Paris-Roubaix: Iconic images

A photographic look back at the Queen of the classics

Paris-Roubaix is known as the Queen of the Classics and always produces a battle royale on the cobbles of northern France before the winner is crowned in the Roubaix velodrome.

Depending on the weather, Paris-Roubaix can be a blast over the dusty pave or a battle for survival in the mud and rain. Some riders love it but most others hate the pain and suffering the cobbles inflict on their bodies. It is not called the l’enfer du Nord, the hell of the north, for nothing.

This year’s 258km route includes 51.5km of cobbles divided into 27 different sections with the legendary Forest of Arenberg again expected to be the point when the race explodes.

We’ve trawled through our photographer’s archives to find some of the best iconic shots from the last 20 years. There were no digital cameras in the eighties so some shots are blurred as the riders flashed past but the images portray the drama, pain and pursuit of victory at Paris-Roubaix.

Paris-Roubaix was the big goal of the season for the late Franco Ballerini and we have images of him losing the sprint to Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle in 1993, his lone victory in the velodrome and then his emotional retirement in 2001.

We also dug out some shots of Francesco Moser, Sean Kelly, Steve Bauer, Magnus Backstedt, Stuart O’Grady’s victory in 2007 and more recent battles between Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen.

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