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Don’t get me wrong, I love Paris Roubaix, I really do. But is it a ‘proper’ bike race?

Was Tom Boonen a worth winner of the ‘Hell of the North’, in truth yes. But would it have been as straight forward if he hadn’t had the assistance of the rest of the breakway falling over at crucial moments?

Probably not.

So by definition, was Paris Roubaix won by Boonen or lost by Hushovd, Hoste and Flecha?

Probably a bit of both.

A laboured way of explaining the point though, but I am sure you get what I mean.

The cobbles can make a lottery of the race and despite it making for enthralling television, I am amazed that many racing purists don’t see it as some sort of freak show of the sport. My counter argument would always be that the roads and terrain make the race. You don’t complain when a mountain decides the Tour de France so why should a cobblestone not decide a classic.

The obvious counter to that is that crashes should not decide races and mountain stages are usually decided by who has the deepest lungs (not the best Doctor whichever cynics said that!). Thrills and spills are one thing, but I do prefer athletic endeavour.

No doubt that this years P-R was very exciting, especially the last 30k’s, but it would have been more memorable for me had it been decided by athletic prowess as opposed to not falling off.

Or does that make Boonen athletically better because he was a better bike handler…

James has been blogging for road.cc for 5 years and racing bicycles (averagely) for 20 years. 

2 comments

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thebikeboy [131 posts] 8 years ago
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That would be my argument, Booneen won because he had the best combination of athletic ability and bike handling skills… although what tyres do CTT and Quick Step run on?

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cactuscat [284 posts] 8 years ago
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i think it's a proper bike race, for sure. you're not entering it not knowing you'll be riding on cobbles, are you? so if you want to win, get the skills. sure it's hard and it's a bit of a lottery because you could get taken out by someone else going down, but that's just as true of a bunch sprint on tarmac. hushovd lost it because he got it wrong, boonen won because he got it right. end of story.