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HELL OF THE NORTH … January 25, 2008

Posted by wetalkhablamos in paris roubaix.
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Hell of a day. 15 April 2001.

As I write, I’m watching a short film of Team USPS at Paris Roubaix 2001. It’s a chapter in the Nike documentary, Road to Paris, 27 Days with Lance Armstrong and Team USPS.

2001 was Chechu’s first year with the team, and it was the year of The Look. I hoped the film might be revealing. It was certainly interesting.

fshincapie.jpg

Photograph by Fotoreporter Sirotti, cyclingnews.com

Paris Roubaix was a day to forget but will always be remembered. Because of the mud. And because George Hincapie should have won.

George, you are fantastic, don’t panic, don’t panic, you’re ok, you can handle this. Refind your tempo. You are so strong, George. You ride twice as fast as the other guys. Be conservative, wait your moment. Come on, you’re the best.

Despite Johan Bruyneel’s motivation, four punctures, muddy pave and a team better than his own meant George was beaten into fourth place.

When you have one guy against four, you lose.

There was something rather moving about George Hincapie floundering on the pave. Like a fawn on ice.

We’ve decided to go back to Asturias at Easter, to see Chechu race in Castilla y Leon. The trip is the next stage of an adventure which started last year in Paris.

Christine Kahane took us to Compiegne for the team presentation of Paris Roubaix. This stunningly beautiful French town is an hour or so north of Paris. It was hot, and busy that day.

The side events weren’t great. The team caps were cheap, except Discovery, which were twice the price.

The cyclists of Team Discovery were shiny and tanned, and full of confidence. I liked the bus best, it was shiny too.

We spoke with Dirk Demol (very suave) and Matt White (Australian). I was too shy to ask to see inside the bus.

You can see the Paris Roubaix chapter of the documentary on YouTube.

Nicky, Edinburgh

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