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94th "Centenary" Paris-Roubaix 1996 (1896-1996) (France)

By Barry Boyce,




Mapei's "Arranged" Finish

First run in 1896, the 1996 Paris-Roubaix mark the “Centenary Edition” of the “Queen of the Classics“.

The powerful Mapei-GB team controlled the race from start to finish. With 90 km to go Mapei’s Johan Museeuw, Gianluca Bortolami, Andrea Tafi, and Team Lotto’s Andrea Tchmil shattered the race and quickly opened a 1 minute lead.

62 km from the velodrome Museeuw and Tafi broke away from the lead group with Bortolami chasing. Once the Mapei trio was together they began to pull steadily away entering the cobble section at Bersee.

Mapei team director Patrick Lefevre issued controversial team-orders with 15 km to go that Museeuw was to win. However, through the next to last cobbled section at Hem, Museeuw punctured with 8 km to go. Italians Bortolami and Tafi had conversations with the team car and were forced to wait. The Belgian was back with his teammates on the Hill at Hem 5 km from the finish.

Bell lap

Johan Museeuw led the Mapei trio into the velodrome and began to celebrate as the bell rang for the final lap of the velodrome. Gianluca Bortolami and Andrea Tafi waved to the crowd as Museeuw rolled across the line for the “arranged” finish.

(L to R) Tafi, winner Museeuw, and Bortolami

SPECIAL NOTE: In celebration of the Centenary Edition of P-R a final 300 meter stretch of cobbles “Roubaix, Espace Charles Crupelandt“ was added just before the entrance to the velodrome. It was named for a local two time P-R champion Charles Crupelandt (winner in 1912 and 1914).

P-R's new Cobbled Section #1

P-R April 14, 1996
263.5 Km, Compiegne to Roubaix (Velodrome)

1. Johan MUSEEUW (Bel) 6h05’00" Mapei-GB

2. Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Mapei-GB
3. Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-GB
Starters: 184
Finishers: 56
Average Speed: 43.310 km/h


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