17 April 2007

O'Grady Storms 'Hell of the North'...

O'Grady Takes Paris-Roubaix Glory

53km of the 259km race is run over cobblestones

Stuart O'Grady became the first-ever Australian winner of cycling's Paris-Roubaix classic on Sunday.
The 33-year-old came home alone ahead of Spain's Juan Antonio Flecha and Swiss former winner Steffen Wesemann.

Britain's Roger Hammond, second in this week's Gent-Wevelgem one-day classic in Belgium, continued his good form by finishing in seventh place.

Switzerland's defending champion Fabian Cancellara dropped out of contention late on in 'The Hell of the North'.

Italian Alessandro Ballan, last week's Tour of Flanders winner, also failed to keep up with the pacesetters in the decisive latter stages.

The finale of the race was brought to life by O'Grady, who made up for team-mate Cancellara's demise by attacking on his own in the final 25km.

Before Sunday's win, O'Grady's last major victory was in 2004 when he teamed up with Graeme Brown to win Madison gold at the Athens Olympics.

He switched to CSC following a period in which his career stalled because of a major crash and a move to a team which did not materialise.

"Relief is the first word that comes to mind," said O'Grady. "It's been a hard 18 months, I've been through a lot. It's a dream come true."


Paris-Roubaix results:

1. Stuart O'Grady (Aus/Team CSC) 6 hours 9 mins 7 secs
2. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa/Rabobank) at 52 secs
3. Steffen Wesemann (Swi/Team Wiesenhof) same time
4. Bjoern Leukemans (Belg/Predictor-Lotto) +53"
5. Roberto Petito (Ita/Liquigas) +55"
6. Tom Boonen (Bel/Quick Step) "
7. Roger Hammond (GB/T-Mobile) "
8. Enrico Franzoi (Ita/Lampre) +56"
9. Kevin Van Impe (Bel/Quick Step) +1:24"
10. Fabio Baldato (Ita/Lampre) +2:27"

20. January 2009: The End of an Error

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