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47th Paris-Roubaix 1949 (France)

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

Confusing Outcome of The Affair

The 1949 Edition of Paris-Roubaix set into motion a series of events that challenged officials of National Federations and the UCI (Union Cycliste International).

A three rider breakaway (Andre Mahe (Fra), Jacques Moujica (Fra), and Frans Leenen (Bel)) rode into Roubaix near the entrance of the Velodrome when a road marshal signaled the breakaway off course. In a panic the breakaway approached the Velodrome from the opposite side. A journalist came to the rescue and pointed Mahe and Leeren to the track's press entrance. Mahe won the sprint as the peloton entered the track from the correct side. Serse Coppi won the bunch sprint as the confusion began.

Lead finish line judge Henri Boudard declared Andre Mahe the winner. An immediate appeal was launched by Coppi. An overwhelmed Boudard upheld the protest and Coppi was declared the winner. But this was not the end of the affair.

Five days later the French Cycling Federation reversed the results and declared Mahe first and Leenen second. Now the Italian Federation appealed to the UCI. The power of the Coppi name came into play. In August the UCI cancelled the entire results, deferring the matter until the UC Congress meetings in November.

November 13, 1949 the Congress reached a compromise and declared Serse Coppi and Andre Mahe equally first.

The story of the 1949 Paris-Roubaix will be remembered for the controversial finish not the aggressive, star-studded race that unfolded.

P-R April 17, 1949
244 Km, St. Denis (north of Paris) to Roubaix (Velodrome)

1. * Andre MAHE (Fra) 6h11'59

1. * Serse Coppi (Ita) 6h11'59
3. ** Frans Leenen (Bel)
3. ** George Martin (Fra)
3. ** Jacques Moujica (Fra)
Starters: 217
Finishers: 109
Average Speed: 39.256 km/h

 

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