Paris-Roubaix LIVEWelcome: - Greeting from Hans and Bill. Our live coverage today is of the Hell of the North - Paris-Roubaix. We will be bringing you early reports and minute by minute action from about 14.00 European time. We also welcome Kim Plesner Frederiksen from Denmark - who will be offering special comments throughout the race.
10.00 - Fastest Paris-Roubaix - 1961 Peter Post (Ned) 45.129 km/ph.
Kim had Johan Museeuw as a favourite for RVV but he now thinks that Ballerini, Rolf Sorensen (Danish of-course) and Tchmil would be the most obvious names to pick. His outsider is Emmanuel Magnien.
I am going (of-course) for O'Grady. If Scotty was riding he would be my pick!. Hans - Servais Knaven and Peter Van Petegem (Outsider: Tchmil)
The race start was brought forward to 10.10 from 10.25 because of the bad roads (wet) and strong winds. At the start it was 6-7 degrees and sunny but in Roubaix it has been raining and there are hailstorms. Number 224 - Daniele Contrini (Ita) Brescialat-Liquigas didn't start.
After 17 minutes, Francesco Casagrande (Polti) had a 6 second gap. He was soon joined by Frenchman Arnaud Pretot (GAN) and after 19 kms into the race the pair had a 45 second gap.
11.00 - The attack is over and the peloton is complete.
13.05 - Still 152 km to finish. Group of 21 riders left the peloton (with Pretot, Marichal, Desbiens, Van Heeswijk). At zone 20 Saint-Python there are three leaders: Mapei's Tom Steels (Bel), Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel, Lotto-Mobistar), and Michael Rich (Ger, Saeco-Cannondale).
Special comments from Kim: Hi Bill and Hans, I'm now "online" (152km before the finish) and the Danish TV2 has just been in contact with Rolf Sorensen's father who's in one of the Rabobank cars, and he says that Rolf is looking very, very good sitting with all the other favourites in the frontgroup.
13.11 - At the Solesmes feed station. Three leaders with peloton at 1.40" (in between this group and the peloton there are still 18 riders)
13.20 - Still three leaders in Haussy with 17" on a group with Van Heeswijk, Moreau, Marichal, Gouvenou, Desbiens. Tchmil has had technical problems with his bike and changed bike in the feed zone. Still 22 cobblestone sectors.
13.25 - Nine leaders: Steels, Van Heeswijk, Dierckxsens, Marichal, Rokia, Rich, Desbiens, Moreau and Gouvenou. Peloton at 3.20"
13.35 - Leaders arrive in zone 17 Verchain (1600 meters) with peloton at 4.25"
13.30 - Still 138 km to finish.
13.41 - Leaders reach zone 16 Maing (2500 meters)
13.40 - Still 37.3 kms cobblestone tracks. Little group (with Hiemstra, Aus and Kirsipuu) out of peloton and making their way towards the leaders. Still 27" behind the 9 leaders.
13.50 - A group of 4 - Bert Hiemstra (Ned, Rabobank), Lauri Aus (Est, Casino), Jann Kirsipuu (Est, Casino) and Franck Percq (Fra, La Francaise des Jeux) at 1.44" from the leaders. Little group between leaders and peloton (at 5.50")
13.55 - Still 10 km to the (famous) zone Foret d'Arenberg (2400 km). The public is (for the first time in history) behind fencing in forest. This zone is always an important part of Paris-Roubaix.
13.58 - Leaders with group of 4 at 1.30" and peloton at 5.30"
13.57 - Nicolas Jalabert and Henk Vogels fall in the peloton.
14.00 - Peloton at 7.15" to the nine leaders.
Special comments from Kim: It seems as if there's something wrong with the Rabobank tactics. Van Heeswijk is doing quite a good job in the frontgroup, and at the same time Rabobank riders are trying to speed up the peloton, especially on the pavee's. Whereas Tom Steels (Mapei) is doing absolutely nothing in the front group.
14.05 - First raindrops for riders. Stuart O'Grady (Aus, GAN) falls. Bill groans!
14.08 - O'Grady is now back in peloton which has around 50 riders.
