Herman Van Springel (born 14 August 1943, Belgium) was an accomplished time-trial rider, almost winning the Tour de France in 1968, when he was beaten in the last stage by Dutchman, Jan Janssen in a time-trial. In the autumn that year, he won the classic Giro di Lombardia.
He won a record seven editions of the marathon Bordeaux–Paris (1970, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981), that’s why he was nicknamed “Monsieur Bordeaux-Paris”. He also won the green jersey in the 1973 Tour de France without winning a single stage. However, he did win five stages during his ten participations in the Tour. He kept on cycling through the seventies and ended his long career at the end of 1981.
Bordeaux–Paris was one of Europe’s Classic cycle races, and one of the longest in the professional calendar, covering approximately 560 km (350 mi). The event was first run on 23 May 1891, and the Derby of the Road as it was sometimes called, was notable in that riders were paced – allowed to slipstream – behind tandem or conventional cycles. From 1931, pacing was by motorcycles or small pedal-assisted Dernys. Pacing was also briefly by cars. In early events, pacing was provided from Bordeaux. In later events, it was introduced part-way towards Paris. From 1946 to 1985, more than half the distance was paced, Dernys being introduced at Poitiers or Châtellerault, roughly half-way.
The professional event was held from 1891 until 1988. It was held as an amateur event in 2014.