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105th Paris-Roubaix. Race Report
By Podofdonny
Date: 4/15/2007
105th Paris-Roubaix. Race Report

105th Paris - Roubaix Report & Photos
93 years after Iddo "Snowy" Munro finished in 37th place Australia wins its first “Hell of the North”….

O'Grady holds the first Australian Paris Roubaix Cobble!
Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

When Stuart O’Grady stood on the podium to collect his cobblestone from hell that is awarded to every Paris Roubaix winner he was completing an Australian adventure that had started in 1914

Iddo "Snowy" Munro who in 1909 had beaten the world record for 165 miles (264km) and became the Australasian Road Champion. “Snowy was a man of vision and ambition and in 1914 he took a team to Europe with the intention of riding the Tour de France. The team which included Don Kirkham, Charlie Snell, George Bell, and Charlie Piercey, arrived in France and rode for the Gladiator Cycles & Clement Tyre team.

Having had a good showing in Milan-San Remo where Munro finished 26th, the Team headed north to take part in the 19th Paris Roubaix on the 12th April 1914. Piercey broke a wheel, Kirkham broke his bike but "Snowy" finishing in 37th place. He would later finish 20th in the Tour de France with Team mate Kirkham fishing 17th overall. Sadly the first Australian adventure on the paves was to be interrupted by the Great War which sent Europe into chaos.

O’Grady c. Daily Peloton

O'Grady at the finish in Roubaix Velodrome. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

93 years and later and Stuart O’Grady completed the dreams of "Snowy" Munro and company by becoming the first Australian to win the “Queen of the Classics”

"I've dreamt of winning this race since I was a kid, and it actually still feels like a dream now it's actually come true. It's gonna be days before it hits me for real," said a clearly moved Stuart O'Grady after his brilliant victory.

"I thought I'd had it, when I had that flat in the Arenberg Forrest, so I was trying to help Fabian after that. But when it turned out he wasn't feeling all that strong today I tried to tag along, when Steffen Wesemann made an attempt to close the gap to the break. And once I got that far I just took the chance."

Roller Coaster day

O'Grady, solo attack. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

O’Grady’s superb victory was a reflection not only of his panache and experience as a rider, but also to, as usual, great team work and commitment by Team CSC.

187 riders started in unusually high tempretures (25 degrees) and a very light breeze. The riders would face a day of dust clouds whipped up by the many vehicles on the paves which would give the race a ghostly, almost surreal image , as if the smoke of hell was seeping onto the route.

At 32 kilometres 34 riders were to make the break of the day, naturally CSC were well represented with Stuart O’Grady, Luke Roberts and Matti Breschel in the thick of the action. Attrition on these escapees meant that after 140 kilometres of racing there were still 30 riders in the lead group who had over five minutes on the peloton.

The Arenberg Forest (96km to go) saw O’Grady puncture as the race split asunder, O’Grady managed to rejoin the Boonen group as the chase began in earnest. With 35 kilometres to go O’Grady latched onto Steffen Wesemann (Wiesenhof) as he tried to bridge the gap and picking up Roger Hammond these three crossed to the second group with 27km to go.

Stuart O'Grady drives on toward the last section of cobbles outside Roubaix velodrome leaving a considerable gap between him and the chasing group. Photo c. Dave O'Nyons

Michaelsen, Breschel, Petito, Flecha, Leukemans, R. Grabsch, Franzoi, and the tiring Pollack caught the leading two riders, Kopp and Van Impe, with 25 kilometres to go and O’Grady then made the race winning move. He attacked as soon as they passed Van Impe and Kopp.

O'Grady, was clearly the strongest rider on the day, and the four men left chasing Flecha, Leukemans, Wesemann and Petito could not match his speed across the pave and the Australian built a lead of around a minute as the velodrome loomed.

Photo (left): O'Grady with his effort clearly etched on his face races to the velodrome finish in the last kilometers. Photo c. Dave O'Nyons.

Boonen meanwhile had made his own move behind and rapidly regained lost ground but it was too late.

O’Grady had time to celebrate as he came into the velodrome, Flecha pipped Wesemann for second.

Podium Flecha, O'Grady, Wesemann. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

Official Results:
105th Paris - Roubaix
259.5 kms - 6:09:07 -  42.181 km/h

1 007 O’GRADY Stuart CSC AUS
2 031 FLECHA Juan Antonio RAB ESP 00' 52"
3 221 WESEMANN Steffen WIE SUI 00' 52"

4 062 LEUKEMANS Bjorn PRL BEL 00' 53"
5 125 PETITO Roberto LIQ ITA 00' 55"
6 011 BOONEN Tom QSI BEL 00' 55"
7 056 HAMMOND Roger TMO GBR 00' 55"
8 026 FRANZOI Enrico LAM ITA 00' 56"
9 016 VAN IMPE Kévin QSI BEL 01' 24"
============== 2:00 ==============
10 022 BALDATO Fabio LAM ITA 02' 27"

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