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HomeCyclingBritain's Solely Gent-Wevelgem Winner - Barry Hoban

Britain’s Solely Gent-Wevelgem Winner – Barry Hoban

It’s Gent – Wevelgem 1974; you’ve made it over the savage Kemmel climb twice with the lead group and survived hanging on the again of an Eddy Merckx (Belgium and Molteni) and Roger De Vlaeminck (Belgium and Brooklyn) pushed purge on the run-in; there are 17 guys left, so possibly you’d accept a high ten? Not in case your identify is Barry Hoban (Britain and GAN-Mercier) and you’re feeling that the ‘over-drive’ is in your legs.

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Picture courtesy of Woodrup Cycles, Leeds

Good timing gave Barry Hoban the massive Traditional victory in Ghent-Wevelgem 1974. The Yorkshireman shocked a seventeen man star-studded group on the end. A number of the World’s greatest riders had been within the group: Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, Eric Leman, Freddy Maertens, Walter Planckaert, Walter Godefroot and Frans Verbeeck, but it surely was Hoban who took the spoils. Merckx and Leman had been sprinting for the road, the 2 riders took both facet of the street, but it surely was Hoban who shot by way of between them.

After failed assaults from Cees Bal and Patrick Sercu, adopted by Merckx and Roger Swerts on the Kemmelberg, Roger De Vlaeminck got here excessive of the Kemmel first. Frans Verbeeck tried his luck on the second climb of the Kemmelberg, the chase led by Merckx arrange the successful transfer of Verbeeck, Hoban, Merckx, De Vlaeminck, Leman, Van Springel (MIC), Danguillaume, Esclassan, Rouxel (Peugeot), Swerts, De Geest (Rokado), Planckaert (Watney), Poulidor, Santy (GAN), Godefroot, Maertens (Carpenter) and Tino Tabak (Raleigh).

Hoban, Kuiper and Pollontier lead the peloton

Whittling Down The Discipline
Barry Hoban takes up the story: “The race was totally different again then, it went additional north up in the direction of Holland earlier than it ran down the coast from Ostende to De Panne. The early levels of a traditional are a softening-up course of and after we turned inland away from the ocean in the direction of the climbs the echelons began.”

Puncture for Hoban and teammate

“It was very quick, quite a lot of guys had been eradicated at this stage and the one place to be was on the entrance. I had issues on the Kemmel, my gears stored threatening to slide out of my 42×22 backside ratio and I needed to attempt to climb while holding the gear lever.”

Hoban was driving a six pace screw-on block, levers had been on the down tube there was no ‘ratchet’ or ‘retro friction’ facility, by no means thoughts indexing.

Crash with Gregor Braun in Amstel Gold Race

The Ache Prepare Rolls To Wevelgem
“As soon as we had been away from the hills the street widened-out and Merckx, De Vlaeminck and Godefroot went to the entrance and drove very laborious for ten kilometres, guys had been getting shelled-out in every single place. I used to be hanging on within the string behind them however ultimately they eased up and I made it into the echelon. That was actually the race determined, nobody was going to get again up. I may really feel that I had the ‘over-drive’ in my legs. Merckx had it on a regular basis, however mere mortals like me solely felt it now and again.”

“The assaults began and guys had been going in every single place, Tino Tabak, Danguillaume and Van Springel all tried to get away, when it’s like that you need to maintain the wheel, you possibly can’t let the gaps open.”

Solo in Liege

I ask him about the truth that he had two GAN-Mercier teammates within the break – Frenchmen Alain Santy and Raymond Poulidor, did they assist him? “We weren’t that organised and within the classics all of us tended to experience our personal races however Raymond did shut some gaps for me on the run-in.”

Persistence And Then Victory
“I used to be boxed coming in to the end behind Merckx, De Vlaeminck and Eric Leman. I used to be sitting there serious about how I’d get by way of, it at all times tends to fan-out in the direction of the road and with about 150 metres to go a spot opened-up between Merckx and Leman – I went straight by way of it. I had nice legs and received by a size from Merckx and De Vlaeminck.”

In images of the end you possibly can nearly see the ‘thinks bubbles’ coming from the 2 Belgians heads; “The place the hell did he come from?”

