Skip to content

Paris Roubaix

April 9, 2012

I have finished watching the excellent coverage of the Paris Roubaix men’s cycle race. For about 20 years I have keenly followed the Tour de France. Like many cycling enthusiasts I started with the Tour and have progressed to following other races. I am very much an armchair fan at the moment as I have not been able to get out on my own bike for a while.

Paris Roubaix is just as famous and important as the Tour de France in the cycling world. It is a very old race and considered to be one of the monuments and a spring classic. The riders that do well in this race are often very different from the grand tour winners. There are no mountains but there are plenty of difficult cobbled roads. This is a race for the hard men, the strong men.

I have only read about these spring classics until last year when there was coverage of the Paris Roubaix. For the first time I was able to see a lot of the race. I was also lucky enough to watch it with my brother, who was visited for my wedding last year. We both enjoy watching cycling and getting out on our bikes.

This year’s race was very much a race of one man. Boonen has been in great form all year and has won several races already. He broke away from the leading pack with over 50km to go. He rode everyone off his wheel, even leaving behind his team mate when the two of them were clear. No-one ever looked like getting back to him, even when Team Sky had 4 on the front of the chasing bunch. Boonen also avoided mishaps, unlike last year when punctures and crashes marred his race. A record equalling 4th win and another cobble for his trophy cabinet.

The road cycling is an amazing sport to watch. What is lacks in continuous action filled moments is more than made up in intrigue, complicated team tactics, strange competition between foes and long races. The concept of the break and the chase baffles many. Understanding the different roles and competitions with a single race is confusing to anyone new to the sport. The pursuit of glory through hardship maybe common in sport, but there are very few that go to the extremes of road cycling. Today’s winner took almost 6 hours to cover the 260km. He averaged over 40km/hr despite the rough roads. I cannot cycle at 40 km/hr even for a few minutes unless on a good road and downhill or with a strong tail wind. The quality of tv coverage now allows understanding and appreciation of what the competitors go through, as well as amazing scenes of the dust, cobbles, crashes, spectators and scenery.



From → on your bike

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: