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Was riding the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix really a good idea?

Was riding the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix really a good idea?

I don’t do cobbles … until I did do cobbles. It was a wonderful but probably one-time-only experience. This article was written quite a bit…

Wednesday, Apr 13

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I don’t do cobbles … until I did do cobbles. It was a wonderful but probably one-time-only experience.

This article was written quite a bit later than I had originally planned because my elbow suddenly stopped working. I couldn’t even lift a cup of tea, or work on the computer for that matter. How come, you ask? Well, I, at 43 years of age, on the heavy side, and not in great physical shape, decided that riding some of Paris-Roubaix would be a good idea. Was it? Maybe. Did my body enjoy it? Not in the least.

“That’s normal,” says my Eurosport colleague and 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Bäckstedt when I complain about the side-effects a week after my ride. “I always had tendinitis after racing Roubaix. Many riders needed to go to the physio or osteopath afterwards.”

That’s the sort of information I would have been interested in before my ride. But no, before I started this rather idiotic venture, Magnus told me many times how fun it was, that I should really try it, and that it would create insights that could really benefit my commentary work and enhance my – already rather huge amount of – respect for the riders. My Roubaix-winning colleague taking glory in 2004. Until recently I didn’t really care about Classics. Grand Tours were my thing, and riders like Miguel Indurain, Lance Armstrong (yes), Alejandro Valverde (still), and Alberto Contador were my heroes as a new fan of the sport in the ’90s and ’00s. […]

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