I'm really sad to hear that. Stablinski was a very interesting rider. Not a
climber, not a sprinter, not a time trialist - and yet, many much more
gifted riders would be envious of his palmares: winner of the world
championship, the Vuelta, Paris-Bruxelles, the Henninger Turm, the Amstel
Gold, several stages in the Tour, Giro and Vuelta, and four times the French
championship (which was still a very important race). The reason why he
managed to do it, was that one of the smartest riders of his time. "I don't
know how he did it," one of collegues said. "When we were well collaborating
in a breakaway, Stablinky always happened to ride behind the biggest rider".
And the way he fooled Tommy Simpson to beat him in Paris-Bruxelles could
still be a textbook example for all riders. He was a also the brain behind
many successes of Anquetil and Pingeon's victory in the Tour of 1967. One of
his many races, he loved to speak about, was his victory in the first Amstel
Gold ever. The point was that he won purely by accident. The Amstel Gold
race was of course still quite unimportant and the organizers had to pay a
lot of money to move Anquetil, Poulidor, and Stablinky to come to Holland.
Because it was the Queens Birthday, there were festivities in every Dutch
town, so the police was forced to divert the riders again and again. The
consequence was that the race became longer and longer. Anquetil stopped 50
km before the finish ("I'm payed for only 250 km, not for 300"), but ordered
Stablinsky to help to win Dutchman Jan Hugens, one of Anquetil's faithful
domestiques. Everything went as planned, but a few km before the finish poor
Hugens broke his chain, so Stablinsky had to win himself. The more the
Amstel became an important race, the bigger became Stablinsky's smile. "I'm
the only rider who won a classic long after his career", he said once. May
he rest in peace.
He was the one who revolutionised Paris-Roubaix by choosing the
difficult pave sections for the 1968 race
when it was in danger because it had totally lost its particularity.
In particular, he found the
Tranchee d'Arenberg. The race organisers had asked him to do this
because he had worked in the mines.
Stablinsky said he was the only person who had actually worked over
and under the Tranchee d'Arenberg.
That's not quite correct. It's true that Stablinsky "discovered" de Trouée
d'Arenberg, but Paris-Roubaix had already been revolutionised in 1966, when
Albert Bouvet mapped out a completely new route.