collapse


Echoes

  • Road Captain
  • Country: be
  • Posts: 1258
  • Liked: 1316
Sacrilege! Heresy! Dafuq!

... Just some of the utterances when it was revealed in 2013 that race organisers "Renners in Aantocht" had transformed the traditional Paris-Brussels classic into a rolling and rollicking tour of Brabant.


Paraphrasing L'arriviste in 2014. Three years later the great classic still hasn't been revived yet. This was when Brian Cookson replaced Pat McQuaid as UCI's President. It should be mentioned here in a book published in 2015 "Parlons vélo", Marc Madiot quoted McQuaid explicitly saying he did not care about any non World Tour races !!!

The incessant UCI attacks against Paris-Brussels do not date from 2013 though but all the way back to 1989. The race is too long they say. However the *au Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic is still 262km, more or less the distance it has always had and they classify as a 1.2 race. But Australian races are entitled to it. Double Standard Testament that the Anglophone at the head of the UCI are waging a war against Continental European races and especially Cycling's heartland (Belgium, France & Italy). That is Madiot's opinion.


So let us remember the great classic that Paris-Brussels was.

Created in 1893, Paris-Brussels is probably the second oldest Belgian race. The winner André Henry. He was a bricklayer from Verviers near Liège. It was very uncommon for a cyclist in the late 19th century or early 20th century to come from the labouring classes. As Karel Van Wijnendaele put it in his "Het Rijke Vlaamsche Wielerleven", they would rather come from the gentry. The likes of Charles Terront or Arthur-August Zimmermann or Marcel Cadolle whose parents owned a castle. André Henry was an exception, just like Maurice Garin or Edmond Jaquelin for example. However Henry's rise to stardom troubled him and glory drove him insane. After winning Paris-Brussels he was requested by King Leopold II to the Laeken Palace and received a medal:
Quote
Omdat ge de sportvlag van ons land eer hebt aangedaan!
Is Leopold's quote in Van Wijnendaele's Flemish dialect (book mentioned above) ["Because you have honoured the sport flag of our country!] but then after winning Brussels-Spa (1893) and Paris-Dinant (1894), André drove crazy. Glory and adulation alienated him and his life ended tragically in an asylum near Tournai after an attempt to suicide. He passed away there at age 45 in 1911. He was completely forgotten.

André Henry winning Paris-Brussels:


Paris-Brussels was not held for a second time before 1906 but it's really the 1907 edition that established the race as a genuine classics. From then on all the best French or Luxembourgish riders defied the best Belgian there: Gustave Garrigou, Lucien Petit-Breton, François Faber *lu, Maurice Brocco, Octave Lapize (x3), Louis Mottiat, Alexis Michiels, Henri Pélissier are the winners between 1907 and 1920. The 1920 sprint between Henri Pélissier and Louis Mottiat was known for the latter's relegation to second place for allegedly drawing the former's jersey but Mottiat explained that he just gave Pélissier a friendly slap on his shoulder as he overtook him because of a bet they had previously made[1].

For the 1921 race, as Van Wijnendaele[2] put it, almost top riders were missing as the main cycle factory had to make some savings and they could not afford to participate. The twenties and thirties were globally characterised by isolationism whereby Belgian and Italian races rather had a local fields. Paris-Brussels was thus mainly Belgian. Only Nicolas Frantz *lu won it in 1927 and was second to Georges Ronsse #rainbow in 1928 with *au Sir Hubert Opperman being third.

After World War II, Paris-Brussels benefitted from the re-internationalisation of cycling thanks to the Desgrange-Colombo Challenge despite not being a part of it.

