Belgium's Philippe Gilbert on his way to victory at Paris-Roubaix

Roubaix (France) (AFP) - Belgian veteran Philippe Gilbert won the cobbled classic Paris Roubaix cycling race on Sunday after a cat-and-mouse final struggle with Germany’s Nils Politt while another Belgian Yves Lampaert was third.

Six riders, including defending champion Peter Sagan, broke away with around 55km remaining but the Deceuninck-Quick-Step pair Gilbert and Lampaert worked together to drop the Slovak on the final cobbled section.

The victory gives former world champion Gilbert his fourth of five of the so called ‘Monuments’, long one-day races, after he won the Tour of Flanders, Tour of Lombardy and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, just the Milan-San Remo missing from his prize list.

“Its really special. It was a really daring attack and it came off,” said the 36-year-old who also led an earlier breakaway and was the architect of Sagan’s downfall.

Gilbert said he was proud of reinventing his style to carve out a successful late career.

“When I decided to go for the classics they said the cobbles weren’t for me. I was just a puncher, but now I’m more complete.

The race was marked by relatively few crashes, although Tiesj Benoot went to hospital after crashing through the back windscreen of the Jumbo-Visma team car that had braked suddenly to miss a faller.