Every US rider to race Paris-Roubaix: Knocking on hell’s door, Part 2
Where are they now? We look back at every US rider to start Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Roubaix Femmes across the decades.
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Paris-Roubaix dates back to 1896, but the first U.S. rider didn’t debut until the 1980s.
Jonathan Boyer and Greg Lemond were among the first U.S. men to race the “Hell of the North.” After them came the first wave of American pros entering in the peloton in the 1980s via such teams as 7-Eleven and Motorola got their first taste of the pavé.
Also read: Part 1: Pavé pioneers, Lemond and Co. blazing trails
By the mid-1990s, a new generation of Americans were introduced to cycling’s most grueling playground.
Led by George Hincapie, the northern classics and particularly Paris-Roubaix became a real target.
His second place in 2005 remains the best by a U.S. rider, and that remains the only U.S. podium in the race’s century-plus history. Leah Thomas with 12th in 2021 is the best by a U.S. woman so far.
Across the decades, more than 60 U.S. men and women have started the “Hell of the North.” Saturday and Sunday will see a few more debutants.
In a three-part series, VeloNews dives into the history books to look back at every U.S. rider to start Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Roubaix Femmes.
In part 2, we look at the second wave of riders who dove into the “Hell of the North.” Some of these riders competed during the darkest days of the EPO Era, and later became implicated in doping investigations.
By the mid-1990s going into the early 2000s, a new generation of riders came through several U.S. teams, including US Postal Service, Garmin, High Road, and BMC Racing.
The number of one-off starters also inched up as teams often would throw riders into the race at the last minute.
Riders are listed in order of their first appearance:
Check VeloNews tomorrow for Part 3.
Every US rider to race Paris-Roubaix: Generation Next
George Hincapie — 17 starts (1994, 31st; 1995, 21st; 1996, 29th; 1997, 59th; 1998-OTL; 1999, 4th; 2000, 6th; 2001, 4th; 2002, 6th; 2004, 8th; 2005, 2nd; 2006-DNF; 2008, 9th; 2009, 44th; 2010, 29th; 2011, 42nd; 2012, 43rd): Hincapie is a “record man” for American appearances at Roubaix, with 17 starts, tying him for all-time mark of most starts shared with Frédéric Guesdon, Imanol Erviti, and Mathew Hayman. His second place in 2005 to Tom Boonen is the best by an American rider in Roubaix. His 49 monument starts is also an all-time record for U.S. riders.
Hincapie emerged as a northern classics specialists, and won Gent-Wevelgem during his 19-year career that was also marked by a doping admission.
Now 49, Hincapie was a consistent performer over the cobbles, and hit the top-10 on seven occasions. In 2006, Hincapie crashed out when he was heavily favored for victory. His final appearance was in 2012, and he’s since worked as a coach, tour guide, entrepreneur, team owner, and podcaster.
Darren Baker — 1 start (1997 DNF): A rising U.S. pro in the mid-1990s, Baker walked away from the sport in the face of the growing doping problem.
Scott Mercier — 1 start (1997 DNF): Like Baker, he left behind a promising cycling career due to increased doping. Today he works in finance, and gives motivational speeches on ethical choices.
Christian Vande Velde — 3 starts (1998, 1999, 2000 DNF): The all-rounder did not finish any of the three editions he started. Vande Velde now works on a TV commentator.
Marty Jemison — 3 starts (1998, 1999, 2000 DNF): The former US also started but did not finish three editions. He runs a cycling tour company.
Guido Trenti — 3 starts (1998, 1999, 2005 DNF): The Italian with a U.S. racing license did not finish his three starts.
David Clinger — 4 starts (2000, 2001, 2002, 2005 DNF): The American did not finish in four starts. He later tattooed his face, struggled with substance abuse, and received a lifetime racing ban.
Mike Sayers — 1 start (2001—DNF): The longtime pro did not finish his lone Roubaix start. Sayers has since worked as a coach, sport director, and is the national team director at USA Cycling.
Derek Bouchard-Hall — 1 start (2001—DNF): After racing, he finished an MBA at Harvard, served as president and CEO of USA Cycling. He is currently CEO of Assos of Switzerland.
Antonio Cruz — 7 starts (2001-03, 2005-07 DNF; 2004, 49th). Cruz often rode as a Hincapie helper and pulled out early. He finished 49th in his lone arrival to the velodrome. He works as a Long Beach Bike Ambassador.
Levi Leipheimer — 1 start (2001 DNF): After retiring, Leipheimer operates a Gran Fondo event.
Dylan Casey — 1 start (2001 DNF). After retiring, Casey works in the tech industry in Silicon Valley.
Floyd Landis — 2 starts (2002, 2004 DNF): Disqualified from the 2006 Tour de France, Landis later played a key role in the USADA case. He since runs a cannabis business in Leadville, Colorado.
Fred Rodriguez — 2 starts (2002, 27th; 2003 DNF): Though he didn’t have much luck at Roubaix, his second at Milan-San Remo in 2002 matches Lemond as the best by a U.S. rider in the Italian monument. After retiring he works as a coach and operates different businesses under the “Fast Freddy” trademark.
Aaron Olson — 1 start (2006 DNF): Olson owns and operates Handlebar Coffee Roasters with two locations based in Santa Barbara, California.
Tyler Farrar — 9 starts (2008, 57th; 2010 OTL; 2011, 28th; 2012, 29th; 2013, 58th; 2014-67th; 2015, 54th; 2016 DNF; 2017 OTL): Farrar dreamed of success in the northern classics, and even lived along the main canal in Ghent in order to train and better learn the roads of Belgium.
In 2010, he became the only American winner of Scheldeprijs, and finished third in Gent-Wevelgem the following year. After retiring in 2017, he’s worked as a firefighter in eastern Washington state.
Michael Friedman — 2 starts (2008 DNF; 2009-99th): After retiring in 2014, he started Pedaling Minds, a non-profit aimed at promoting cycling among youth.
Will Frischkorn — 2 starts (2008, 2009 DNF): He was part of the wave of Garmin riders who raced many of Europe’s hardest races. After retiring he opened a European-inspired specialty food and wine shop in Boulder, Colorado.
Steven Cozza — 3 starts (2009, 64th, 2010, 2011 DNF): After retiring in 2012, Cozza works as a realtor in Sonoma and Marin counties in California.
Ian McKissick — 1 start (2009 DNF): McKissick raced three seasons with BMC Racing, and retired in 2009. He is COO of Numurus, a software company in Seattle.
Jeff Louder — 1 start (2009 DNF): A longtime pro retired in 2014 after stints with teams on both sides of the Atlantic. Louder worked as a sport director at Hagens Berman Axeon, and now is race director for the Wasatch All-Road gravel race.
Jackson Stewart — 2 starts (2009, 2010 DNF): Stewart was a helper for Hincapie and BMC Racing at his two Roubaix starts. After retiring, he worked as a sport director at BMC Racing and CCC.
Brent Bookwalter — 1 start (2009, 88th): The all-rounder ended his long career in 2021, and works as a TV commentator as well as promoting a gran fondo in North Carolina.
John Murphy — 4 starts (2010, 2011 DNF; 2014, 121st; 2015, 113th): After retiring from a long racing career in 2020, he joined Gulo Composites as a brand manager.
Bjorn Selander — 2 starts (2010 DNF, 2011, 72nd): After retiring on the road in 2016, he continues to race cyclocross.
Danny Pate — 1 start (2010—DNF): After retiring in 2018, he works as a coach.