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ASO steps in to save U23 Paris-Roubaix

Racing giant ASO — owner of the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix — has stepped up to save the U23 Paris-Roubaix from the chopping block.

Last week, VC Roubaix, the French cycling club that organized the annual espoirs version of the cobblestoned classic, said it did not have enough money to underwrite the increased police costs to safeguard the route during the race.

On Tuesday, the club announced that the Amaury Sports Organisation promised to help fund the additional costs — estimated to be 20,000 Euros — to assure that one of the most important under-23 events continues next year and beyond.

That’s good news for the popular event that dates back to 1967 and ranks among one of the most important one-day events for amateurs. Former winners include Marc Madiot, Stephen Roche, Thierry Marie, Frédéric Moncassin, reigning world champion Thor Hushovd and Yaroslav Popovych. American Taylor Phinney has won the event two years in a row.

Held in May, the course was shorter than what the pros race on — about 180km to the pros’ 240km to 260km range — but tackled many of the same cobblestones featured in the “Hell of the North.” Like the pro race, the event finishes inside the Roubaix velodrome.

Andrew-HoodEditor’s Note: Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood’s covered every Tour since 1996 and has been VeloNews’ European correspondent since 2002. He lives in Leon, Spain, when he’s not chasing bike races.

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