice. All these guys who you’ve been bashing heads with for years, never spoken to them, and they’re coming up to congratulate me on my career. It’s hard not to get emotional when that happens, but I got through it OK.
“I said at the start, I just wanted a clean run today, and I got that. I didn’t have one puncture, one crash. I came through it pretty well and I was pleased to finish in the top 20.”
© Sportsbeat 2015