11 April 2010

16 times.
He started and ended ‘the Hell of the North’ 16 times.
After today he shares the record with Raymond Impanis, a Belgian cyclist.
Servais Knaven.
Age: 39
He knows the race inside out.
He knows every cobblestone, every bump, every road curve.
And yes, also a winner of Paris-Roubaix.
A surprising win.
Because of the rain the roads were full with mud and slippery.
But that day Servais felt strong.
From a group of six including Museeuw and Hincapie he attacked and got away.
A beautiful victory.
Knaven is one of all the great riders who have ever won
‘the Queen of the Classics.’
A victory many people have forgotten about.
He doesn’t know if he is riding Paris-Roubaix next year.
If he is, he will be 40 years old.
“It would be a nice challenge” are his own words.
Today he ended on the 43rd place.
Not too bad for a veteran.
Still, it was a hard race.
And the older you get, the more pain you feel.
“It took me a few years of my life again.”

© Cor Vos


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