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Paris-Bruxelles coming up

The 87th edition of Paris-Bruxelles will be disputed this Saturday between those two major European cities. Australian Robbie McEwen has won the last two editions, which ended in bunch sprints. But a sprint is not inevitable, as in previous editions last-minute attacks have often succeeded. However, the sprinters will draw from the advantage that the race was significantly shortened over the years.

Not that going down from 266 kilometres in 2002, when McEwen won his first of three Paris-Bruxelles, to 226 kilometres in 2003 was that insignificant, but it does pale in comparison to the earlier editions in the late 1800's, when the race was contested by amateurs only, over distances exceeding 400 kilometres.

The first winner in 1893 was Belgian André Henry.

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