Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Goodbye to Servais

"The bikes are out of the way and the Dutchman is on the track"
-Phil Liggett (PR-2001 finish)

Servais Knaven, covered with mud, as he unexpectedly wins 2001 Paris Roubaix, a race he'd finish a record 16 times. Pez Cycling.

Servias Knaven announced his retirement today after finishing Paris Roubaix for a record tying 16th time (which is 16 times ahead of Lancypants!) **In his last PR Servais finished in 43rd place, and was never in contention, but just finishing the most grueling race is a feat in itself--something I should remember on hard doubles. He's going to retire mid August.

In the race that first caught my eye while recovering from knee injury--the wet 2002 Paris Roubaix where the great Johan Museeuw storms through the course, Servais was near Johan, his team leader, for most of the race helping out--this after a bike accident "with a bunch of schoolguys" a few days before. **The announcers talked about Servais winning 2001 Paris Roubaix which was intriguing, as he didn't seem as fast or as strong as many of the other riders. So I had to go "backwards" and get the race video from the year before. And what a race!

While 2002 PR was the best individual performance I'd ever seen, 2001 PR was the best display of team tactics in another wet quagmire--with Servais again near the front helping Johan and frustrating Hincapie (their nonchalantly coasting when George is waving like a maniac for them to go to the front is priceless.) *While the best rider was again Museeuw--who storms back after a flat, it is his teammate Servais who "sneaks off" and gives 110% to become the surprise winner at Paris Roubaix.

I loved his interview in 2004 with Paul Sherwin before Paris Roubaix where he said "it doesn't matter who wins, as long as it is someone from (my team.)" *What a great attitude.

Servais always seemed to be enjoying himself and had a big heart. He rode for his team, helping out where ever he could, and at least twice (besides Paris Roubaix a breakaway Tour de France Stage victory) the hard work came out in his favor with an unexpected victory. *He's a great cycling role model and will be missed

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