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51st Paris-Roubaix 1953 (France)

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

The Making of a Champion

A victory at Paris-Roubaix, one of cycling's 5 monuments, can make a rider's career. In 1953 promising Belgian Germain Derycke was listed as the favorite, but the strong field included defending champions Rik Van Steenbergen, Belgians Raymond Impanis, and Stan Ockers. 168 riders departed St. Denis with several neo-pros attacking from the gun.

After a general re-grouping in Amiens the elites came to the front and real racing got started. Rik Van Steenbergen escaped the peloton with 130 km to the finish. The other contenders started their pursuit on the Doullens Hill. Approaching Arras, slightly more than 50 km to go, and a 4 rider group held a slim lead.

Italian Donato Piazzo made his bid for victory on the hill at Hem, the final difficulty of the race. Unfortunately the attack failed and the 2 entered the velodrome together.

Around the final bend Piazzo dropped down the track and led out the sprint. Down the final stretch Derycke powered past the Italian to claim the first big win of his illustrious career.

P-R April 12, 1953
245 Km, St. Denis (north of Paris) to Roubaix (Velodrome)

1. Germain DERYCKE (Bel) 5h39'19

2. Donato Piazza (Ita)
3. Wout Wagtmans (Bel)
Starters: 168
Finishers: 75
Average Speed: 43.422 km/h

 

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