From 1959 onwards Paris-Brussels was a part of the Superprestige-Pernod, very highly ranked and probably more coveted than races such as Paris-Tours, Liège-Bastogne-Liège or perhaps the Tour of Flanders. For example, in 1966, the SPP point system looked like this[3]:

Tour of France: 100-70-60-50-45-40-35-30-25-20 (10)
Tour of Italy: 65-45-35-25-15-10-5 (7)
Tour of Spain: 65-40-30-15-5 (5)
World Championships: 70-45-30 (3)
Paris-Roubaix: 65-45-35-25-20-15-10-8-6-5 (10)
Milan-Sanremo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Brussels, Paris-Tours & Tour of Lombardy: 60-40-30-20-15-10-8-6-5-4 (10)
Paris-Nice, Dauphiné-libéré, Midi-libre & Paris-Luxembourg: 55-25-15-5 (4)
Bordeaux-Paris: 55-30-15-5 (4)
GP Nations: 45-20-10 (3)
Walloon Arrow & Liège-Bastogne-Liège: 35-20-15-10-7-5-4-3 (8)


Usually Paris-Brussels back then was the revenge for Paris-Roubaix one week earlier but in 1966 Felice Gimondi did not allow any revenge as he won both classics back to back. I don't remember where I read this but it seems that Jacques Anquetil was more impressed with Gimondi's Paris-Brussels win than by his Paris-Roubaix wins despite a longest solo move and greatest lead but the peloton was "apathetic". At Paris-Brussels Felice Gimondi escaped with the help of teammate Vittorio Adorni who eventually protected his breakaway by breaking turns in the chase group. Felice set a record average speed that year!



(reminder of Felice's win with music by the Mamas and the Papas :playlist )

After 1966, Paris-Brussels temporarily disappeared from the calendar. Its removal benefitted the Ardennes classics and especially Liège-Bastogne-Liège which was boosted to the great classic that we know of today thanks to loss of Paris-Brussels. At its return in 1973, Paris-Brussels became a September race was the spring calendar was too heavy.

That year Eddy Merckx of Brussels was keen to add the race he formerly visited as a kid to his palmares. In the nineties I had the pleasure to watch the final kilometers of it live thanks to the RTBF TV show by Théo Mathy "Mémoire d'exploits".

Merckx attacked in the final 10km out of a 14-man group with a lot of Belgian riders, plus *it #rainbow Felice Gimondi and *es Miguel-Maria Lasa among others. The Alsemberg climb (formerly the final climb of the Brabantian Arrow) had just been passed but at that time there was still a cobble section after it (probably asphalted since...). Roger De Vlaeminck countered but could not keep up. Then Frans Verbeeck went for it along with André Dierickx and Felice Gimondi but away was Merckx.



In 1974, Marc Demeyer benefitted from Roger De Vlaeminck being headed off route. In 1975 there seemed to have been an incident with André Dierickx but I don't know what happened, anyway Freddy Maertens won.

In 1976, 10 years after his first win, Felice Gimondi won his second Paris-Brussels, at age 34 it was the last major win of his career. Actually his biographer Franco Tota claimed he did not wish to race it but teammate Antoon "Tony" Houbrechts was really motivated and Tony was a dedicated gregario he had a lot of affection for and so he wanted to help him. Only they were with the three of them ahead: Tony Houbrechts, Hennie Kuiper and Felice. Felice attacked and Tony did again teamwork, some would say it meant pushing Kuiper, twice towards the walls in the ascent of Alsemberg. However Gimondi would still probably have won as Kuiper was anything but a sprinter.





It's interesting to note how well Paris-Brussels was ranked at the Superprestige Pernod in 1976:



Something that should also be remembered is the distance of that race.

That 1976 edition was 312km. The longest edition since 1952 (326km), no edition since were longer but still...

From 1983 to 1986 it was 301km and in 1987: 309! In 1988 it was 293km and 294 in 1989. That year, as Bordeaux-Paris had disappeared from the calendar, Paris-Brussels was the longest of all single-day race. Until then it was consistently longer than Milan-Sanremo!!!

But in 1990 the UCI saw it as an insult to their newly created World Cup (1989) - which of course Paris-Brussels was not a part of! - that other races could be as long. That way, all non-World Cup events were cut down to maximum 210km. Races like the Omloop (now Het Nieuwsblad), the Tour of Lazio (which now longer exists) and many Italian semi-classics, the Walloon Arrow, Ghent-Wevelgem, etc were all way longer than 220km in 1989 and cut down to maximum 210km (many less than 200km). Fortunately Ghent-Wevelgem's rightful distance has really been restored but meanwhile the harm was done.

It's one of the UCI's biggest scandals!! They really killed single-day races at the benefit of stage races.