14.09 - Leaders reach forest of Wallers-Arenberg (2.4 kms) They talked about fencing for the public but it seems that there is no fencing at all in the forest.
14.15 - The peloton have just reached the forest.
14.16 - There is pandemonium now with a lot of riders falling in the main peloton as it goes through the cobbles of the Arenberg forest.
14.19 - There is no peloton anymore after half of the zone in forest. Riders are everywhere. Some riders are taking a route behind the audience which is lining the forest track. Hans, perhaps that is why the fences didn't appear afterall! In Roubaix it is now hailing. One leader is out in front: Laurent Desbiens.
14.20 - JOHAN MUSEEUW abandons after a heavy fall. He has a knee injury.
14.22 - Desbiens still at 6". The raindrops have become rain showers.
14.25 - Still 100 km to the finish. Four leaders: Steels, Rich, Desbiens and Gouvenou. No further news about Museeuw.
14.27 - Eight leaders. News out of the peloton: first three riders out of the forest: Peeters, Moncassin and Henk Vogels. 8 leaders means that Marichal is no longer in the top group.
14.30 - Average speed: 38.41 km/ph. It's dry again with the showers easing. Tchmil was in last part of peloton at the end of forest Arenberg.
14.32 - The leaders reach zone Warlaing (2.7 kms). Still 90 km to finish. First part of peloton is at 5.25"
14.34 - The leaders reach zone Tilloy (2.4 kms).
14.37 - Official message: Johan Museeuw out of the race after a fall in which he sustained a knee wound.
14.39 - Six leaders: Tom Steels (Bel, Mapei), Max Van Heeswijk (Ned, Rabobank), Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel, Lotto-Mobistar), Michael Rich (Ger, Saeco-Cannondale), Francis Moreau (Fra, Cofidis), Thierry Gouvenou (Fra, Big Mat-Auber 93).
14.40 - Anthony Rokia (Fra, Polti) and Laurent Desbiens (Fra, Cofidis) at 19".
14.44 - Again 8 leaders. In front of peloton and chasing the leading group are: Sorensen, Tafi, Hoffman, Capiot, Michaelsen, Casarotto, Vogels, Moncassin and Van Bon. Many of the big hopes here.
14.45 - Peloton at 4.40"
14.49 - Second group: Hiemstra, Marichal, Aus and Kirsipuu. O'Grady comes to the first group in peloton.
14.53 - Names of first group of peloton: Leysen, Peeters, Tafi, Boscartin, Korf, Sorensen, Van Bon, Streel, Moncassin, Backstedt, Poli, Capiot, Hoffman, Michaelsen, Van Dyck, Hincapie and Casarotto.
14.58 - Still 75 km to go before the finish. The first group of the peloton is at 4.40". This group has grown with the addition of Peter Van Petegem (Bel, TVM), Gianluca, Bortolami (Ita, Festina), Servais Knaven (Ned, TVM) and Aart Vierhouten (Ned, Rabobank).
15.04 - There are around 25 riders in the first group of peloton which is chasing the breakaway group. But the top group does not seem to be going too quickly now. The roads are wet and there is a lot of mud on several riders. Numbers of this group: 12 13 14 17 21 23 55 57 71 72 74 82 86 93 121 161 185 201 204 207 221 and 231. Tafi has punctured.
15.08 - The 8 leaders increase their speed after an attack by Ludo Dierckxsens. They have just reached zone Chemin des Prieres (1.7 kms). Tafi back in first group of peloton.
15.14 - The chasing group is: Ballerini, Leysen, Peeters, Tafi, Bortolami, Boscardin, Van Bon, Vierhouten, Moncassin, Backstedt, O'Grady, Aerts, Marichal, Hoffman, Capelle, Ekimov, Hvastija, Casarotto, Conte, Pieri, Serpellini and Auger.
15.18 - First peloton-group still has 20 riders. Rainshowers again.
15.20 - The 8 Leaders (Steels, Van Heeswijk, Dierckxsens, Michael Rich, Francis Moreau, Thierry Gouvenou, Anthony Rokia, and Laurent Desbiens ) reach zone Auchy. Still 70 km to finish.
