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Paris-Brest-Paris - NE

France, August 18-22, 2003


Gang of six sets new PBP record

The 15th edition of the randonée classic Paris-Brest-Paris began Monday, August 18 at 8pm, as more than 4,000 brave souls set off into the night to begin the 1,230km event. For most, the goal is simply to finish within the 90 hour time limit, but for die-hards of the bunch, the race is on. Held once every four years, the ultra-marathon P-B-P is a descendant of a classic first organised in 1891. The event attracts a field from all across the globe, and participants are required to qualify through a series of distance-graded randonée rides in their home countries.

At the first checkpoint, two leaders set the pace to match. Philippe Deplaix and Didier Miranda passed through Fougères (km 311) at 5:47am, followed by Reinhard Schroeder, who passed through at 8:42am. Deplaix and Miranda were still together at the second check, but by checkpoint #5 in Loudeac (km 452), they had been joined by a group of pursuers, including Dominique Brand, François Thoraval, Bruno Le Corre, Michel Hervé, Gilles Malard, Urbain Bernardo, Yves Chizelle, Alain Gusmini, Ian Patuel, Jean Marc Robin, Didier Kerlouet, Robert Aubry, and Loic Bodin, all from France. Also in the group were Italians Enrico De Angelis, Graziano Sosio, and Guillermo Abersaturi, Jens Kasler (Germany), Marc Leuckx (Belgium), Erling Jorgensen (Denmark), Michael Fulton (Great Britain), and Chris Grealish (USA).

Well ahead of schedule, a dwindling group of 16 reached the halfway point in Brest with an average speed of 32 km/h. By checkpoint #9, the group was down to 13, which stayed together through the second night. Slowly but steadily, the selection was being made. By checkpoint #12 in Villaines le Juhel, nine were left. Jean Marc Robin held a slight advantage out front alone, followed closely by Malard, Briand, Kerlouet, Patuel, Thoraval, De Angelis, Leuckx, and Moran.

Finally, the the decisive phase of the race at hand and lumpy Brétagne terrain taking its toll, the winning group of six emerged: Briand, Robin, Kerlouet, Bodin, Leuckx, and Moran. In a record-setting time, they reached Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, to the southwest of Paris, in 42 hours and 40 minutes, averaging 29 km/hfor the 1,230 kilometres. In the end it was Belgian Marc Leuckx of Team Cyfac Bio Racer who took the sprint and the greatest glory, but his five companions could no doubt take great pride in their heroic rides. As could the remaining finishers, each of whom braved the day and night, non-stop struggle of the famed event.

Results, 1230 km

1 Marc Leuckx (Bel) Team Cyfac Bio Racer         42.40.00 (28.83km/h)
1 Dominique Briand (Fra) OC Cyclo Manissieux
1 Jean Marc Robin (Fra) Cyclos Pays Quintyn
1 Loīc Bodin (Fra) OC Montauban
1 Denis Moran (Fra) VC Challans
1 Didier Kerlouet (Fra) 

Participants by country

France: 2,018
USA: 459
Great Britain: 349
Italy: 220
Germany: 193
Denmark: 187
Spain: 171
Australia: 82
Canada: 81
Other: 334