Coppi and Bobet Feud as Forestier Wins
The 1955 edition of Paris-Roubaix saw several course changes to add minor difficulties and several new towns. Two elites of cycling, Fausto Coppi and Louison Bobet, met politely at the start, but their bitter rivalry would play a major role in the outcome of the race.
An early breakaway was caught as the wet and muddy peloton approached the famed hill at Doullens. The real action started 41 km from Roubaix in Courcelles when local rider Gilbert Schodeller broke clear of the pack solo. Quickly Bernard Gauthier and Jean Forestier joined Schodeller in the breakaway.
Several kilometers later Forestier accelerated and dropped the Gauthier and Schodeller. An elite group of 10 including Coppi, Bobet and Swiss Hugo Koblet chased hard. Coppi and Bobet drove the pace of the dwindling pack as the led dangled at 100 meters.
The Coppi/Bobet rivalry became evident in the closing kilometers. Bobet, the better sprinter, stopped working in the chase group. Coppi needed to rest or he would be overcome in the velodrome by Bobet's superior sprint. The pace of the chase slowed. Schodeller carrier the chase group into the velodrome.
A tiring but determined Jean Forestier held off the trio to gain a 15 second victory. The huge crowd at the velodrome was treated to a classic sprint for second place. Fausto Coppi led out the sprint from the back of the group and held off the late charge of Louison Bobet.
SPECIAL NOTE: The rivalry became even more bitter as the two stars left the velodrome without saying a word to each other.
P-R April 10, 1955
249 Km, St. Denis (north of Paris) to Roubaix (Velodrome)
Jean FORESTIER (Fra) 6h06'42”
Fausto Coppi (Ita) +15”
Louison Bobet (Fra)
Average Speed: 40.741 km/h
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