15.23 - Van Heeswijk and Desbiens can't follow the leaders. Rokia has punctured. Now there are 5 leaders.
15.24 - Group peloton (with Moncassin) at 2.25".
15.27 - Three leaders: Gouevenou, Steels and Dieckxsens. Nearly at the zone Rue du Cimitiere (300 m) and Mons-en-Pevele (3000 m). Bad cobblestone tracks. Group of peloton splits up with Moncassin in front.
15.31 - It is now very windy on the parcours. Nearly Dutch-type racing (in 'waaiers'). Reporters in Roubaix are saying that it getting colder and colder in the stadium.
15.36 - Tom Steels has fallen on the bad cobbles of Mons-en-Pevele. He needs a new front wheel. The other two (Gouevenou and Dieckxsens) are alone now.
15.38 - Ballerini and Moncassin in front of first 'group' of peloton. The peloton is coming hard now.
15.40 - Ballerini, Backstedt, Tafi, Moncassin, Peeters are now leading the rest of the peloton.
Special comments from Kim 60km's from the finish and the Mapei's, as always, are looking good with Ballerini, Peeters and Tafi in the front group. But perhaps riding best of all at the pavee's at the moment is Moncassin who (quite a surprise) has the Swede Magnus Backstädt at his side. Rolf and Van Bon from Rabobank do not look that strong to me, but let's see. The race will really begin when they catch up with the brave men in the breakaway group. Is it all between GAN, Mapei and Rabobank from now on?
15.43 - The two leaders Dierckxsens and Gouvenou reach Nouveaux-Deux and the second feed zone. Still 59 km to the finish. Behind the two leaders: Steels, then Ballerini and then Moncassin, Tafi, Peeters, Backstedt. Mapei and GAN are threatening.
15.45 - The race looks like this. There are two leaders (Dierckxsens, Gouvenou), then three riders (Ballerini, Steels, Rich), then a group of 4 (Moncassin, Peeters, Tafi and Backstedt).
15.46 - The leaders reach zone 11 Merignies (rue de la Rosee/600 m).
15.51 - Two leaders, group 2: Ballerini, Steels and Rich, group 3: Moncassin, Tafi, Peeters, Backstedt, Sorensen and Van Bon, group 4 (at 1.50) O'Grady and Vogels, peloton at 2 minutes.
15.54 - Group with Ballerini 14" behind the two leaders!
15.55 - Leaders reach zone 10 Attiches a Martinsart (1.8 kms)
15.56 - Ballerini gets across to the leaders.
15.57 - Two leaders: Ballerini and Dierckxsens, then Gouvenou, then Rich, then Steels.
15.58 - There are still 9 cobblestone zones left (total 11.8 kms).
16.01 - Still two leaders (Ballerini and Dierckxsens) at zone 9 Martinart (700 m).
16.04 - Ballerini and Dierckxsens have 37" on Gouvenou and Rich and 1.03" on group with Moncassin, Sorensen, Van Bon (Backstedt has punctured, Steels has technical problems with his bike)
16.06 - BALLERINI has dropped Dierckxsens.
16.09 - Leader: Ballerini, second Dierckxsens. first group: Peeters, Tafi, Sorensen, Van Bon, Moncassin, Backstedt, Rich and Gouvenou, second group with 8 riders.
16.10 - Dierckxsens at 25" and Moncassin's group is at 1.30"
Special comments from Kim: Well, Mapei's once again having it their way! If Ballerini can last all the way, it's of-course a definite victory, and in the chasing group the Rabobank (Sorensen/Van Bon) and GAN (Backstadt/Moncassin) riders will have to do all the work. So if they (as it seems now) catch up with Ballerini, then Tafi and Peeters will be quite fresh (if you somehow can be fresh in a race like this...)
16.13 - Moncassin's group is now at 1.42"
16.14 - Ballerini at zone 7 Ennevelin (1400 m). Still 38 km. Ballerini is riding very strongly. Kim is sending him congratulations already. Not so soon mate.
