Paris-Roubaix was run for the first time on the 19th April, 1896. Won by German rider Josef Fischer in a time of 9hrs and 17minutes and with a Brit in 4th (Arthur Linton, 10hrs 2mins), here began arguably the most brutal, compelling and beautiful cycle race in the world (its beauty lies in its epic nature). If you’ve visited this site before, you’ll know I love it, despite having a rather chequered history riding the amateur event. The superb piece of cycle art is by Michael Valenti and is available here.
Aside from the epic racing, Roubaix is also known for producing some wonderful soundbites. Here’s a typically colourful example. Dutchman Theo De Rooy abandoned the 1985 Paris-Roubaix and was interviewed shortly afterwards by American reporter John Tesh of CBS Sports.
de Rooy: “It’s a bollocks this race! You’re working like an animal, you don’t have time to piss, you wet your pants. You’re riding in mud like this, you’re slipping, it’s a piece of shit…”
Tesh: “Will you ever ride it again?”
de Rooy: “Sure, it’s the most beautiful race in the world!”
(with thanks to Jan Van Mieghem)