Centenary Paris-Roubaix (189601996)
93rd edition, April 14, 263.5km
AS IT HAPPENS
Many Thanks to Roger for these Reports. Devotion to duty!
(all times Central European Time)
A brief report a few minutes before the start at 10.15 indicates that
the weather is sunny.
While we await the first report from the road, here is the result
of the first ever Hell of the North....
Paris--Roubaix 1st edition, April 19 1896
Start: 5.05am, Porte Maillot, Paris
Finish: Parc Barbieux velodrome, Roubaix
1. Josef Fischer (Germany) 280km in 9.17.00 (average 30.162kph)
2. Charles Meyer (Denmark) +36 minutes**
3. Maurice Garin (France) +38 minutes
4. Arthur Linton (Great Britain [Wales]) +45 minutes
5. L. Stein (France) +1 hour
**[It has to be said that the times given above are open to dispute. I
am relying on the absolutely superb special issue no 315 (April
1982) of "Miroir du Cyclisme" which was devoted entirely -- 96 pages
-- to the history of the race between 1896 and 1981). "Cycle Sport"
this month says Linton (who had been in the lead until he crashed after
colliding with a dog) came in 15 minutes down on Fischer. Noel
Henderson's book "European Cycling" I would adjudge plainly
nonsensical, giving "modern" sorts of time gaps of 26 secs to 2nd, 28
secs to third, and 42 seconds to 4th.
Linton and Fischer were already 6 minutes up on Garin at Amiens -
Linton encountered the "chien mechant" on the way out of that town
(rather less than halfway to Roubaix). Linton lost time looking
for a bike to borrow from a spectator, and Garin was to run out of
gas on the last few kilometres, when he was overtaken by Meyer.
Fischer bagged a prize of 1,000 francs (a skilled metal worker in
those days earnt 8 francs for a 12-hour day, 208 francs for a 26-day month),
Meyer 500 francs, Garin 300 francs, Linton 200 francs and the 5th to 9th
finishers 100 francs each
Only 45 minute into the race, a break of three riders (not named) gets away at
Noyon (about km23). But the first attack of the day went down to Thierry
Marie's brother Denis (Agrigel-La Creuse) just 3km from the start. Assisted
by a tailwind the pace is very high and the race is already at the maximum
of the official schedule -- over 40kph. The peloton is very stretched out,
and the race is very animated, with attacks coming all the time.
The first hour of the race went off at a cracking pace - 46kph.
The race has just entered the departement du Nord (about 80km out from the
start) and some 50 riders are away with about 40 seconds lead on the
peloton. The lead group includes: Olaf Ludwig with a number of
his Telekom team-mates supporting him); Gewiss is also well represented
(no riders named); Franco Ballerini, Johan Museeuw, Andrea Tafi
(Mapei-GB), Mario Scirea (Saeco); Djamolidin Abdujaparov (Ceramiche
Refin), Fabio Baldato (MG-Technogym).
With about 20km to go the
first sector of cobbles at Troisvilles, this lead group has pre-empted
the mass sprint to get to the front of the race and (relatively) out of
danger. (Doubtless they'll do their slightly smaller sprint there.
The temperature is reported to be a comfortable, if not warm, 12
degrees Celcius. As we rejoin the race, the lead group, now reported
to be about 60 riders, has a lead of 50 seconds on the rest of the
peloton and is just entering the first sector of cobbles
(Troisvilles -- Rue de La Sucrerie, Zone 22, 2200m at km98).
this time include Museeuw, Ballerini (with four Mapei team-mates,
Tafi presumably being one of them); Ludwig (with Telekom team-mates),
Andrei Tchmil (with two Lotto team-mates); Baldato (MG-Technogym);
GAN Frenchmen Francis Moreau and Laurent Desbiens (but the fancied
French riders Moncassin and Magnien are not in
the break); Christophe Capeel (ForceSud) and Cyril Saugrain (Aubervilliers).
Plainly with 60 riders up front there are likely to be other big names here,
but I can only tell you what I hear!
