Retro Gallery: Paris-Roubaix

Sunday would've seen the 116th edition of Paris-Roubaix, had the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic not swept away the spring calendar amid lockdowns and government decrees across Europe.

It's a big loss to the 2020 season, though may be run in the Autumn. Instead, we'll have to make do with images from past editions of the 'Hell of the North'. 

Here, we've gathered iconic images from yesteryear in one place for you to look back and reminisce over. It's no substitute for the race itself, but we think you'll enjoy it.

First run in 1896, Paris-Roubaix has become a mythical race on the calendar and arguably the hardest of the one-day classics summoning all the beauty and hardship of cycling. In recent years, Tom Boonen (four wins) and Fabian Cancellara (three wins) have made the race their own but with both riders missing in 2015, the opportunity arises for one rider to add their name to the illustrious list of winners such as Coppi, Bobet, Gimondi, van Looy, Hinault....

From the cobbles of the Arenberg forest to the crazed fans on the road, the velodrome finish in Roubaix and the famous showers, Paris-Roubaix is like no other race, producing both heroic and memorable moments. It is a race of drama, excitement, disappointment and jubilation taking place where some of Europe's bloodiest wars have been fought. 

It is a race that has tamed the great names of cycling and witnessed others make their own. In the 1970's, Roger De Vlaeminck was the king of the cobbles, becoming the first rider to win four Roubaix's and earning himself the nickname "Monsieur Paris–Roubaix". Along with Boonen, De Vlaeminck is the only rider with four wins to his name while seven riders have won the race three wins. 

Between 1978 and 1980, Francesco Moser became the second rider after Octave Lapize (1909-11) to win three straight which is a record that still stands. Several riders have enjoyed two wins on the pavé since Moser but only Museeuw and Cancellara have managed three victories.

The last wet Paris-Roubaix took place in 2002 and while the rain and mud is the stuff of nightmares for the riders, it makes for a spectacle unseen elsewhere in professional sport.

Have a look through our gallery of some of the most iconic moments and riders of Paris-Roubaix.

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