Paris-Brussels was first granted an exemption to the rule because of the geographic distance between the two capital cities (though it did not really start in Paris but in Noyon and then Soissons). But still its distance was cut down from 294km in 1989 to 246km in 1990. Then still 250+km between 1993 and 1998, 260 in 1999, 249 in 2000, 240 in 2001 and 266 in 2002. After that the race was really dropped into an insignificant semi-classics: 226 to 216km between 2003 and 2012 before the UCI decision to implement the same rule as for all the other races: <210km!

That meant impossible to make it look like a real Paris-Brussels anymore so you could as well make it a loop around Brussels: the Brussels Cycling Classics...

---------------------

Provisional startlist:  http://www.procyclingstats.com/race/Brussels_Cycling_Classic_2017_Startlist


RTBF and Sporza are covering the race from 2.40pm on (CET) and L'Équipe TV as well.

Sun is rising right now in Brussels, so I'd say it's gonna be a nice day. Edit: Just as I said it, it's pouring rain. So no, it might be a gloomy day actually.  :D
 1. source: Émile Masson jr in "Mon père et moi, francs Masson du cyclisme belge" Arts et loisir
 2. In Parijs-Brussel van dat jaar ontbraken bijna al de eerste rangrenners. De rijwielfabrikanten die meenden besparingen te moeten doen, en zich de kosten van die koers niet te kunnen getroosten.
 3. http://www.wielerarchieven.be/forum/archive/index.php/t-1748.html
  • ReplyReply
  • « Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 09:25 by LukasCPH »
    "Paris-Roubaix is the biggest cycling race in the world, bigger than the Tour de France, bigger than any other bike race" (Sir Bradley Wiggins)

    Ram

    • Grand Tour Winner
    • Country: 00
    • Posts: 7864
    • Liked: 952
    • Awards: Best Opening Post 2012Member you would most like to meet in real life 2012
    Nice post, Echoes. Just one point, though. Warrnambool hasn't been a UCI accredited race for the best part of a decade. Domestic NRS race.
  • ReplyReply

  • Echoes

    • Road Captain
    • Country: be
    • Posts: 1258
    • Liked: 1316
    Nice post, Echoes. Just one point, though. Warrnambool hasn't been a UCI accredited race for the best part of a decade. Domestic NRS race.

    The Dutch Wikipedia page of the race says it's been demoted to a national race in 2009. Is that correct? It means that it was UCI accredited until, doesn't it?

    https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne_to_Warrnambool_Classic



    PS: I have nothing against Warrnambool, though. It's one of the Worlds oldest race and a real Australian classic. I wish it can keep its longest distance but I'd very much like Paris-Brussels to be revived in its classic distance too.  ;)
  • ReplyReply

  • Echoes

    • Road Captain
    • Country: be
    • Posts: 1258
    • Liked: 1316
    I was at the start.  :cool

    It was at the Parc du Cinquantenaire / Jubelpark. In my opinion, the best place to be in Brussels. After all as you could see it's a bright sunny day in Brussels. I could even enjoy sunbathing in the park afterwards.  :lol It is still sunny now. It's but 10 metro stations away from where I live, easy to go to. The finish is on the other end of the city at the King Baldwin Stadium, don't feel like going to.


    Anyone to help me with the real startlist. It could help me identify some riders. The Procyclingstats one is inaccurate.


    Oh I have to say that I've become a real fan of Arnaud Démare now.  #champfr (more the man behind the rider I would say) Arnaud is just always smiling. Just have a look. Always ready to sign autographs for kids or to be taken a picture of for fans. Besides, I've just read in Madiot's book "Parlons vélo" that Marc is requesting his rider to take off their helmet before the race starts in order to let people identify him. Arnaud did it here. On another race he said something like "You see, Marc, people recognise me". :D

    So here are pictures of Arnaud, Tiesj Benoot, Peter Serry and the Quick Step team on the podium. If you like it, more to come later on.  ;)

  • ReplyReply

  • Echoes

    • Road Captain
    • Country: be
    • Posts: 1258
    • Liked: 1316
    It might be a bit ungrateful to criticise the race change since of course it is harder for me to get to Soissons than to the Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels but I stand by my opinion. Even if it means I cannot enjoy a visit at the race start that easily, the start should be around Soissons.  ;)