Four riders escaped from the lead group on the second sector of cobbles
(Zone 21 about km107) and have a few seconds lead on the 50-plus
chasers. They are Johan Museeuw with Mapei team-mate Wilfried Peeters,
Olaf Ludwig (Telekom) and Laurent Desbiens (GAN). The quartet are now
approaching the first feed at Solesmes (km115.5). The group of 50 or
so behind them has increased its lead on the rest of the peloton from
about 50 seconds to 1.15.
With 96km to go (km167.5) on Zone 12 of the cobbles, there is
a lead group of 20 riders. The 20 include Johan
Museeuw, Franco Ballerini, Wilfried Peeters (Mapei), Olaf Ludwig,
Erik Zabel (Telekom), Marco Serpellini (Ceramica Panaria) and
Laurent Desbiens (GAN).
Our dumb radio commentator
doesn't list any others. The junction up to the original four leaders
was made on the forested cobbles of Wallers Arenberg (Zone 14,
km153) which this year are dry. The race has maintained a high pace --
an average of 45kph in the first three hours... (are they going for Peter
Post's 1964 record race speed of 45.129kph in 1964?)
As we join the report two Mapeis are in the lead - Andrea Tafi and
Gianluca Bortolami. A little while ago there were three, Museeuw was
with them, but he has just punctured on Zone 10 (Orchies -
Chemins des Prieres - about km188). His two colleagues have slowed for
him to catch up under instruction from directeur-sportif Patrick Lefevere.
About a minute back is another Mapei - Franco Ballerini, who has
punctured three times -
and is now in the company of Viatcheslav Ekimov ((Rabobank), Andrei Tchmil
(Lotto) and Stefano Zanini (Gewiss). As we leave the report, Museeuw has
rejoined Tafi and Bortolami.
Bortolami has punctured since we last reported, but the
Bortolami-Tafi-Museeuw engine -- described by commentator Marc Madiot
as a team time trial-- is powering along again....
The Mapei trio have just passed the second feed at Merignies (km205)
and are heading towards the difficult 2100m of Cobbles Zone 7.
They are holding their lead over Ekimov, Tchmil, Zanini and Ballerini
at 1.50. And at 2.05 are Francis Moreau, Laurent Desbiens (GAN),
Marco Milesi (Brescialat) and Brian Holm (Telekom)....
With 45km to go the Mapei trio has 1.30 something on Ekimov, Tchmil,
Zanini and Ballerini. Moreau, Desbiens, Milesi and Holm are at around
2 mins, but by the end of this report hard work by Moreau has brought
them up to the Ekimov group. Meanwhile Museeuw punctures, but is soon
back to pace...
Ballerini decides to attack out of the chase group. Up front Museeuw
punctures again but it's no problem. Initially he takes Ekimov, Tchmil
and Zanini with him (the gap from Bortolami, Tafi and Museeuw being
about 50 seconds (I think), leaving Moreau and Holm trailing. By the end of the
report Ballerini is out on his own.
15.50 About 25km to go
Bortolami, Museeuw and Tafi are 1.40 ahead of Ballerini -- and Zanini.
Ekimov, Tchmil, Moreau, Holm and Milesi are further back at 2.15.
Ballerini and Zanini are working together. As the report ends, the
leaders have 1.20 on Ballerini and Zanini and 2.45 on the third group.
16.00 Gruson, about km250 (13km to go)
The "trio" are 1.53 ahead of Ballerini and Zanini and 2.45 on Ekimov,
Tchmil, Moreau, Holm and Milesi.
Museeuw punctures in the last cobbled zone (about 5km to go),
but soon on the way again. Meanwhile there seems to be a heated
discussion going on between Bortolami. Museeuw
Tafi and directeur sportif Lefevere in the team car. Are views divided
on the strategy to be adopted when the trio gets to the velodrome?
Museeuw comes first into the velodrome with Bortolami in his wake and
Tafi third. As far as I can gather from the radio there was no sprint.
All three raise their arms in a victory salute. In the sprint about
a minute and a half later, Zanini outsprints Ballerini.
1. Museeuw (Mapei)
2. Bortolami (Mapei)
3. Tafi (Mapei)
4. Zanini (Gewiss)
5. Ballerini (Mapei)
6. Tchmil (Lotto)
7. Holm (Telekom)
8. Ekimov (Rabobank)
9. Moreau (GAN)
10. Milesi (Brescialat)