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70th Paris-Roubaix 1972 (France)

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

“The Gypsy’s” First Paris-Roubaix Victor

Nicknamed the Gypsy Roger De Vlaeminck started a love affair with the “Hell of the North”.  A gifted athlete the Belgian used a great sense of balance to guide over the tough cobbled roads of Northern France.

The race left Chantilly under miserable weather conditions with cold temperatures and an icy rain.  The large peloton approached the always tough Arenberg Forest at great speed.  The wet condition made the passage almost impossible.  On the muddy cobblestones a monumental 40 rider crash took Eddy Merckx to the pavement.  The crash allowed a 17 rider group to form with Rger De Vlaeminck driving the pace. 

Willy Van Malderghem and Alain Santy seized an opportunity with 50 kms to go and built a 1’40” lead.  An inspired De Vlaeminck chased solo and caught Malderghem entering the cobbles at Cysoing. 

From that point in the race De Vlaeminck was untouchable.  E rode steadily away from Malderghem and entered the velodrome with nearly a two minute lead. 

Roger “the Gypsy” De Vlaeminck gained the first Paris-Roubaix victory of his career. 

P-R April 16, 1972
272.5 Km, Chantilly to Roubaix (Velodrome)

1. Roger DE VLAEMINCK (Bel) 7h24'05"

2. Andre Dierickx (Bel) +1'57"
3. Barry Hoban (GBr) +2'13"
Starters: 160
Finishers: 49
Average Speed: 36.709 km/h

 

 

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