Paris Roubaix 2012 - through the lens
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
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