    Some more pictures:

    Davide Martinelli (with Dries Devenyns behind)




    Simone Antonini (behind is "Autoworld" an old car museum which I visited with my parents when I was a very little kid! There you have T-Ford's or related cars, it's impressive, by the way the building facing it which you can see on the last pictures in the post above behind Arnaud Démare or behind Peter Serry is the Army Museum and behind that one is the Royal Institute for Art Heritage in the library of which I worked for some times ;))




    Is it Max Kanter on this one? (Zico Waeytens in the back in any case?)



    André Greipel & Tiesj Benoot




    Anyone to help me identify the following riders (it should be easier if we had the real startlist!!):





    (on the one here above there is definitely John Degenkolb next to the Sunweb rider, isn't he? :angel I'm really not a physiognomist  :D)




    Who are the riders next to Greipel here below and the AG2R rider on the second line?



    Bryan Coquard



    Arnaud Démare is still smiling brightly even on the start line.  :)



    Front line from the other side with Oliver Naesen, Marcus Burghardt, André Greipel and Arnaud Démare. I don't know who the Quick Step rider talking with Naesen is.



    Tiesj Benoot, Sean De Bie, Mike Teunissen, John Degenkolb, Davide Martinelli, etc.




    Ignatas Konovalovas and Dries Devenyns




    And one I'm really fond of! Timothy Dupont almost missed the start.  :lol














  • ReplyReply

  • LukasCPH

    • World Champion
    • *
    • Country: de
    • Posts: 10301
    • Liked: 6197
      • lukascph.media
    • Awards: Staff of the year 2016Staff of the year 2015Velorooms Tour de France BINGO champion 2014National Championships Predictions Game Winner 2014Velorooms Monday Quiz ChampionPoster of the Year 2013
    Here is the startlist from the race website. If that isn't correct, I don't know which one is: ;)


    Is it Max Kanter on this one? (Zico Waeytens in the back in any case?)


    Pretty sure it is Max Kanter, yes.

    Anyone to help me identify the following riders (it should be easier if we had the real startlist!!):



    #sunweb Phil Bauhaus (thick lips)
    #vlaanderen could be Piet Allegaert, but that's a guess only.
    #cibel Gianni Marchand (226)
    #wbva Alex Kirsch (instantly recognisable by his big mole)

    Who are the riders next to Greipel here below and the AG2R rider on the second line?


    Left #delko is Liepins (no. 115; he's a stagiaire, normally riding for Rietumu Banka-Riga). The other #delko is neither A. Kragh nor Finetto (those two I would recognise), but that's all I can say. #ag2r could be Cosnefroy.

    I don't know who the Quick Step rider talking with Naesen is.
    Kittel? No, probably one of the Belgians.
  • ReplyReply
  • 2017 0711|CYCLING PR Manager; 2016 Stölting Content Editor
    Views presented are my own.
    RIP Keith

    Echoes

    • Road Captain
    • Country: be
    • Posts: 1258
    • Liked: 1316
    Thank you.

    It's the right startlist. Apparently, Procyclingstats has finally updated it as well, actually. Before posting my previous post, the dossards #111 to #118 were assigned to Direct Energie riders, for instance, instead of Delko. Direct Energie has #121 to #128. It means that at a certain point, a team has been added. The startlist was correct until at least Sunweb. I thought it was a bit weird that while the race was underway they still didn't have the official startlist. I know that a subscription list can be modified until the last moment but in this case the race had already started.   :S

    I also intuitioned that it could have been Bauhaus on that picture but it stroke me that he had relatively thin thighs for a sprinter.  :lol When I took the picture of Max Kanter I actually thought it could have been Bauhaus because he has pretty huge sprinter thighs  :P and is also very young.

    Dear me, of course, it's Kittel chatting with Naesen. His name is written at the back of his helmet. I hadn't noticed that. Yet I seem to remember that they talked in Dutch but Kittel is very likely to be fluent in Dutch. It wouldn't be surprising.

    Poor Alex Kirsch. I had never seen his face before, didn't know he had that big mole.


