Mahé in 2007
|Full name||André Mahé|
November 18, 1919|
|Died||October 19, 2010 90)(aged|
|Rider type||Classics specialist|
Infobox last updated on|
24 March 2007
André Mahé (18 November 1919 – 19 October 2010) was a French road bicycle racer. He was born in Paris, France. He was a professional rider from 1945 until 1954. He jointly won the 1949 classic cycle race Paris–Roubaix with Serse Coppi in controversial fashion. In 1950 he won the classic Paris–Tours race.
- 1st Tour du Finistère
- 3rd Grand Prix des Nations
- 3rd Circuit de l'Aulne
- 1st stage 1, Tour de l'Ouest
- 2nd stage 1, Tour de France
- 1st Circuit "Maine-Normandie-Anjou"
- 2nd Paris-Nantes
- 2nd Tour de l'Ouest
- 3rd Grand Prix du Pneumatique à Montluçon
- 1st Paris–Roubaix (jointly with Serse Coppi)
- 1st Grand Prix de l'Equipe
- 1st Paris–Tours
- 2nd Grand Prix de "L'Echo d'Alger"
- 1st Grand Prix de "L'Echo d'Alger"
- 2nd Paris-Saint Amand-Montrond
- 1st Circuit des Deux-Ponts à Montluçon
- 3rd Paris–Roubaix
- 1st Montsauche
- 3rd Boucles de la Gartempe (1st on stage 3)
- 3rd Grand Prix du Maine
- 1st Montsauche
- 1st Hennebont
The story of the 1949 Paris–Roubaix
The result of the 1949 Paris–Roubaix took several months and two international conferences to sort out. André Mahé was first across the line, but his win was challenged on the grounds that he took the wrong course.
Mahé was in a break of three riders that reached the Roubaix Velodrome in the lead, but was misdirected by officials. Mahé, Jacques Moujica and Frans Leenen were desperate to get inside the stadium and cross the finish line before the next riders arrived. Moujica damaged his bike in the process, but Mahé and Leenen got into the stadium by a back door. André Mahé was first and was awarded the race. Or so it seemed.
Mahé acknowledged the crowds, took the bouquet, did a lap of honour and then headed to clean himself up at the track's showers.
A few minutes later the bunch arrived using the correct route and Serse Coppi, brother of the more famous Fausto, won the sprint for what was assumed to be, the minor placings. When the Coppi brothers heard about Mahé's unconventional approach to the finish they protested, demanding he be disqualified or demoted and that Serse be named as the winner.
The judges changed their minds and awarded Coppi the race. Five days later the French federation confirmed Mahé as the winner. The Italian federation then protested to the Union Cycliste Internationale and the dispute became international. The UCI's response (in August 1949) was to declare the race null - no winner. However, they agreed to review their decision at a conference in November of that year.
In November the Belgian federation sided with the Italians. After much internal politicking a compromise was reached. The final outcome - to reinstate the race and declare André Mahé and Serse Coppi as joint winners - was not popular with either side. The race was Serse Coppi's only classic win.
In a 2007 interview, André Mahé still maintained that he should have been awarded the race. He said of Fausto Coppi: "Coppi wanted his brother to have a big victory. He was a great champion, Coppi, but to do what he did - to protest like that to get a victory for his brother - that wasn't dignified for a champion. That was beneath him."
Mahé made his mark in the professional peloton in his second year, 1946, by winning the Tour du Finistère and coming third in the classic Grand Prix des Nations time trial. He finished the Tour de France only once (in 1949), finishing 49th.
He retired from racing in 1955.
After retiring from cycling he went to work for his father-in-law's cable-making company in Paris. When the company moved to Compiègne in northern France (coincidentally, now the starting point of the Paris–Roubaix) he relocated to that area. After retiring he cut most of his links with cycling, apart from attending the Paris–Roubaix as a guest.
- Woodland, L. "Share Deal" - an interview with André Mahé about the 1949 Paris–Roubaix in Procycling Issue 97, April 2007
- sport365 (French) retrieved 21st Oct 2010
- Woodland, Les. "Share Deal" an interview with André Mahé, Procycling, Issue 97, April 2007, pp. 74-5
- André Mahé profile at Cycling Archives
- Palmares at memoire-du-cyclisme.net
- Les Woodland on the 1949 Paris-Roubaix controversy at cyclingnews.com