The Queen of the Classics.
The Hell of the North.
One of the Monuments of Cycling.
Paris-Roubaix is a race with many names. And if you’ve never watched the event, you’ll find it hard to grasp just how truly brutal it is. It sounds contrived to say, but this truly is a race for the hard men of the sport.
Last week's Paris-Roubaix was a 253 kilometer jaunt (that’s 157 miles), through exposed farm land and old World War 1 battlefields. Cyclists worked their way through abandoned farm roads and horrific cobblestone sectors that have bested bike engineers for years. If you’re a fan of the race, you’ll remember Greg Lemond and all of Team Z riding RockShox suspension forks with 30mm of travel in 1991. The great Johan Museeuw even rode a prototype dual suspension Bianchi back in 1994. Heck, just last year Team Sky brought a Pinarello with 10mm of rear suspension called the Dogma K8-S to Roubaix. That’s how rough these roads are.
Competitors have been known to double wrap their bar tape. They’ve used bigger tires at lower pressures. They’ve ridden endurance geometry bikes with slack angles and long chain stays. In short, they’ve tried everything they could think of to lessen the pain inflicted by the cobbles.