Riding the pavé of Paris-Roubaix is an experience so special it almost defies description. But for every rider's first time crossing these ancient roads, another story, unique to that rider, is written, as Matt McNamara discovered this week in northern France.
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.
It’s called l’Enfer du Nord - the Hell of the North. The stone graveyard of cycling didn’t come by its name lightly. Built in ancient times to help horse-drawn carts cross the muddy farmland, the rough-hewn track has humbled many a would-be conqueror. If the Tour of Flanders is where legends are born, Paris-Roubaix is where legends are made. I was under no illusions as I prepared to tackle the road to Roubaix.
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