84th Paris-Roubaix 1986 (France)


By Barry Boyce,

CR Timeline 1986

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The King and the “Queen of the Classics

SPECIAL NOTE: The finish line in 1986 was shifted away from the Roubaix Velodrome for the first time since 1943.  The new finish area was on the Avenue des Nations-Unies in front of the headquarters of major sponsor La Redoute.

Irishman Sean Kelly, Paris-Roubaix champion in 1984, said “P-R is the toughest classic to win.”  You must ride at the front and have great luck to be in position to win the “Queen of the Classics.”

American Greg LeMond suffered a broken derailleur and needed a bike change.  The delay cost LeMond a chance of catching the front group. 

The drama of the race was played out by a lead group of 28 riders including “King” Kelly.  Forty-four kilometers from Roubaix young Belgian Rudy Dhaenens attacked and opened a 30” gap.  Kelly did not react immediately.

In Templeuve Kelly started to quicken the chase.  Francesco Moser (P-R winner in 1978, 78, 80) and Domenique Lecrocq joined Kelly.  Dhaenens was caught just before the cobbles of Camphin-en-Pevele.  With 18 kms to go Kelly attacked.  Only Dhaenens, Adri Van der Poel, and Ferdi Van den Haute could hold the Irishman’s wheel. 

Van der Poel, the winner of Flanders a week earlier, was Kelly main concern.  At Flanders Kelly lead out the sprint from too far away and was passed by Van der Poel.  On the Avenue des Nations-Unies Kelly worked hard to get the proper position. 

Ferdi Van den Haute started the sprint from 400 meters and a perfectly positioned Sean “King” Kelly easily powered past the others for the victory.


P-R April 13, 1986
268 Km, Compiegne to Roubaix (Ave des Nations-Uries)

1. Sean KELLY (Ire) 6h48'23"

2. Rudy Dhaenens (Bel) +1"
3. Adri Van der Poel (Ned)
Starters: 179
Finishers: 57
Average Speed: 39.374 km/h



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