Paris-Roubaix 1996 was totally dominated by the Mapei-GB team. Three Mapei-riders, Tafi, Museeuw and Bortolami began their triumph parade in Tilloy-les-Marchiennes on the 11th of the 22 pave sections, 86 km from the finish.
Franco Ballerini punctured no less than three times in 12 km and just missed being the fourth Mapei-rider, making up a full team time trial squad.
The sprint was 'fixed' 15 km from the finish. Then Mapei Directeur sportif Patrick Lefevere got the order by car phone that Museeuw must win from Mapei-boss Squinzi in Milan.
1. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-GB 6.05.00 (43,32 km/h) 2. Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Mapei-GB s.t. 3. Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-GB s.t. 4. Stefano Zanini (Ita) Gewiss + 2.38 5. Franco Ballerini (Ita) Mapei-GB s.t. 6. Andrej Tchmil (Ukr) Lotto + 5.27 7. Brian Holm (Den) Telekom s.t. 8. Vjatjeslav Ekimov (Rus) Rabobank s.t. 9. Francis Moreau (Fra) Gan s.t. 10. Marco Milesi (Ita) Brescialat s.t. 11. Wilfried Peeters (Belgium, Mapei-GB) + 7.01 12. Tristan Hoffman (Netherlands, TVM s.t. 13. Mauro Bettin (Italy) Ceramiche Refin + 7.10 14. Frederic Guesdon (France, TeamPolti) 15. Nicola Loda (Italy, MG-Technogym) 16. Jaan Kirsipuu (Estonia, Petit Casino-C'est votre equipe) 17. Rolf Aldag (Germany, Telekom) 18. Herman Frison (Belgium, Lotto) 19. Emmanuel Magnien (France, Festina) 20. Stefano Casagranda (Italy, MG-Technogym) 21. Mario Traversoni (Ita) Carrera all s.t. 22. Philippe Gaumont (Fra) Gan + 7.31 23. Thierry Marie (Fra) Agrigel 24. Frankie Andreu (USA) Motorola 25. Denis Zanette (Ita) Aki 26. Bruno Thibout (Fra) Motorola + 7.38 27. Kaspars Ozers (Let) Motorola + 7.45 28. Johan Capiot (Bel) Collstrop 29. George Hincapie (USA) Motorola 30. Servais Knaven (Ned) TVM 31. Frank Corvers (Bel) Lotto 32. Leon van Bon (Ned) Rabobank 33. Hendrik Redant (Bel) TVM 34. Francois Lemarchand (Fra) Gan 35. Peter van Petegem (Bel) 36. Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom 37. Francisco Cabello (Spa) Kelme 38. Laurent Desbiens (Fra) Gan 39. Mario Scirea (Ita) Saeco 40. Ludwig Willems (Bel) Mapei-GB 41. Davide Bramati (It, Ceramica Panari) +10.11 42. Ivan Luna (It, San Marco Group) +10.57 43. Marin Van Steen (Neth, TVM) +11.22 44. Bruno Boscardin (It, Festina) +11.51 45. Sean Yates (GB, Motorola) 46. Stuart O'Grady (Australia, GAN) 47. Viatcheslav Djavanian (Rus, Roslotto-ZG Mobili) 48. Mauro Radaelli (It, Brescialat) 49. Bart Leysen (Bel, Mapei-GB) all s.t. 50. Lars Michaelsen (Den, Festina) +17.12 51. Beat Zberg (Swi, Carrera) 52. Steven De Jongh (Neth, TVM) 53. Nico Mattan (Bel, Lotto) 54. Mirco Crepaldi (It, Team Polti) 55. Rob Mulders 9Neth, Collstrop) 56. Marc Wauters 9Bel, Lotto) all s.t. (184 starters, 56 classified) A further 14 riders finished, but outside the time limit. I only have the names of eight of these: Cueff, Laurance, Anti, Lamour, Pillon, Aus (La Mutuelle de Seine-et-Marne); Saugrain (Aubervilliers), Agnolutto (Petit Casino)
1. Museeuw 1996: 43.31kph 2. Moser 1980: 43.1 3. Rosiers 1971: 42.1 4. Duclos-Lassalle 1993: 41.65 5. Merckx 1970: 41.64 6. Duclos-Lassalle 1992: 41.48
What happened to Olaf Ludwig?Olaf Ludwig, 36 years old the day before the race, and one of the favourites in what was his last appearance (having been 16th in 1990, 9th in 1991, 2nd in 1992, 3rd in 1993, 4th in 1994 and 24th in 1995) was active in the big early escape but lost contact after the Arenberg cobbles when he punctured (km161). He crashed while chasing after the lead group and briefly lost consciousnesss. The doctors said he could have restarted, but he chose not to.
