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Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
« on: March 28, 2017, 10:08 »
Paris Roubaix /L'Enfer du Nord




History
Paris–Roubaix is one of the oldest races of professional road cycling. It was first run in 1896 and has stopped only for two world wars. The race was created by two Roubaix textile manufacturers, Théodore Vienne (born 28 July 1864) and Maurice Perez. They had been behind the building of a velodrome on 46,000 square metres at the corner of the rue Verte and the route d'Hempempont, which opened on 9 June 1895.

Vienne and Perez held several meetings on the track, one including the first appearance in France by the American sprinter Major Taylor, and then looked for further ideas. In February 1896 they hit upon the idea of holding a race from Paris to their track. This presented two problems. The first was that the biggest races started or ended in Paris and that Roubaix might be seen as too provincial a destination. The second was that they could organize the start or the finish but not both.
They spoke to Louis Minart, the editor of Le Vélo, the only French daily sports paper. Minart was enthusiastic but said the decision of whether the paper would organise the start and provide publicity belonged to the director, Paul Rousseau. Minart may also have suggested an indirect approach because the mill owners recommended their race not on its own merits, but as preparation for another.
They wrote:
Dear M. Rousseau, Bordeaux–Paris is approaching and this great annual event which has done so much to promote cycling has given us an idea. What would you think of a training race which preceded Bordeaux–Paris by four weeks? The distance between Paris and Roubaix is roughly 280km, so it would be child's play for the future participants of Bordeaux–Paris. The finish would take place at the Roubaix vélodrome after several laps of the track. Everyone would be assured of an enthusiastic welcome as most of our citizens have never had the privilege of seeing the spectacle of a major road race and we count on enough friends to believe that Roubaix is truly a hospitable town. As prizes we already have subscribed to a first prize of 1,000 francs in the name of the Roubaix velodrome and we will be busy establishing a generous prize list which will be to the satisfaction of all. But for the moment, can we count on the patronage of Le Vélo and on your support for organising the start?1

and so it began a race designed to capture the attention of the people of Paris to remind them that Roubaix in fact still was part of France, and now the race capture cycling fans from every corner of the globe , a Sunday in hell.

It is also the last time we will see Tom Boonen ride the race that helped make the modern day classsic rider a legend of the sport


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  • Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

     

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