    By the way, one thing that stroke me too yesterday. Very small attendance at the race start. :( I could pass everywhere. As you can see for example, I could cross the road before the start without any problems. Besides at the same time there was an event that was organised on the same place for the whole weekend. The "Village provençal". Remember that this is the "European quarter" of Brussels (where L'arriviste used to live :P) and the European Union is often promoting European regions overthere. So there was a big market with specialities from the Provence (the picture when I was at the right of the first line of riders with Yoann Offredo of Wanty, you can see the roofs of the arbours of it right of the "Sport Vlaanderen" flag). But the visitors of the market could not be bother to go and watch the race, it seems.  :shh

    Whenever I visited the Tour of Wallonia, for example, it was a lot more crowded. Even at the Tour of Namur, which is just an amateur race. Brussels is not really cycling-friendly it seems. It's more of a place for hockey, horse-racing or football. It's a big city after all. Both Wallonia and of course Flanders are more cycling-friendly.
  • ReplyReply

  • LukasCPH

    • World Champion
    • *
    • Country: de
    • Posts: 10301
    • Liked: 6197
      • lukascph.media
    • Awards: Staff of the year 2016Staff of the year 2015Velorooms Tour de France BINGO champion 2014National Championships Predictions Game Winner 2014Velorooms Monday Quiz ChampionPoster of the Year 2013
    It's a big city after all.
    I think this is the crux of it:
    It's a huge city, and there are so many things you can do. In a town of 30 000, if there's the start of a cycling race, that's a big deal. For Brussels, it's just of a dozen dozens things that go on that weekend.
  • ReplyReply

  • Echoes

    • Road Captain
    • Country: be
    • Posts: 1258
    • Liked: 1316
    Arnaud Démare: I've Reached My Objectives

    (Le Soir 4 September)



    The Winner of Paris-Brussels the Brussels Cycling will not go to the Worlds in Bergen

    Satisfied with his season the Picardian would rather stop Mid-September in order to better prepare for 2018

    He is still obsessed with the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix


    Of all three French sprinters who have been predicted a nice future Arnaud Démare is undoubtedly the most consistent, compared to Nacer Bouhanni and Bryan Coquard [all the more if we put Adrien Petit in the mix]. The most clear-minded as well, based on the post-race interview after his victory next to the "King Baldwin Stadium" [Stade Roi Baudouin,  :P].


    Stéphane Thirion: Third in 2014, second last year, you've been turning around it?

    It's the evidence that you need to domesticate a race. Last year Tom Boonen started the sprint very early. I underestimated his audacity. I emulated him this year, starting earlier than usual. I love this kind of uphill false flat finish but don't believe it was easy because I didn't have great legs.

    ST: Still if you compare to Marcel Kittel who retired

    Fortunately there was not a lot of movement unlike in the spring classics, otherwise I would not have been able to keep up either. I followed as much as I could, supported by an amazing team. Usually I don't dislike anticipating in order to get rid of rivals but here I couldn't.

    ST: Isn't it symbolical for a Picardian to win the former Paris-Brussels?

    Mostly for me. I discovered it as a stagiaire in 2011. I liked it right away. It's not on the same level as Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, a Flemish race, with climbs and a sprint at the end. I'm happy.

    ST: How did you cope with your retirement from the Tour of France?

    It's been hard and still is. I dedicated a lot of work in order to prepare it. Fortunately I won a stage but it was mentally hard to find motivation back. My challenges are basically in spring and in order to get back you have to get new ambitions. I didn't have a lot but here. Yet I was 2nd in Hamburg which was reassuring for me but in Plouay, sprinters were in the finale and not me. Doubts got back. What pleased me is that I could win in Brussels without being 100%

    ST: Is it harder for sprinters to keep motivated till the end of the season?

    In any case, it is for me. I've been concerned since the Star of Bessèges. I've reached all my objectives with wins in Algarve, at Paris-Nice, at the Dauphiné libéré, at the French nats, at the Tour of France, of course. I was 6th at Milan-Sanremo and at Paris-Roubaix. I had great pleasure with the races that make me dream.

