1980 Bordeaux-Paris



Daniel Schamps International Cycle Sport July 1980


ICS8007THE 18th of May was really the day for marathons. Firstly the London to Bradford where your domestic professionals faced the continental stars of the Daf and La Redoute formations. Then in and around Paris an athletics race took place starting from the Etoile on the top of the Champs-Elysees to finish on the Place de la Concorde after passing through all the Parisian arrondissements. The third one was held between Bordeaux and Paris for the 77th time and gathered together twenty courageus riders who started very early in the morning to reach Paris, or to be more exact, Fontenay-sous-bois, in the close east outskirts of Paris, at a reasonable hour for the spectators.
Last year Herman Van Springel was the great favourite but had been beaten by the Gitane joker Andre Chalmel who took advantage of a crash bythe Belgian (record-holder for the number of victories) from which he could not recover and increased his lead on him and Regis Delepine to win his first Bordeaux-Paris, being the first French rider to add his name to the honours list of the race since 1974, the year when Delepine shared the victory with Van Springel because of a mistake by the organisers who added several kilometres to the course for Van Springel near Orleans but at the same time penalised him at the finish.
Since that time, after a victory in 1970, Mister Bordeaux-Paris has won in 1975, 1977 and 1978 beating the record Bernard Gauthier held since 1957. His misfortune of last year disappointed him very much. He even said he was riding Bordeaux-Paris for the last time and that he was to resign with cycling. He had not yet changed his mind in September but Florent Van Vaerenbergen, the manager of Safir, was certainly convinced when he spoke to him atthe time of the transfers. He had a team of young riders and Herman would be their teacher for his last cash season, helped by Willy Teirlinck in his task. Van Vaerenbergen never spoke of Bordeaux-Paris nor Van Springel but when the season began, the man from Grobbendonk had re-found the joy of riding and it was him who thought first of a new participation in the longest French Race, his last one. We now wonder if we won't see him again on the road between Bordeaux and Paris in 1981.
He won this year the sixth Bordeaux-Paris of his career so easily he almost ridiculed the riders who followed him, in the distance, but Bordeaux-Paris is such a hard, long, exhausting race that not a single man who finished in Fontenay-sous-Bois could be considered ridiculous after 14 or 15 (even more) hours in the saddle. With its 20 starters, the Bordeaux-Paris of 1980 was the most crowded since the end of the Second World War. Eleven French, six Belgian, one Italian and one Dutchman moved off from Bordeaux at two o'clock, representing ten teams, Peugeot with three men (Delepine, Linard and Sibille), La Redoute with three men (Rosiers, Tescheux, Muselet), Gitane (Chalmel and Berland), Safir (Van Springel and Teirlinck), Boston (Godde and Scheers), Puch (Busolini and Agostinho), Miniflat(Verstraeten and Vicino) and the Amis-du-Tour (Tesniere and Thevenard) all five with two men and Miko-Mercier and Fangio with one each, Mollet and Baert.


As usual, nothing really important happened until Poitiers where the riders and the pace-setters on dernys met together after seven hours of the race. Now the race really began, with 380 kilometres to go. It did not last very long for poor Jean-Francois Pescheux. Suddenly his motorcycle stopped in front of him and he collided with the machine, breaking his collar-bone and badly bleeding from the head. For him the race finished in the ambulance very early in the morning. His supporters would wait a long time for him when the riders would pass through the Beauce, his native region.
Van Springel waited calmly for his time. He had quickly dropped the inexperienced riders such as Vicino, Baert and Scheers as the race reached Tours. One hundred kilometres after Poitiers and only the French reigning champion Roland Berland and the lucky victor of 1974 Regis Delepine were still in the company of the great Herman who had not yet performed his trick.
Little by little the pace increased and Delepine was the first to "burst". A little later he was to be overtaken by Joaquim Agostinho who had begun to find his rhythm.
In Blois, with 220 kilometres to go, Van Springel thoughtthe time had come to free himself from Berland and he began his lone winning move. Nobody could now prevent him from his sixth victory. The restthinking no more of the bouquet in Fontenay, now their first aim was only to reach the finish line.
In Fontenay where three 3-kilometre laps remained to do, Herman Van Springel was already on the rostrum when Roland Berland entered the circuit and the French champion had already shook Van Springel's hand when Agostinho dashed onto the finishing circuit. He really looked the freshest of all but he was all the same some 24 minutes down. Delepine was fourth and completed the success of the old class, the over 30's, Van Springel (37), Berland (35), Agostinho (37) and Delepine (33) having got rid of the younger competitors whose first representative Hubert Linard filled 5th place ahead of Andre Chalmel, last year's victor who, this time, had suffered a pang of hunger. Peter God de was seventh, this 29 year old former boxer was surely not a rider for Bordeaux-Paris but when his sponsor asked for a rider to come into the French marathon, he was immediately a volunteer. His first appearance in France was in the Tour de I'Oise and the Tours de Dunkerque in which he was regularly dropped as soon as the road climbed. His classification in Fontenay was surely the greatest surprise of the day. But him, he had always been confident.
Now, I do not want to finish without telling you about Roger Rosiers. During five years he was the main opponent of Van Springel but this year all was not the best for him. In the Tour of Belgium he was dropped during the first stage and called it a day very soon. He told his manager he definitely resigned, having no more strength to continue his career. In spite of that he was starting in Bordeaux-Paris this year but for him it was to be a long martyrdom. He was nevertheless, still in 5th position when, out of breath and unable to see the road in front of him he was obliged to give up with 60 km to go. His career was finished. A really poor end for this former victor of Paris-Roubaix. Good bye, Roger!

1 H. Van Springel Safir-Ludo 558.5 km in 12h. 46m. 20s.
2 R. Berland Renault-Gitane at 14-31
3 J. Agostinho Puch 24-10
4 R. Delepine Peugeot 29-00
4 H. Linard Peugeot 33-52
6 A. Chalmel Renault-Gitane 41-00
7 P. Godde Boston-IFI-Mavic 44-36
8 E. Verstraeten Miniflat 55-54
9 W. Teirlinck Safir-Ludo 1-01-14
10 P. Tesn iere Amis du Tour 1-06-08
11 C. Muselet La Recloute 1-06-17
12 W. Scheers Boston IFI Mavic 1-09-16
13 D. Baert Fangio-Assos 1-21-17
14 B. Vicino Miniflat 1-38-32
15 P. Thevenard Amis du Tour 2-04-27
DNF: Mollet, Sibille, Busolini and Rosiers.

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