L'Equipe's Film of the Race (with a few additions of distances):After several tentative attacks during a rapid start, 21 riders broke clear after Noyon (km25) -- Peeters, Willems (Mapei), Saligari (MG), Brognara, Fina, Santaromita (Gewiss), Hunt (Banesto), Ozers (Motorola), Vierhouten (Rabobank), Puttini (Refin), De Vries (Polti), De Jongh, Knaven, Nijdam, Van Steen (TVM), Manzoni (Roslotto), Wauters (Lotto), O'Grady (GAN), Pavanello (Aki), Contrini (Brescialat) and Saugrain (Aubervilliers). The break reached a maximum lead of 55 seconds, with Telekom organising the chase behind. 46.5km were covered in the first hour.
Telekom's work seriously stretched out the peloton and also led to 40 riders bridging to the break at km56.5. Most of the race favourites were in this group which hit the first stretch of cobbles at Troisvilles (km98.5) with 50 seconds on the rest of the peloton.
At the third sector of cobbles (Zone 20--about km110) Peeters (Mapei), Zabel (Telekom) and Desbiens (GAN) launched an attack and Museeuw (Mapei) bridged up to them. The four worked well together, but Peeters put in extra work on behalf of Museeuw. Behind, the peloton came together at km126, and was 1.30 behind.
At Valenciennes (139km) Serpellini (Panaria) went after the four leaders and joined with them immediately before the Arenberg cobbles (154km). But the peloton was closing and entered the Arenberg section only 20 seconds behind the five leaders. During this section Peeters and Museeuw eased off to await the peloton; Desbiens, Zabel and Serpellini pressed on but were caught at km161 (cobbles Zone 13).
Unusually there were stil about 100 riders in with a shout after Arenberg, but the rhythm picked up considerably at Helesmes (km164). Twenty riders stretched out off the front: Ballerini, Bortolami, Leysen, Museeuw, Tafi (Mapei), Baldato (MG), Hincapie (Motorola), Ekimov (Rabobank), Serpellini (Panaria), Boscardin, Michaelsen (Festina), Holm (Telekom), Tchmil, Corvers (Lotto), Moncassin, Desbiens (GAN), Gorini (Aki), Camin, Milesi (Brescialat), Zanini (Gewiss). Behind was rout and confusion ("Derriere, c'est la debandade")
In the lead group of 20, Ballerini punctured three times in Zones 12 and 11 of cobbles [ie three times in about 10km at about km175]. The second was particularly unfortunate, coinciding with the rest of the Mapei piling on the pressure at the front. Ballerini got up to Tchmil, punctured the third time, got up to Tchmil again.... but Tafi, Bortolami and Museeuw were away.
The three Mapei stretched out a lead despite a puncture for Museeuw on Zone 10 (about km187). Tafi and Bortolami went on but were instructed to ease off for Museeuw to get back on. After a while the gap between the three Mapei and the next group -- Tchmil (Lotto), Ekimov (Rabobank), Zanini (Gewiss) and Ballerini (Mapei) -- stabilised at 1.05. Ballerini did nothing to help the chase.
Towards Seclin (about km219) Tafi, Bortolami and Museeuw had 1.45 on the chasers when Tchmil missed a corner and Ballerini took the opportunity to move clear with Zanini.
With Ballerini effectively chasing, he and Zanini had brought the gap down to a minute at Cysoing (km235). The Mapei team car dropped back and directeur-sportif Patrick Lefevere instructed Ballerini to ease off.
With the three leaders working hard together, Museeuw punctured with 8km to go and some confusion seemed to break out as to strategy -- but Tafi and Bortolami waited for him.
On the velodrome at Roubaix, the three Mapei respected the order of finish ordained by Lefevere.
World cup standings after three events:1. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-GB 87 pts 2. Michele Bartoli (Ita) MG-Technogym 55 3. Fabio Baldato (Ita) MG-Technogym 51 4. Gabriele Colombo (Ita) Gewiss 50 5. Alexander Gontchenkov (Ukr) Roslotto 47 6. Andrej Tchmil (Ukr) Lotto 40 7. Stefano Zanini (Ita) Gewiss 38 8. Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Mapei-GB 35 9. Vjatjeslav Ekimov (Rus) Rabobank 32 10. Michele Coppolillo (Ita) MG-Technogym 25 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-GB 25 12. Laurent Brochard (Fra) Festina 24
World Cup Teams:1. Mapei-GB 28 2. MG-Technogym 55 3. Festina 17 4. Motorola 16 5. Lotto 15 6. GAN 9 Next WC race: Liege-Bastogne-Liege (April 21)