Paris Roubaix : queen of cycling races

The Paris Roubaix cycling race is  the most famous of cycling races. It has existed since 1896 and all cycling champions dream of winning it. What sets it apart from other races is the cobbled section in the north of France over 50 km. Indeed, this portion of the race makes the event very dangerous for the runners.Thus, they are not immune to group falls and punctures. This is why Paris Roubaix was nicknamed “the Hell of the North”.

One day before the race, cycling enthusiasts go on  the road that the professionals will go the next day. They are no longer young for some of them and at the slightest gap it is a downfall. But this adventure is an achievement and it will be told to the grandchildren.

Paris Roubaix is a popular event. That’s why it attracts spectators from far away. They come from England, Sweden and especially Belgium in a caravan one day before the event to get a good place not far from place “carrefour de l’arbre” or “trouée d’Arenberg”.

We can notice that whole family from the 90-year-old grandmother to the granddaughter cheers on their champion.

The city giant is even out for the event.

This race is dangerous: the roads with cobblestones are very narrow, the runners are close to the crowd and the slightest gap results in an accident. In addition, the rain makes the roads slippery and the mud covers the whole body of the runners. The photographer himself takes risks. Thus, if he does not act quickly, the accompanying cars will strike him or pour downpours of water on him.

For the first time in 2021, women may take part in Paris Roubaix. They have to race  only 100 km while  men race 250 km but  the road with cobblestones are the same.  Women are not spared.

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