Unforgettable Rides: 1993 Paris-Roubaix

Unforgettable Rides: 1993 Paris-Roubaix

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In 1993, before the UCI put a stranglehold on the means by which riders sought to go faster, innovation flowed through the peloton. Training methods evolved rapidly (apparently in tandem with the potency of the drugs available at the time) and bicycle design was in a period of exciting change spurred on by Greg LeMond’s win in the 1989 Tour de France after using aerobars to overturn a 50-second deficit on Laurent Fignon.

Paris-Roubaix, more than any other event on the calendar, would see some of the most dramatic experimentation, as riders lost themselves in their pursuit to smooth out the race’s brutal terrain. In a five year span, we went from LeMond fitting Rock Shox to his bike to Johan Museeuw showing up aboard a full-suspension Bianchi. The Rock Shox were at first met with raised eyebrows and thinly-veiled snickers until Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle used them to roll over the finish line as the victor at age 37 in 1992. Not surprisingly, 1993 saw many more machines sheepishly toeing the start line with products borrowed from Mountain Bikes, including the GB Team’s custom-built Bianchi’s decorated with Softride suspension stems.

Balance is a critical component in cycling. Balance between rider and machine, of course, but also between comfort and rigidity. As anyone who has ridden with font-suspension will tell you, what is good over the cobbles may not be as good in a closely-contested finish. Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, the defending champion, and Franco Ballerini, the upstart Italian, broke away together and, with their front-ends quivering like plates of over-cooked pasta, made their way to the velodrome.

The Italian’s confidence in his sprint was matched only by Duclos-Lassalle’s experience on the track. The two wobbled their way to the line, sprinting as hard as their soggy forks would allow and threw their bikes with a synchronization that would be the envy of any Olympic swim-dancing team.

Ballerini was certain he’d won. Duclos-Lassalle wasn’t so sure he’d lost. The referees went to the photo and served Franco a juicy slice of humble pie, in what was one of the closest finishes in Paris-Roubaix ever. Ballerini swore he’d never ride Roubaix again, but nevertheless won it in 1995 and 1998. Solo. On a bike without suspension.

// Nostalgia // Unforgettable Rides

  1. @Chris
    As for my mountain biking, just think “1991-1993” and channel that logic. You know – when people still rode their bikes uphill rather than only down, and when “technical riding” still meant going around things rather than hopping on boulders…

    As for Electric Six, mate, they are the only band from Detroit that Jack White has not only not gotten into a fist fight with, but has actually collaborated with. They do take a certain subtle sense of humor to appreciate, though…kind of like…hm?

  2. @frank

    @brett
    You can’t ignore my techno.

    It’s actually not that fucking hard to…

  3. Another great write-up on the ’93 Roubaix over at Tears for Gears:
    http://www.tearsforgears.com/2010/02/road-bike-action-august-1993-paris.html

    @brett

    @frank
    Exactly. Softride stems aren’t real suspension.
    Have you not been listening to me? Get yourself a 29er trail bike. That Ritchey is nice, but are you an XC racer? Well are you, punk?

    Maybe I will be. Take THAT.

  4. @Chris
    The voice of the lady is actually Jack White. Chris, this one’s for you, baby.

  5. just to tempt @frank
    Dump the Ritchey and think about this

    Or some Dutch Ti love,

  6. @frank
    Wow, are you actually an orangutan? I’m pretty jealous of the amount of drop you can get, I have short arms.

    If you get a new MTB with sloping TT, you’re going to need one unbelievably long seatpost.

  7. In a similar vein, do you guys have any preference for fit systems? I am going to see if I can start a build up, and was wondering the best way to go about fit.

  8. @frank
    People still do ride their bikes uphill and technical doesn’t mean trials riding. Sheesh, haven’t you even heard the phrase All Mountain?

  9. The complete package, Allsop Powercurve, RevXs, Softride Beam.

  10. @Chipomarc

    The complete package, Allsop Powercurve, RevXs, Softride Beam.

    Every time someone posts a photo of a softened – a cycling fairy falls from the sky

  11. @Marcus
    And his name is?…
    @Scaler911 was sailing pretty close to the wind in previous posts

  12. @frank
    Please tell me the pro season starts soon . . this is a cycling site, right? Sheesh!

  13. @Marcus

    @Chipomarc

    The complete package, Allsop Powercurve, RevXs, Softride Beam.

