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.
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
"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
"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
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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