Paris-Roubaix YouTube roundup

Five great vids showing the Hell of the North from all angles

by Dave Atkinson   April 15, 2011  

Mavic Paris Roubaix vid - cobbles

The cobbles of the Paris Roubaix always tell a fascinating story, whatever angle you look at them from. And we've put together this quick roundup of interesting vids looking at some aspects of the racing.

First up it's Spartacus, who features in a video ad for Trek Bikes. If you haven't seen it yet by clicking on one of those Trek ads on the site, we've pasted it in below. It's a really well put together vid, and an interesting account of one man's personal battle with the pavé as he looks forward to the Paris Roubaix.

"The first time there, I was so happy and proud. And nervous. I came to the first cobblestones and I get dropped. I've done the Arenberg sector alone, I was going 5km/h on those stones. No way. I'm gonna come back and I'm gonna show you guys – the guys are actually the cobblestones – I'm gonna show you who gonna win the battle".

The vid itself contains the usual wistful and arty focus-pull shots of the cobbles but there's lots of meat in there too: good stuff from Cancellara with talking heads from plenty of other folks too.

Next: Kurt Asle Arvesen. You think the Paris-Roubaix is hard? Try riding 20km standing up. That's what the Norwegian had to do when his saddle worked itself loose and finally fell off. "You got a spare bike for Kurt?" we hear one of the car occupants say on the vid. Clearly the answer was no, at least for half an hour which included some of the harder cobbled sections. They finally sorted him out though.

Poor old Tom Boonen. This chap was standing right next to the Belgian when he pulled over with a mechanical in the Arenberg sector, and Boonen just has to stand there, looking increasingly fraught, as the entire race flew past him and out of reach. Watch to the end for the kind of thing you have to deal with if you're a pro rider mixing it with the bikes and team cars at the back of a race...

Mavic are properly at the heart of the action with their neutral service team, and this year for the Paris Roubaix they kitted them all out with helmet cameras to catch the racing from within. It's pretty chaotic stuff: crashes, skids, wheels being transferred from bikes to cars on the go... All to make sure that the race runs as smoothly as possible. Chapeau to the Mavic team.

Slowing things right down, here's a vid from Holland Sport that uses super-slo-mo camera work to show the impact of those cobbles on bikes and bodies. It's so beautifully shot and lit that it's hard to imagine that it's actual footage from the heart of the racing, but apparently it is. Wonderful stuff.