    Every time someone posts a photo of a softened – a cycling fairy falls from the sky

    Looks like they need to add a few links to the chain – that rear derailleur is looking a bit stressed! Mind you, if you’re riding one of these with that handlebar tape, your judgement is likely impaired to begin with.

  14. @DerHoggz
    The Competitive Cyclist site fit calculator will get you 95% there. You may still have to adjust seat post height, offset, and stem by tweaking, however. Just grab a friend you trust and do the measurements.

  15. Sorry if I missed it, but has anyone found/posted a video of this race?

    Also, while looking for it I came across this. Damn, Roger still looks great. I like the bike he’s riding too – is that splash tape? More proof that in the off-season/retirement, the PROS will ride whatever bike is kicking around their garage.

    In that finish at P-R that they show who is wearing the Rainbows and getting overtaken at the line?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lLflfpuk6o&feature=related

  16. Ha, was just checking out Paris-Roubaix videos & then checked the 1985 finishing spots…awesomest cyclist name I’ve never heard of: Ferdi Van Den Haute, 10th in 1985.

    I wonder if Ferdi was short for Ferdinand or if that was it?

  17. @Ron
    Better than Adrie van Houwelingen? Fons de Wolf?

  18. @mouse

    @Marcus
    And his name is?…
    @Scaler911 was sailing pretty close to the wind in previous posts

    Ya. I do tend to do that, not on purpose though………..

  19. @Oli

    @frank
    People still do ride their bikes uphill and technical doesn’t mean trials riding. Sheesh, haven’t you even heard the phrase All Mountain?

    I’ve never heard of All Mountain except for downhill skis. I think that was sarcasm from Frank. You’re kinda grumpy this holiday season, no?
    Speaking of skiing:

    Sorry (not really), I do love my downhillers, and I’m absolutely certain thats a girl.

  20. @RedRanger
    I like this one too.

  21. @wiscot
    I think that’s a chain tensioner, not a derailleur

  22. @Marko
    very nice indeed. certainly easier to come by than the Van Nicholas Astraeus bike.

  23. @scaler911
    It helps that she’s the best skier in the world at the moment …

  24. @Marko

    FTW Especially now that I’ve flipped the stem and gone tubeless…

  25. @scaler911
    It was a joke! I was taking a swipe at the arbitrary classification of various MTB riding types, but obviously my ascerbic wit doesn’t translate well into dry text…

  26. @frank

    @ChrisAs for my mountain biking, just think “1991-1993″³ and channel that logic. You know – when people still rode their bikes uphill rather than only down, and when “technical riding” still meant going around things rather than hopping on boulders…
    As for Electric Six, mate, they are the only band from Detroit that Jack White has not only not gotten into a fist fight with, but has actually collaborated with. They do take a certain subtle sense of humor to appreciate, though…kind of like…hm?

    I’m a day late and a dollar short (this site wouldnt let me log in yesterday) but if people are posting electric Six then we need to have this. Scaler 11…don’t look. You will be confused.

  27. @sgt

    @Marko

    FTW Especially now that I’ve flipped the stem and gone tubeless…

    Where are the nuts? Was that your bike?

  28. @frank

    @Chris
    As for my mountain biking, just think “1991-1993″³ and channel that logic. You know – when people still rode their bikes uphill rather than only down, and when “technical riding” still meant going around things rather than hopping on boulders…

    Also been struggling to log in. Was going say I quite liked the last Electric Six clip but I’ll rephrase that as I’ve not had a chance to watch the Gay Bar clip (internet is too slow this time of night, 256k slow. Danger High, Voltage is a damn sight better than the Euro synth offering. Is that where some of you chaps got your obsession with tweed?

    1991 – 1993, wasn’t that the point when everyone else realised that suspension was the way forward and that it had to be between the wheels and the frame rather than between the frame and rider. As for “technical riding” didn’t that mean that you had to go around everything rather than having the choice and being able to find your flow, the mountain biking equivalent of La Volupte. Does Michelle have to wait for ages at the top and bottom of the hills when you go mountain biking together?

    I understand the reason for the oversize epms now, to carry spares for your suspension tech.

  29. @paolo, @Chris
    Yeah…upgraded the backend to PHP5.3 and there were some sneaky problems. I’ve had a lovely day plugging holes. Sorry for the trouble.

