VN Archives: Jalabert breaks through at 1995 Paris-Nice

In Paris-Nice 1995, Jalabert proved to be more than a sprinter, Armstrong won a stage, and Hampsten said the snowy day wasn't too cold.

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The last half century has produced countless amazing moments in pro cycling, and VeloNews has been there for almost all of them. This year we celebrate our 48th birthday. With 48 years worth of archives, we want to present some of the more memorable VeloNews covers, feature stories, and interviews from our past. Our hope is these curated snippets will help motivate you to pursue your passion for the sport you love.

“The Race to the Sun” begins Sunday in France, so it seemed like the right time to look back on a Paris-Nice from a different era. In 1995, Laurent Jalabert stunned the peloton with an overall win, proving he was more than just a sprinter. Also, a certain Lance Armstrong won stage 5, his first European victory in 18 months.

Rupert Guinness had the report from France for the March 27, 1995 issue of VeloNews:

Showing the confidence and class of a veteran stage-race winner, Frenchman Laurent Jalabert discarded his sprinters’ role to claim a convinc­ing overall victory in the 1,174km Paris-Nice, March 5-12. The ONCE rider’s success over second-placed Russian Vladislav Bobrik (Gewiss-Ballan) had three sig­nificant outcomes. First, it marked his evolution into a legit­imate team leader. Second, it silenced any lingering doubts about Jalabert’s psychological mettle after his tumultuous crash at Armentieres in the first stage of the 1994 Tour de France. And third, it made him a much-publicized favorite for the opening round of the 1995 World Cup — Milan­-San Remo — on March 18.

Discussing his latest success, the 26-year-old Jalabert­ — who joined the paid ranks with Toshiba in 1989 — said, “This is one of the grand moments of my career. The oth­ers would be my first-ever pro win; the Tour de France green jersey in 1992; and my stage win to Lagos de Covadonga in last year’s Tour of Spain.” Paris-Nice saw Jalabert win one stage, finish second in three others, and wear the leader’s white jersey for six days, to defeat Bobrik by 1:40, and his Swiss teammate Alex Zulle by 1:50.

Also of note, stage 4 in the 1995 Paris-Nice was canceled due to cold, snowy conditions. That led to this memorable quip from American Andy Hampsten, winner of the 1988 Giro d’Italia and survivor of the famous snowy Gavia stage:

“Today, I realized how much the sport has changed. I wasn’t even cold!”

And finally, please enjoy this vintage Diadora advertisement featuring John Tomac, a.k.a. “Johnny T.”

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