The oldest living winner of the Paris-Roubaix, Belgian Émile Masson, died on Sunday at the age of 95. He became the second Paris-Roubaix winner to die within a week, joining Belgian Raymond Impanis.
Masson finished fourth in Paris-Roubaix 73 years ago, in 1938, behind winner Lucien Storme. However, he established himself as a professional that year. He won in his home region of Wallonia at the third edition of Flèche Wallonne and a stage at the Tour de France. With Italian Gino Bartali in the yellow jersey on his way to the overall win, Masson took what be his only stage win in the French Grand Tour in the morning leg of stage 17, from Besançon to Belfort.
The next year, 1939, he returned to the Paris-Roubaix cobbled classic and won ahead of Belgian Marcel Kint and Frenchman Roger Lapébie. It was his last major win ahead of the Second World War, when he would spend four years in a prisoner camp in Germany.
Masson survived and returned as a professional. He won Bordeaux-Paris in 1946 and the Belgian national title twice, in 1946 and in 1947. The Bordeaux-Paris win was particularly pleasing to his father. Émile Masson Sr, winner of two Tour de France stages, won Bordeaux-Paris in 1923 and was there in 1946 to see his son win.
His professional career spanned from 1937 to 1951 and a World War. After he retired, he became a sports journalist for a Walloon newspaper. His death on Sunday, January 2, is believed to be of natural causes. Impanis died on December 31 at the age of 85 after battling cancer.
Alcyon (1937-1939, 1945-1949)
Flèche Wallonne (1938)
Tour de France stage (1938)
National championships (1946, 1947)
Belgian legend Impanis dies after fight with cancer
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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