Posted by Editor on 04/15/01
Servais Knaven (Domo) has just scored the biggest victory of his career by winning the Paris-Roubaix World Cup, ahead of team mates Johan Museeuw and Romans Vainsteins. American george Hincapie (U.S. Postal) took fourth. This year's race was particularly hard because of the amount of mud through the cobbled sections after very wet weather leading up to the race.
Wilfried Peeters (Domo) went away from a lead group containing team mates Museeuw and Knaven, Hincapie, Leon van Bon (Mercury), Ludo Dierckxsens (Lampre) and Steffen Wesemann (Telekom), at the Arenberg Forest - only 165 kilometres into the 254 kilometre race. Vainsteins joined them later.
For a long time it looked to be the right move, since none of the lead group was willing to pull up defending champion Museeuw to his team mate. The gap reached a maximum of 1:20, then back down to less than half a minute with 30 kilometres to go. However, at this point the chasers seemed to lose heart (partially since they could not drop the 3 Domo riders in the group), and Peeters' lead jumped back up to 1 minute.
With 20 kilometres to go, the only person seriously chasing was Hincapie, fresh from his victory at Ghent-Wevelgem, but the gap was a minute plus. Then, with 17 kilometres to go, Peeters starting tiring, van Bon crashed, Museeuw flatted . . . in other words, things began to get interesting!
A group of 4 caught and dropped Peeters with 13 kilometres left - Hincapie, world champion Vainsteins, Knaven and Dierckxsens. Meanwhile, Museeuw made a heroic effort after his flat, catching the lead 4 and bringing Peeters back up with him at 10 kilometres to go - meaning 4 of the 6 leaders were Domo team mates. Knaven immediately began launching attacks, forcing Hincapie to chase. On his third attack, Knaven finally got a gap and had over 30 seconds lead with 5 kilometres left.
As Knaven's lead approached a minute in the final three and a half kilometres, Domo started sending Vainsteins and then Museeuw off the front. Museeuw managed to break free for second, and then Vainsteins took third - 1/2/3 for Domo - with Hincapie a disappointing fourth.
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