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.