Roadside: We've been chasing the cobbled classics since the Omloop in February. With Sunday's Paris-Roubaix the cobbled classic season culminated in legendary fashion, and we were incredibly fortunate to chase the race with former Roubaix podium finisher, Roger Hammond and seen-everything-there-is-to-see soigneur, Bart Brackez.
Preview: ‘It’s a circus and I don’t want to be one of the clowns!’ It’s not everyone who thinks that Paris-Roubaix is ‘Queen of the Classics’ – those were the words of Chrono King, Chris Boardman. But for some, it’s an obsession; it took Frenchman Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle 14 attempts before he finally hoisted that coveted cobble stone above his head, at age 38.
Part Two: When we left off yesterday, the dust storming field had just rolled through Sector 27 in Troisvilles. 26 more sectors lay ahead of them, and we were off to get hold of as many cobbled views as we could before a winner was crowned in the velodrome on a heavenly Sunday afternoon in Hell.
Part One: The cobbled classics often get lumped together, and for the two super cobbled classics, Flanders and Roubaix, they're rarely mentioned in separate sentences. It's a shame, because the two races can't be more different. De Ronde is justifiably known as Flanders's Most Beautiful, whilst Roubaix - her nickname is just as appropriate and perfect: the Hell of the North. We were there once again on Sunday, chasing the dust to Roubaix.
PEZ reviews Paris-Roubaix: A Journey Through Hell. As Greg Lemond famously said about cycling:” It doesn’t get any easier. You just get faster.” And for a sport that values the ability to suffer, the least easy of all races is Paris-Roubaix, variously feted as “the Queen of the Classics” and cursed as “the Hell of the North.”
Dirk Demol of The Discovery Channel Bicycle Racing Team has the greatest job in the world. He is the Assistant Director Sportif for the Spring Classics. Dirk won the 1988 edition of Paris Roubaix in the longest breakaway to date. He also won the Circuit of the Flemish Ardennes, and came in second to Stephen Roche in the 1980 Amateur Paris Roubaix. PEZ talks with Dirk about his Roubaix winning ride, preparation, and the desire to get out of the factory.