History of Paris-Roubaix

History of Paris-Roubaix

History of Paris-Roubaix

The annual spring cycling classic "Paris-Roubaix" always attracts the attention of cycling fans all over the world. As one of the oldest cycling events, the attention to this event is also an upgrade from beginners to senior riders.
Paris-Roubaix was co-founded by the founders Theodore Vienne and Maurice Perez. Theodore Vienne was a textile manufacturer in Roubaix and was very passionate about cycling. In February 1896, he found Louis Minat, the editor of the French "Sports Daily", and asked if he could hold a cycling race from Paris to Roubaix. After a series of discussions, they arranged the first Paris-Roubaix race on Easter, but due to various factors, the first Paris-Roubaix race was finally held on April 19, 1896.
The champion of the first Paris-Roubaix was Josef Fischer, and a total of 28 riders completed the race. The route of the first race was 280 kilometers long. Joseph Fischer finished the race at a speed of 30.162 kilometers per hour. He was a German. It was not until 119 years later in 2015 that Degenkolb became the second German to win the Paris-Roubaix championship.

The race was successfully held until the First World War in 1915 and was not resumed until 1919. The name of Paris-Roubaix "Hell of the North" did not come from the difficulty of the muddy and stone roads but from the invasion of World War I. The race route was devastated by bombs after the war.
After the Paris-Roubaix race was re-held in 1919, the champion Henri Pelissier from France described it this way:
"We entered the heart of the battlefield. There was not a tree, everything was razed to the ground. Not a square meter of land was not turned over. There were craters on the ground. The only thing that stood out on this turbulent land blue, white, and red ribbons. This is hell! This is not a race. This is a pilgrimage."

In the next twenty years, Paris-Roubaix was held as scheduled until 1940, when it was suspended again due to World War II and resumed in 1943. In 2020, it was suspended again for one year due to the impact of the new crown epidemic, and the 118th race was re-held on October 3, 2021.

2022 Paris-Roubaix track map

The Paris-Roubaix race route was originally from Paris to Roubaix, but in 1966, the race began to move to Chantilly, 50 kilometers north, and then to Compiègne, 80 kilometers north in 1977. The most famous part of the route is the uneven cobblestone road. The organizers will grade the cobblestones according to their length, irregularity, general condition, and their position in the race. Many athletes will familiarize themselves with these sections before the race so that they can better deal with them.

Since 1936, the finish line of the race has usually been set at the Roubaix Velodrome, located at 50.678°N, 3.205°E. It is more famous for the old-fashioned open showers in the venue, where riders can wash their bodies after each race. There is a brass plaque in front of each shower to commemorate the winner.

The most famous thing about the Paris-Roubaix race is the rugged cobblestone road that passes through the race section. It is the toughest single-day race in the world. Cobblestones, dirt, dust, and collisions have become her synonyms.

Among the many cycling events in Europe, the Paris-Roubaix race is like a classic of ancient monuments and has become an integral part of the UCI professional tour. The Paris-Roubaix race is also known as the "Hell of the North" and the "Queen of Classics". Because the race is famous for crossing those stone roads, since 1977, the winner of the event has also been awarded a stone brick made of stones from the stone road on the track as a trophy. It is very distinctive and commemorative.

Stone Brick Trophy

There is also a bathroom at the end of the race for the riders to take a shower after the race. The name of the champion is engraved on the baffle of each bathroom. In 2021, there will be a women's Paris-Roubaix race, and in 2021, the bathrooms will also be engraved with the names of female riders for the first time.

The riders who have won the most in Paris-Roubaix are Tom Bonnen and Roger De Vlaeminck, both Belgians, who have won four championships. King Mox and Cancellara each have three Paris-Roubaix championships.
The country with the most champions in history is Belgium, with 57 wins, followed by France with 28 wins and Italy with 14 wins.

This is the winner of the Paris-Roubaix on April 9, 2023 - Van der Poel


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