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31st Paris-Roubaix 1930 (France)

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

Race Jury Decides the Victory

Special Note: Following the 1929 race the promoters faced harsh criticism for finishing P-R on a cinder running track. The Avenue des Villas returned as the finish line in 1930.

Paris-Roubaix 1930 was a tale of two riders, a narrow cobbled lane and a race jury. Frenchman Jean Marechal and Belgian Julien Vervaecke totally dominated the race and led the race for 65 kilometers. Approaching Roubaix Vervaecke was ordered to stop working in the breakaway. Undaunted Marechal continued to drive the pace until Vervaecke launched an attack. Angrily the Frenchman chased and caught the Belgian wheelsucker.

Through a narrow cobbled section Marechal tried to pass Vervaecke and the two riders collided. Vervaecke lost control and tumbled into a ditch. Quickly back on the bike he chased hard but couldn't catch the Frenchman. Onto the Avenue des Villas in Roubaix Marechal crossed the finish line for the apparent victory. 24 seconds later an irate Vervaecke crossed the line and immediately lodged a protest. Anxiously race officials huddled to discuss the incident.

The ruling determined that the incident was not intentional so Marechal could not be disqualified. However, external interests seemed to influence additional rulings by race officials. Contrary to the original ruling Marechal was relegated to 2nd place and the victory was awarded to Vervaecke.

French observers noted that Vervaecke rode for the powerful Alcyon team, who spent large amounts of money on newspaper advertising. Marechal rode for a small Parisian contractor. No official proof was offered to support this theory but for the rest of his life Jean Marechal steadfastly claimed the 1930 Paris-Roubaix victory was stolen from him!

P-R March 20, 1930
258 Km, Porte Maillot Paris to Roubaix (Ave des Villas)

1. Julien VERVAECKE (Bel) 8h11'14

2. Jean Marechal (Fra) *
3. Antonin Magne (Fra)
* finished 1st but declassified
Starters: 86
Finishers: 36
Average Speed: 31.146 km/h

 

 

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