News for April 10, 2000

Paris-Roubaix: Mapei once again

Not the trifecta this time, but still a very dominant performance from the team that has made this race a specialty in recent years. Mapei-Quick Step could not have hoped for a better turn out, having so many riders in the front group - four in the top 11, with the remaining four all counted amongst the finishers. It was a fantastic win for Museeuw, who last won in 1996 before experiencing that terrible crash in the Arenberg forest in the 1998 edition. No fear though, as his pre-race comments indicated:

"Last year I was scared. It was the first time after my fall. But today I start with the intention to win. It isn't the first time I've ridden on stones this year, and it has gone well until now."

34 year-old Museeuw attacked with 53 kilometres to go in the race, taking Frankie Andreu (US Postal) with him for a short time, as well as catching teammate Max van Heeswijk, who was out by himself for a while. Prior to this the early break had been caught with some 80 kilometres to go, but Tom Steels had played his part for the Mapei team by driving it and forcing the weaker teams to chase in the bunch.

Though he lost a lot of time into the headwind at the end, Museeuw still hung on to win by 15 seconds from Peter van Petegem and Erik Zabel. Van Petegem had done well, having punctured in the chasing group with 30 mins of the race left, however the other race favourite, Andrei Tchmil was not so lucky. He had punctured and fallen early in the race, but also flatted at roughly the same time as Van Petegem. It was too much for him, and he finished over three minutes down in 24th.

Full coverage is available at's Paris-Roubaix special site, including complete results and reports and a blow by blow description of the race.

Post race comments:

Johan Museeuw (Mapei, winner)

"It's a dream indeed. Two years ago I almost lost my leg, I have taken a lot of medicine, and I have worked enormously. In 1999 I reached an acceptable level. This year I have had the ambition to win one of the big races. For me the Paris-Roubaix is the ideal race to win, not for the sake of revenge but rather as a symbol of my comeback."

"During the race I was not more afraid than the others, I only feared the falls and the punctures. I held my concentration, and looked after myself. The most difficult part today was from 20 to 10 kilometers from the finish when I had a one minute gap. But I had my team mates along back there and this is also their victory."

"But my greatest victory is that I've have come back to racing at all, after the crash two years ago," he finished.

Patrick Lefèvre, manager of Mapei:

"Now Johan has nothing more to prove. At 34 he is still on the summit. I am very emotional - this is the biggest win of his career, and it was a fantastic success for the entire team."

Lefevre couldn't comment much though, as he was overcome by the emotion and had to be taken to hospital. He was sent by ambulance to Lille, where he was treated for stress and low blood sugar levels. However the doctors were able help and he could leave the hospital by 9 pm on Sunday evening.

Peter Van Petegem (Farm Frites, 2nd)

"It was really tough with the headwind. When Museeuw attacked everybody thought that it was too early. But he really is a champion. For my part I had powers left at the end, beating Zabel is good."

Erik Zabel (Telekom, 3rd)

"Wesemann helped me excellently to be at the finish with Zanini and van Petegem. I thought earlier that the race was done and aimed only for World Cup points. I will try to keep the lead in the World Cup past the Amstel Gold Race."

Andrea Tafi (Mapei, 10th)

"I had everybody against me, but that was expected. That's the role for the favourites. Museeuw's attack with Andreu was not planned or agreed. He just grabbed the initiative. But it was important that our team won. The squad really has worked hard, and we showed anyone who doubted us. I would have managed a better placing if I hadn't punctured towards the end."

Frederic Guesdon (Francaise des Jeux, 17th)

"I was not super. In that case, one commits many errors. I went to looking for the sides, and I often ran into trouble. I am satisfied with the result, as I finished with courage. I was the first finish French finisher, but I would have preferred to be the second or third Frenchman, but to be in the top 10."

Andrei Tchmil (Lotto, 24th)

"It is a great champion that won today. In a way I am content. He is an old man and no one can say that the old men should quit. Behind Museeuw no-one wanted to raise the tempo. After Arenberg the speed was very high on the paves. I had three flats and one fall, and close to the finish another flat. I knew at the Carrefour de l'Arbre that the race was done."

Christophe Mengin (Francaise des Jeux, 26th)

"Guesdon and I were protected in the finale. Michaelsen, Hoj and Magnien were to go with the attacks after Arenberg. It was not up to us to control the race, as we were not the favourites. I did not feel bad, but I made some positional errors in the sectors where there was a crosswind. I was obliged to make efforts for which I paid for."

Another VDB goes AWOL

Belgian Geoffrey Gremelpont has become a new pro with Belgian second division team Ville de Charleroi, and he had his first race in the GP Pino Cerami. However, it came at the expense of another rider, Jean-Denis Vandenbroucke who was fired.

VDB-not-Frank has only raced once this year - in the first stage of the Tour Mediterranéen where he abandoned. Since then, he has been absent from other races where the team wanted him to compete, so the team director Didier Paindaveine sacked him.

(Thanks to Daniel Schamps for this information).

Saturn director resigns

By John Alsedek, correspondent

In a surprise move this past Friday, long-time Saturn professional road team director and coach Rene Wenzel resigned from his post, effective immediately. Wenzel, who had been with the team since 1993, had already planned on leaving the team at the end of the 2000 season in order to stay closer to home and his wife Kendra, who retired last year and is now carrying the couple's first child.

However, Wenzel was asked by team manager Tom Schuler, who also runs the Saturn staff's overseeing company, Team Sports, to consider resigning now, citing the instability at the directorial position as a distraction to the Saturn squad. Wenzel agreed, and has now returned to his home in Oregon to work with Kendra on the couple's burgeoning coaching business, and to consider his options for the future. Wenzel's assistant, Andy Lee, will likely take over the director's position.

Respected sports journalist dies

Johan Wolderdorp, sports journalist of daily, Trouw, chairman of the Dutch Sport press and member of the UCI board of journalists, died on Saturday night after a heart attack in Compiegne. He was a well known and respected journalists, and many were sad at his death, coming the night before one of the biggest races of the year.

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An important aspect is the site's speed: we are fully aware of the fact that during peak times (like last night's Paris-Roubaix coverage), the link can slow things down. Do not worry too much longer about this, as we are upgrading our server and link to 10 times its existing capacity. We've been working on this for the past few weeks and hope to have it in place for the concluding rounds of the World Cup. Live coverage will continue of all big races throughout the year.