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Gallery: To Hell and back at Paris-Roubaix 2019

A collection of photos from the 2019 Paris-Roubaix. Photos: Presse Sports/Offside

Joe Robinson
15 Apr 2019

Can you ever tire of looking at photos from Paris-Roubaix? I'm not sure you can. It lacks the vast mountain ranges of Italy and it cannot call upon the piercing yellow sunflowers of the Tour de France. There is no crystal blue sea water like Milan-San Remo, nor is there the crisp, brown leaves of Il Lombardia.

Meanwhile, Roubaix lacks the optical illusion of steep hills that disappear into the distance at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Flanders. Yet, somehow, Roubaix is still the most beautiful race of them all.

Why? Well, it's probably the only race in the calendar that truly reduces each and every rider to mortal status. No rider escapes the suffering of the cobbles. The rigid Napoleonic rock does not discriminate in who it hands punctures or who crashes to.

Each and every rider who reaches the velodrome reaches it empty. Every single rider will regard reaching the finish as a victory in itself.

Many will complain about how brutal the race is. How it leaves their bodies void for days and how it's a lottery and all a game of luck that all but one are certain to lose.

Many vow never to return yet they almost always do. When Bernard Hinault won the 1981 edition of Paris-Roubaix, he typified this opinion almost perfectly.

Wearing the rainbow jersey as World Champion, the brusque Breton told a journalist that 'Paris-Roubaix is bullshit'. A year later, Hinault rode through Hell all over again.

Paris-Roubaix 2019 in photos