16.18 - There are still 6 zones (total 8.3 kms) with cobblestones to go. Dierckxsens is now at 1.20", and Moncassin's group has slipped to 1.59. Hans thinks this looks like another Mapei victory. Still 33 km: Ballerini reach zone 6 Templeuve (200 m)
Moncassin's group is at 2.28. Han's is congratulating Ballerini along with Kim.
16.18 - Ballerini is riding to his first victory for 1.5 years. Ludo Dierckxsens is at 1.55", and Moncassin's group is gone at 2.30"
16.24 - Still 27 km for Ballerini to the finish. Noncassin's group is at 3.02"!! They are gone. Diercksens is now back in the group with Moncassin.
16.26 - Ballerini has now reached the pave zone Cysoing (1000 m) in an open field. Group 1 at 3 minutes, group 2 at 3.45 (Vogels, O'Grady, Bortolami, Capelle, Van Petegem, Conte)
16.32 - 1-2-3 Mapei? Again. Peeters and Tafi are restin in Moncassin's group!
16.34 - Moncassin's at 3.25", bortolami's group at 4.40"
16.36 - Ballerini reaches Camphin-en-Pevele and he now has 20 km to go.
16.40 - It looks like it will be Ballerini's 2nd victory in Paris-Roubaix. He first won in 1995. Merckx won with 5.21" and Gimondi (1966) with 4.08" In 1995 Ballerini won with 1.56" at group with Museeuw and Tchmil. Moncassin' group is at 3.37"
16.44 - Ballerini reaches zone 3 Carrefour de l'arbre (100 m) and Gruson (1100 m). The weather has not been as bad as they had originally forecast.
Special comments from Kim: A fantastic race by Ballerini. Reminds me of the way Riis won the Amstel Gold Race last year, only this performance is of course MUCH stronger! Ballerini's breakaway will be almost 50km's (Riis 25) and then you can't really compare the difficulty of Paris-Roubaix with Amstel...
16.49 - Gouvenou goes out the back of the group with Moncassin, and German Michael Rich also is off the back with technical problems with bike.
16.52 - Tafi and Peeters leave Moncassin's group!! The Mapei 1-2-3 is now lining up.
16.54 - Moncassin, Van Bon, Sorensen, backstedt can't follow the Mapei's.
16.57 - Still 12 km for Ballerini. Mapei 1 2 and 3 is now a safe bet. The Mapei victory his year is now a stronger performance than 2 years ago with Museeuw, Bortolami and Tafi.
16.59 - Ballerini reaches zone Hem (1.4 km) He will be the new leader in the World Cup (after victory today)
17.03 - Ballerini has reached Roubaix. It is nearly over.
17.05 - 1-2-3 Mapei, 4-7 2x Gan 2x Rabobank.
17.08 - With still 4 km to go Ballerini has 4.05" on Peeters and tafi and the GAN-Rabobank group is at 4.45"
17.11 - Last km for Ballerini.
17.12 - Ballerini is now in the Stadium and takes the race with a winning time of 6.57.49 (38.27 km/ph)
17.14 - Last km for Peeters and Tafi.
17.15 - Andrea Tafi second, Peeters third.
17.15 - Andrea Tafi second, Peeters third at 4.16
17.18 - At 4'49": 4 Van Bon 5 Moncassin 6 Sorensen
Since the 2nd World War this is the 2nd biggest different time between winner and second place.
Patrick lefevre says that Museeuw has been taken to hospital in Kortrijk, Belgium.
Paris-Roubaix, 266.5 kms
1. Franco Ballerini (Ita) Mapei-Bricobi 6.57.49 (38.27 km/h) 2. Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Bricobi 4.16 3. Wilfried Peeters (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi 4.19 4. Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank 4.49 5. Frederic Moncassin (Fra) GAN 4.49 6. Rolf Sorensen (Den) Rabobank 4.49 7. Magnuss Backstedt (Swe) GAN 4.49 8. Bart Leysen (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi 9. Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Festina 10. Henk Vogels (Aus) GAN (or O'Grady?) 11. Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar 12. Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto-Mobistar
Early World Cup Update
1. Franco Ballerini (Ita) Mapei-Bricobi 124 2. Stefano Zanini (Ita) Mapei-Bricobi 110 3. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 110 4. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi 100 5. Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom 100