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 prime ten? Not in case your title is Barry Hoban (Britain and GAN-Mercier) and you are feeling that the ‘over-drive’ is in your legs.


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Photograph courtesy of Woodrup Cycles, Leeds

Excellent timing gave Barry Hoban the large Traditional victory in Ghent-Wevelgem 1974. The Yorkshireman shocked a seventeen man star-studded group on the end. A few of the World’s finest riders have 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 have been sprinting for the road, the 2 riders took both aspect of the highway, but it surely was Hoban who shot via 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 profitable 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 Area
Barry Hoban takes up the story: “The race was completely 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 basic are a softening-up course of and once 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, lots of guys have been eradicated at this stage and the one place to be was on the entrance. I had issues on the Kemmel, my gears saved 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 have 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 have been away from the hills the highway widened-out and Merckx, De Vlaeminck and Godefroot went to the entrance and drove very exhausting for ten kilometres, guys have 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 might 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 once in a while.”

“The assaults began and guys have been going in every single place, Tino Tabak, Danguillaume and Van Springel all tried to get away, when it’s like that it’s a must to maintain the wheel, you’ll be able to’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 journey our personal races however Raymond did shut some gaps for me on the run-in.”

Endurance 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 via, 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 via it. I had nice legs and gained by a size from Merckx and De Vlaeminck.”

In photographs of the end you’ll be able to nearly see the ‘thinks bubbles’ coming from the 2 Belgians heads; “The place the hell did he come from?”


The massive win

Merckx, by no means 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 prefer to be overwhelmed.”


Proud of the win

After his historic win, Barry Hoban gave his aspect of the race to British biking journal Biking Weekly: “You could perceive, I’m not normally in type so early within the season, I’m at my finest most years in the summertime, to be actual at Tour de France time; however this 12 months I’m going effectively, significantly better than within the different years. Within the Catalan Week I labored exhausting for Bal and Zoetemelk, as they’ll inform you, 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 inform you, as a result of I’m not but in prime type. On the climbs, particularly on the Kemmel, it was like being on the tip of a chunk of elastic. I used to be dropped, acquired again on, dropped and again on, and so it went on. Happily there have been no mad assaults on the time. The tempo was definitely quick, however any makes an attempt have been quickly sat on. If anybody had been in a position to go it alone I’d most likely have been left.”

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

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


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 have been the best of the technology, Merckx is definitely the best ever with three world titles and, anticipate it – two dozen classics; De Vlaeminck ‘s palmarès are large too and embody 4 Paris-Roubaix and three Milan-San Remo; Santy was fourth; fifth was Leman who gained 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 considering it was slower again then – test 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 one of the best Tour de France prize

1974 Gent-Wevelgem Outcome:
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).


Watch essentially the most complete dwell & ad-free protection of Gent-Wevelgem 2022 on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with dwell polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, outcomes & extra – plus stream unique and unique biking documentaries. Watch all of it with GCN+ on any machine.



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