The large win

Merckx, by no means a very good loser was moaning on the end that he hadn’t seen a lot of Hoban on the entrance, however the Yorkshire man was unconcerned; “I’d have been on the entrance if I hadn’t been for the issues I had with my gears. Eddy was a winner by nature and didn’t wish to be crushed.”

Pleased with the win

After his historic win, Barry Hoban gave his facet of the race to British biking journal Biking Weekly: “You have to perceive, I’m not often in type so early within the season, I’m at my greatest most years in the summertime, to be actual at Tour de France time; however this 12 months I’m going effectively, a lot better than within the different years. Within the Catalan Week I labored laborious for Bal and Zoetemelk, as they will let you know, and on the Sunday, within the Tour of Flanders, I’d most likely have been within the main group if I had not punctured.”

“Nonetheless I suffered throughout this one, I can let you know, as a result of I’m not but in high type. On the climbs, particularly on the Kemmel, it was like being on the top of a bit of elastic. I used to be dropped, received again on, dropped and again on, and so it went on. Luckily there have been no mad assaults on the time. The tempo was definitely quick, however any makes an attempt had been quickly sat on. If anybody had been capable of go it alone I’d most likely have been left.”

Hoban managed to combat again to affix the 17-man break. How did he see his dash victory?

“It was simply the type of dash I like, 15 to twenty robust. I hate large bunch sprints. Bear in mind, I’ve three youngsters at house. Swerts began it with 500 metres to go, leaping laborious, and Tabak went after him like a rocket. Behind them Leman and Merckx regarded probably winners, flat out facet by facet, and I used to be behind them. I used to be questioning how I may get by them when immediately, goodness is aware of why, they separated, the door was open for me and I went by way of.”

Hoban prefers the the cobbles as Merckx takes to the trail

A Veritable Who’s Who
The riders that Hoban beat that April day in Wevelgem had been the best of the era, Merckx is definitely the best ever with three world titles and, watch for it – two dozen classics; De Vlaeminck ‘s palmarès are big too and embrace 4 Paris-Roubaix and three Milan-San Remo; Santy was fourth; fifth was Leman who received the Tour of Flanders 3 times and sixth was double world champion and Vuelta winner Freddy Maertens.

A little bit of music with Raymond ‘Poupou’ Poulidor

In case you’re pondering it was slower again then – verify the stats:

Gent-Wevelgem, 2005: winner Nico Mattan, 208 km @ 42.577 kph.
Gent-Wevelgem, 1974: winner Barry Hoban, 244km @ 44.383 kph.

“I used to be a harmful rider on my day”, concludes Hoban.

Rattling proper Barry!

A cow – Not the very best Tour de France prize

1974 Gent-Wevelgem Consequence:
1. Barry Hoban (Gan-Mercier-Hutchinson) in 5:30:00
2. Eddy Merckx (Molteni)
3. Roger De Vlaeminck (Brooklyn)
4. Alain Santy (Gan-Mercier-Hutchinson)
5. Eric Leman (M.I.C.-Ludo-De Gribaldy)
6. Freddy Maertens (Carpenter-Confortluxe-Flandria)
7. Walter Planckaert (Watney-Maes Pils)
8. Walter Godefroot (Carpenter-Confortluxe-Flandria)
9. Frans Verbeeck (Watney-Maes Pils)
10. Roger Swerts (Ijsboerke-Colner)
11. Willy De Geest (Rokado)
12. Jacques Esclassan (Peugeot-BP-Michelin)
13. Raymond Poulidor (Gan-Mercier-Hutchinson)
14. Charly Rouxel (Peugeot-BP-Michelin)
15. Herman Van Springel (M.I.C.-Ludo-De Gribaldy)
16. Tino Tabak (TI-Raleigh)
17. Jean-Pierre Danguillaume (Peugeot-BP-Michelin)
18. José Catieau (Bic) at 3:25
19. Michel Périn (Gan-Mercier-Hutchinson)
20. Patrick Sercu (Brooklyn)
21. José De Cauwer (Sonolor-Gitane) at 3:30
22. Gustaaf Van Roosbroeck (M.I.C.-Ludo-De Gribaldy)
23. Gustaaf Hermans (Rokado)
24. Ronny Van De Vijver (Ijsboerke-Colner)
25. Jean-Jacques Fussien (Bic).

# Keep PEZ for the 2023 Gent-Wevelgem ‘Race Report’ on Sunday. #

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