Sunday, April 10, 2011

Herman van Springel - Mr. Bordeaux-Paris

Herman van Springel

Herman van springel (born August 14, 1943) is a Belgian former road racing cyclist, from Grobbendonk, in the Flemish Campine or Kempen region. 

He was an accomplished time-trial rider, almost winning the Tour de France in 1968, when he was beaten in the last stage by Dutchman, Jan Janssen in a time-trial. (he lost the tour by 38 seconds) In the autumn of that year, he won the classic Giro di Lombardia.

Herman won seven editions of the marathon Bordeaux-Paris. Winning years in this race were: 1970, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1981. No other rider comes close to his record at this race. 

Van Springel's pro bicycle racing career was from 1965 through 1981. He had around 145 pro victories to his credit.


The Bordeaux-Paris professional bicycle race was one of Europe's Classic Races, and one of the longest in the professional calendar, covering approximately, 560km (350 miles) - more than twice most single-day races. It started in northern Bordeaux in south-west France at 2am and finished in the capital Paris about 14 hours later.

The event was first run on May 23, 1891, and the Derby of the Road as it was sometimes called, was notable in that riders were paced - allowed to slipstream - behind tandem or conventional cycles. From 1931, pacing was by motorcycles or small pedal-assisted Dernys. Pacing was also briefly by cars. In early events, pacing was provided from Bordeaux. In later events, it was introduced part-way towards Paris. From 1946 to 1986, more than half the distance was paced, Dernys being introduced at Poitiers or Chatellerault, roughly half-way. The final edition of the race was held in 1988.
Herman van Springel in Molteni Jersey

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