Servais Knaven (Milram) created history on Sunday at Paris-Roubaix as he equalled the record set by Belgian Raymond Impanis by completing his sixteenth edition of the famous cobbled Classic.
The Dutchman, who won the race in 2001, finished in 43rd position, 12:47 down on winner Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank), but in doing so added to his tally of sixteen participations without a single abandonment.
Regardless of the time difference to Cancellara, his finish was enough to seal his place in the history books and as he crossed the line he received a warm reception from his Milram colleagues who filmed his arrival on the velodrome.
"I’m happy now," he told Cyclingnews afterwards. "It was a hard day with the headwind. We had a lot of headwind in the start and then cobbles and the cross wind."
The 39-year-old first competed in the race in 1995 as a second-year professional with TVM and won the race with Domo – Farm Frites while riding as a domestique for Johan Museeuw.
"A lot has been going on in my head in the last few days but I wanted to finish. Maybe if I was little bit more focused for a result I could have been there for a result," he added.
"Last week I was saying it was important that I did a good race but then in the last few days so many people started talking about the record that I realised how nice it would be to finish the 16th time. It was a real goal for me."
Knaven’s Milram team are set to leave the sport at the end of 2010 and as yet the Dutchman is without a contract for next year, but he wouldn't rule out another Roubaix finish next year at the grand old age of 40.
However, today was about celebrating and not contractual talk as the former winner reminisced about his first time at the race.
"The first time I came here I was really nervous. I was thinking to myself, ‘can I do it or not?’ but since then it has become one of my main objectives. We’ll see if I come back."
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