Posted by Editor on 04/9/00
Museeuw Wins Paris-Roubaix
Mapei's Johann Museeuw has taken the Paris-Roubaiz Classic with a close finish that saw him close to being caught at the line after a 50 kilometre breakaway effort.
The 98th Paris-Roubaix had its first serious attack at the 40 kilometre mark, when 12 riders went clear, including Tom Steels (Mapei Quick Step), Jacky Durand (Lotto) and US Postal's Marty Jemison. While the group managed to gain as much as 3:30 on the peloton, once the field hit the notorious Forest of Arenberg cobbles, the gap dropped quickly. Steels and a couple of others managed to stave off capture for just over 150 kilometres, but the chasing group of approximately 30, containing all the favourites (Johann Museeuw, Erik Zabel, Franco Ballerini, Andrei Tchmil, George Hincapie and others) is starting to cook, and the breakaways are brought back just before the 200 kilometre mark.
It finally gets interesting as the riders enter the last 50 kilometres, with Frankie Andreu (US Postal) attacking just before a section of cobbles, and being joined by Museeuw (Mapei Quick Step). The pair gain time quickly, with 7 riders behind (3 Postal, 4 Mapei) controlling the chase, and are over a minute up with 40 kilometres left. At this point Museeuw drops Andreu and goes it alone.
Initially, Museeuw doesn't make any extra time but, in the last 30 kilometres the gap begins to go up, reaching nearly 3 minutes with just over 20 kilometres to go. He is aided by Mapei's blocking behind, and the unwillingness of US Postal to work when they have Andreu in second.
However, after Andreu was caught, the attacks began. US Postal's Hincapie was one of the instigators, as was Wesemann (Telekom), who got a gap and began to close in on Museeuw. The chase group was splintering and, as the leaders entered the last 10 kilometres, Museeuw's gap was down to just over a minute. Hincapie, Wesemann and Hoffmann (Memorycard), World Cup leader Erik Zabel (Telekom) and a few others make up the group who will sprint for second.
The chase group keeps getting closer and closer, leading to a nailbiting finish - will Museeuw stay away? In the end, he does, winning his second Paris-Roubaix by less than a lap on the velodrome finish. Behind, Peter Van Petegem outsprints Zabel for second. Hoffmann is fourth, Zanini fifth and George Hincapie sixth. Full results to follow.
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