Paris - Roubaix 2003

14 Apr 2003

1985 – 83rd edition of the Paris-Roubaix classic. Rain, mud, wind.

After about 100 kms, at the beginning of the first stretch of paving stones, the inevitable crash broke the group into three sections.

FRANCESCO MOSER got trapped in the rear section, but in the later paving stone stretches, and all on his own, he moved from the third to the second group and then, within view of the ARENBERG forest at kilometre 160, he pushed his way to the head of the first group !

As if shot from a cannon, Francesco emerged from the legendary forest run with a 200 meter lead. He took a quick look behind, and decided to keep up the pressure. There were still 90 kilometres to the finish line.

The frozen wind that whipped the northern French countryside mercilessly doomed his magnificent, if mad, solo effort.

A little more than a minute behind, sharing the work, were Kelly, Vanderaerden, Lemond, Madiot, Planckaert, Kuiper and Van Der Poel.
But Moser didn’t soften, he resisted.  

In astonishingly good form on the day, Vanderaerden was in no mood to wait. With dazzling power he swallowed the one minute gap in a few kilometres. 

Now there were 32 kilometres left to race. Moser flags, exhausted, got mired in the mud.
Vanderaerden thus found himself alone out front, battling with the wind. After only about 12 kilometres, he ran out of gas.

Caught and passed by the 8 best pursuers, Vanderaerden finished with Moser, 5 minutes and 41 seconds behind the winner Marc Madiot.

2003 – 101st edition of the Paris-Roubaix classic. No rain, but the wind was there to kick up thick dust across the plain.

The usual maxi-crash happened on the first paving stone stretch. World Cup leader Peter Van Petegem, found himself in the third and trailing group, but with help from 4 team-mates he caught up with the leaders.
He listened to the advice of his Sports Director, Sergeant, and let an over-generous Andrea Tafi and a very strong Dario Pieri "take care of the race". 

Van Petegem waited for the final 15 kilometres to swoop like a falcon on Piere and Ekimov who were hoping for a two-man escape.

With intelligence, strength and perfect timing, Van Petegem, added the Paris-Roubaix triumph to his Tour of Flanders laurels.