Welcome To Hell


7 April 2013

This morning, somewhere around Compiègne, 198 men woke up.
They got out of bed, looked out of the window and saw that it was a sunny day.
A few probably stared at the sky for a couple of minutes.
Thinking about the upcoming race.
The cobblestones, wind, dust in your eyes, flat tires, crashes,
big crowds along the roads and not to forget: The Forest.
It might surprise you, but some riders smile when they think of all that.
Paris – Roubaix is one of the hardest races of all the races in the Spring.
To be honest: there should be hanging an enormous banner
with big, black letters at the start, telling you: “Welcome to Hell.”
Yesterday Luke Durbridge already said on Twitter that
he had “an epic meal” and that he was “very excited” for the race.
Taylor Phinney  said on Twitter: “one man’s childhood dream comes true”.
This morning many more riders shared their feelings about today on Twitter.
Tom Stamsnijder compared it to “riding your first race again”,
Jesse Sergent called it an “epic day”,
Stuart O’Grady, former winner and oldest  rider in the race,
even stated that it was “Man vs. Cobbles” and
maybe the best quote of this morning was made by Iljo Keisse:
“Today we go through Hell to Heaven”.
Today 198 new stories were made.
We only saw a few of them.
We will remember the sprint-a-deux of Cancellara and Vanmarcke.
We will remember that Fabian Cancellara was the first rider who finished
and we will definitely remember the tears from Sep Vanmarcke.
But we probably won’t hear much about the tragic fall
of Stijn Vandenbergh and Zdenek Stybar’s bad luck in the future.
We will most likely forget about the flat tire of Clement Koretzky,
Taylor Phinney’s attack in the Forest and the jump of Michael Schär.
Furthermore, we won’t remember that it was Luke Durbridge’s
first Roubaix and that some riders had to fight against the time limit.
Luke Rowe and Jetse Bol mentioned on Twitter that they were just in time.
Tom Stamsnijder finished 43 minutes after Cancellara, but unfortunately
this was too late and therefore he got a ‘DNF’ behind his name.
However, everyone who finishes, in time or not, is still a hero to the fans.
On top of this, there was also the story of Bob Jungels.
He was the youngest in the race today – only 20 years old.
It was his first Paris – Roubaix among the professionals.
Last year he won the edition for riders under 23.
He finished today, fourteen minutes after Cancellara.
Another hero.
Paris-Roubaix, it’s hell.
Riders can feel pain in their wrists, legs and bones for days.
But still, ten seconds after the finish they will all say that they love this race.
Or they share a tweet, which Bob Jungels did too:
“Hellll yeaaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!”

© Belga

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