Mapei-GB shocked the cycling world in 1996 by sweeping the podium at Paris-Roubaix, one of cycling's most sought after prizes. Two years later and the same team, racing as Mapei-Bricobi, would be back at it again with a few new riders trying to take the top three spots.
Andrea Tafi, the super domestique who would win Paris-Roubaix in 1999, was among them again after having finished third to teammates Johan Museeuw and Gianluca Bortolami in 1996.
Tafi was joined on the pointy end of the 1998 race by teammates Franco Ballerini and Wilfried Peeters as the race of attrition gradually whittled the lead group down to just a handful.
In the end, it was the big Italian Ballerini who dropped Ludo Dierckxsens with seven pave sectors and more than an hour of racing to go, soloing into the storied velodrome for his second Roubaix win and the final victory of his professional career.