    ST: How do you explain your absence at the Worlds on a route that is reputedly favourable to sprinters?

    Honestly right from the start of the season I haven't been convinced reading the Worlds profile. Bergen demanded a third big workload. After Doha last year, the break was short because in order to be fit for February, I need to start working early, before winter. I need to have a break even if there are other races that suit me such as Paris-Tours. I am going to Canada and then I stop. I'd rather be sure I'd be fit for the classics I love in spring. Marc Madiot understood me in this regards. He also knows I've reached my objectives. 10 victories is very good.

    ST: Your progression has been linear. At age 26 how far do you want to go?

    I'm getting more assurance [I don't know how to exactly translating "caisse", it's cycling jargon in French: it means "body", "experience" or something] every year. I've realised that, more particularly on single-day races. At the Tour of Flanders, I still was with the best with 25km to go. At Paris-Roubaix I was there. I've never made any mistery about the fact that these two classics make me dream. The aim is winning one of these two but if I already could podium one of them in 2018, I would sign for it right away.

    ST: Greg Van Avermaet has started winning classics at the dawn of his thirties. Is he an example for you?

    Absolutely. So is Philippe Gilbert, winning the Tour of Flanders at age 33. We are not all Sagan who started winning at age 20. When you are ageing you are more resistant in the efforts and you are enduring pain better. I needed more time to apprehend my position in races. Today I know what I'm talking about. I know exactly how I should train and and from when I should.
  • ReplyReply

  • Echoes

    • Road Captain
    • Country: be
    • Posts: 1258
    • Liked: 1316
    I've seen the sprint (rest not really worth watching, I guess). One thing puzzled me. How on earth did John Degenkolb chose to lead out the sprint for Jasper Stuyven and not the other way round. Okay, he was probably out of form but in 10 sprints against Stuyven, he would win 11 of them. Stuyven has a sprint but nothing to beat Arnaud Démare. Certainly when you can lose to Silvan Dillier, Oliver Naesen or Sep Vanmarcke.

    Anyway, nice to see my new Picardian hero Démare nailing it, even if not really a brilliant win, to his own admition.

  • ReplyReply

  • LukasCPH

    • World Champion
    • *
    • Country: de
    • Posts: 10301
    • Liked: 6197
      • lukascph.media
    • Awards: Staff of the year 2016Staff of the year 2015Velorooms Tour de France BINGO champion 2014National Championships Predictions Game Winner 2014Velorooms Monday Quiz ChampionPoster of the Year 2013
    I've seen the sprint (rest not really worth watching, I guess). One thing puzzled me. How on earth did John Degenkolb chose to lead out the sprint for Jasper Stuyven and not the other way round. Okay, he was probably out of form but in 10 sprints against Stuyven, he would win 11 of them. Stuyven has a sprint but nothing to beat Arnaud Démare. Certainly when you can lose to Silvan Dillier, Oliver Naesen or Sep Vanmarcke.
    Maybe Degenkolb wasn't feeling good on the day, and Stuyven felt phenomenal.
    Or Degenkolb just decided it was time to give something back to Stuyven.
    Or both.

    Probably a mix of all that - if Degenkolb felt he wasn't going to challenge for the win, then why bother? A fifth place in this race means nothing to him.
    Now, Stuyven isn't a greenhorn neo-pro, but the experience of sprinting against the best in a 1.HC race is still a valuable one for him and his further development.
  • ReplyReply

  •  

    Race Calendar


    Sorry! There are no calendar events available at the moment.

    Latest Roadbooks

    Recent Posts

    Re: Race news 2018 - Rumours , Dates, Parcours , Wildcards etc. by Leadbelly
    [November 17, 2017, 18:35]


    Re: Team Sponsorship 17/18 by Leadbelly
    [November 17, 2017, 18:21]


    Re: Team Sponsorship 17/18 by Leadbelly
    [November 17, 2017, 18:12]


    Re: Mens transfers and Rumors 2017-18 by Leadbelly
    [November 17, 2017, 05:25]


    Re: Retirement announcements by search
    [November 16, 2017, 08:13]


    Re: The Academy of Cycling by Leadbelly
    [November 15, 2017, 20:35]



    Top
    Back to top