The passion for riding a bicycle is still growing. British cyclists from amateurs to professionals are following the Tour des Flandres and Paris-Roubaix from their sofas.
However, the same people are usually keen cyclists too, living a healthy lifestyle as well.
Cycling is not like football: it is not associated with going to the pub and drinking loads of beer. It is a sport closer to "the man and the machine" where the rider is the engine. So, being fit and slim is essential. Just look at all the cyclists wearing jersey and shorts. Almost comparable with jockeys who have to be light to ride. There is a specific diet and training to respect... it can be demanding and rather strict. Cyclists must be have stamina to cover long distance and in this case 257 kilometres including 28 cobblestones sectors.
What makes Paris-Roubaix such an iconic race?
...Paris–Roubaix is one of the oldest races of professional road cycling. It was first run in 1896... Source
Can be seen as a warm-up stage of the forthcoming Tour de France.
It is not just about the Tour or the race itself, but what actually happens beforehand.
Because the peloton will go before your eyes in a few seconds. So, spectators are waiting quietly along the road to see for a split second, their favourite cyclist(s) and eventually manage to get a photograph capturing that memorable moment.
In fact, the advertising caravan lasts about 30 minutes and this is what makes the show too. A few goodie bags and freebies are handed out to the spectators - this will make the wait shorter. But just imagine that there are an average of 250 vehicles each year. And all this is about publicity and promotion...in other words sponsorship. The amount of money involved is incredible, because like most events, it is essential to have a strong financial support.
People in general like to get something free. In the case of the Tour de France (TdF) about 5,000 items are given each day. On a bigger scale this means 170,000 caps, 80,000 badges, 60,000 plastic bags and other fridge magnets.
But let's be clear Paris-Roubaix (L'enfer du Nord/ A Sunday in Hell) represents the equivalent of just one stage of the TdF, but it is tough because of the landscape, the dust and often...the rain and mud.
An impressive race to complete and to watch as well.
What is usually interesting is to observe a couple of cyclists, because each of them has a different strategy and riding style.
We can only wish all these men good luck for such race. And if you never watched it, you will understand why it is called "A Sunday in Hell" - it is extreme sport and effort.