In this episode of The Cycling Podcast, Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe discuss arguably the most storied and mythologised one-day race in the world. Paris-Roubaix is nicknamed L’Enfer du Nord, the Hell of the North for good reason because it takes the riders over more than 50 kilometres of brutal, broken cobbled roads.
We have exclusive interviews with champions from the past, present and (possibly) the future – Sean Kelly, Tom Boonen and Taylor Phinney.
It is 30 years since Irish cycling legend Sean Kelly won the first of his two Paris-Roubaix titles. The master of understatement, he describes how he felt as he entered the Roubaix velodrome with Belgian rider Rudy Rogiers at the end of the race: ‘The body is starting to get a little bit weary.’
Tom Boonen currently shares the record for most victories with fellow four-time champion Roger De Vlaeminck, who is nicknamed Mr Paris-Roubaix. We asked Boonen how he would like to be known if he clinches a fifth crown. ‘That’s up to the world to decide what the nickname will be but there’s only one Mr Paris-Roubaix and that’s Roger. I’m happy to share the title with him already but perhaps they’ll have to make up something new,’ he said.
And we spoke to a potential Paris-Roubaix champion of the future, Taylor Phinney. The American has won the under-23 race and spent much of Sunday in the big breakaway at the Tour of Flanders. We wanted to know how the elite Paris-Roubaix compares to the under-23 version. ‘When it comes to the competition level, it’s much higher in the pros, much more nervous and much more difficult to stay in position. It’s 70 kilometres longer which is a pretty big difference,’ he said.
We also share our favourite Paris-Roubaix memories and there’s another Heated Debate starring, you’ve guessed it, Roger De Vlaeminck.
Want to go straight to the interviews?
13:08 Sean Kelly
35:50 Taylor Phinney
38:50 Tom Boonen
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