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Phil Gale points his camera at the men who rode Paris Roubaix 2012 and his pictures tell the story of a great race and the men who made it so

It is one of the most iconic locations in cycling, the mythical Velodrome in the industrial city of Roubaix, metres from the Belgium boarder and the finish of the Queen of the Classics, the Hell of the North. I arrived moments before this year's victor, winning by force, Tom Boonen. The stands in this simple cycling track, one of cycling’s cathedrals, were filled with frenetic Belgium cycling fans, all with their eyes firmly fixed on the giant screen showing Boonen as he rode the final kilometres of Paris Roubaix in celebration. On entering the stadium he was followed by a wall of noise, the deep throated roar of Belgians en-mass, celebrating their hero.

By now all of the stories of the event have been told, the drama, thrills and obligatory spills. Here is my view of the 2012 event, through my lens. The main picture above, by the way? That's Frédéric Guesdon, winner of Paris-Roubaix in 1997, who has just finished his last professional race, having announced that he would retire after this year's edition.

As with yesterday's tech feature the best way to view this is to click on one of the thumbnails and open the gallery slideshow. You can follow Phil Gale on Twitter @1_in_the_gutter where he regularly posts shots from his assignments.

Swein Tuft pre-race portrait

Pozzato on the line
 

The early break hits sector 25

A rider in the dust

Ballan ALMOST

Boonen solos to the finish watched by the world's media

Digging deep in sector 6 as mechanics wait with spare wheels

One more lap for Boonen on the way to victory

Tossato shows the pain

Cofidis exhausted

 

5 comments

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James Warrener [1080 posts] 3 years ago
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Wow they are amazing images..! thanks for those.

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Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 3 years ago
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Nice tribute on Pozzato's hat to double Paris-Roubaix winner and Italian national coach Franco Ballerini who died two years ago in a rallying crash. You just don't get details like that on TV coverage.

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step-hent [718 posts] 3 years ago
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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

Nice tribute on Pozzato's hat to double Paris-Roubaix winner and Italian national coach Franco Ballerini who died two years ago in a rallying crash. You just don't get details like that on TV coverage.

David Harmon mentioned it on Eurosport, but the image is much more powerful. Some great shots in there - really captures the atmosphere. My favourite race of the year...

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Rob Simmonds [251 posts] 3 years ago
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Bloody hell. Frederic Guesdon is two and a half years younger than me but looks at least fifteen years older. It's a hard life being a pro biker...

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Tom Eeles- Swis... [7 posts] 3 years ago
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Great images from an epic edition of #PR - Thanks Phil!

Looking forward to seeing the work from CYCLEFILM too.