  30. As long as we’re posting ridiculous videos with six in the title:

  31. @frank

    @Marko
    Merry Merckxness and a happy new years

  32. @Marko

    The devil with you sir…call my video ridiculous indeed. Click on the link..I’ll show you ridiculous.

    http://www.rathergood.com/gaybar

    ok so I cant link..copy and paste. Once you go to rathergood.com your life won’t be the same…

  33. yeaaa I did link I am so not a computer spazz. ( actually am…but how many of you can break down long chain olefins eh ? )

  34. @frank

    @paolo, @ChrisYeah…upgraded the backend to PHP5.3 and there were some sneaky problems. I’ve had a lovely day plugging holes. Sorry for the trouble.

    No worries mate, coming to velominati is always a pleasure, never a chore.

    Even when I cant log in.

  35. Wow. I just watched the 1985 finish. Marc Madiot, nice. A crash when they reach the velodrome. Jeez, to make it that far.

    Then…the interview with LeMan?! Mud covered face, half delirious, and so gassed he acts like 4th is a shame. Oh, and his hair net is quite askew. He’s amazing in the interview, almost acting as if the viewer might be unaware of what he just pulled off. Like he was just out riding his bike, not hammering it in the Paris-Roubaix!

  36. @paolo
    This is the best fan-vid of Gay Bar for sure. I love how they look at eachother longingly towards the end.

  37. @Ron
    Oh, we’re talking about cycling again?? Oh.

    Yeah – that attitude – that 4th is bad – is what makes people like LeMond end up winning 3 Tours and a couple world championship road races. Never being satisfied with anything less that numero uno is what it takes.

    Marc Madiot – he’s the DS for Français des Jeux and directed Gilbert for a while. Love his win in…was it 1991? The way he pedaled over the stones with his bike bouncing around while his body was totally still. A perfect example of how to ride them. Amazing.

    Ok, just checked – yeah, it was 1991.

  38. @frank
    Holy dustbowl Batman! You know the pros are killing it when they are bobbing and weaving all over thier machines!

  39. A good article on current wheelsets, tires, pressures used at this year’s P-R.

  40. @frank

    Awesome video Frank.

    (it could use some kittens dancing in viking helmets in the background but awesome none the less).

    Ok, no more interuptions from me. Cycling…carry on.

  41. @Ron
    Do you have any links?

  42. @frank
    Perhaps where Bad Lip Reading gets its current inspiration. Very good.

  43. @minion
    Pic taken pre-nuts… for some reason the site ain’t liking my picture uploads lately (either wrong orientation or won’t load at all), so you’ll have to use your imagination…

  44. Always did love that RMO jersey. Along with La Vie Claire it was one of the coolest jersies of the 80s. Madiot, Mottet, Claveyrolat did it proud! Had replicas of both but the LVC one went awol. (Insert very sad face here).

  45. @G’rilla
    Thanks. Good article.

  46. @sgt

    @minion
    Pic taken pre-nuts… for some reason the site ain’t liking my picture uploads lately (either wrong orientation or won’t load at all), so you’ll have to use your imagination…

    Should work now – there were lots of bugs with the upgrade to PHP 5.3, but they’re getting fixed. Nothing like non-stop debugging for 32 hours straight to get things working again.

  47. @wiscot

    Always did love that RMO jersey. Along with La Vie Claire it was one of the coolest jersies of the 80s. Madiot, Mottet, Claveyrolat did it proud! Had replicas of both but the LVC one went awol. (Insert very sad face here).

    Moi aussi. Somewhere deep in my drafts is an article about the RMO team. I’ll have to finish that one day. Awesome. There’s a lot of Virenque hate here, but I always loved the guy.

  48. @DerHoggz

  49. The new Trek Domane has possibly given us the most innovative suspension technology since the controversial Zertz inserts from Specialized (do they work, or are they a gimmick?) I vote gimmick, but that’s another argument. Let’s take a closer gander at the Domane.
    1) The handlebars are pretty nice, taking the fi'zi:k gel pads to a better place.
    2) The asymmetric seatpost makes loads of sense. Maybe more challenging for aftermarket posts, but not any more than the integrated posts are currently.
    3) Now for the IsoSpeed joint. So simple and elegant – Has this been done before? I question that it will last the life of the bicycle, but servicing doesn’t look all that difficult.

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