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Paris-Roubaix: A Journey Through Hell [Hardcover]

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Item description for Paris-Roubaix: A Journey Through Hell by Philippe Bouvet, Pierre Callewaert, Jean-luc Gatellier & Laget Serge...

Paris-Roubaix, aka “The Hell of the North,” has enough cobbles to shake bikes and bones to bits, and enough bad weather to make it treacherous even for the best professional cyclists. Held every April since 1896, the race follows a 270-kilometer course between the suburbs of the French capital and the northern industrial city of Roubaix, and its long history and location have made it pivotal in attracting cycling's superstars and testing their reputations. This lavish, large-format book recounts the history and excitement of Paris-Roubaix. With authoritative text from the top sportswriters at France's L'Equipe, the book presents the inside story of the race, its great riders, its traditions, and its secrets. Arranged chronologically, Paris-Roubaix includes an exclusive, behind-the-scenes chapter to bring readers directly into the action. Hundreds of spectacular color and black-and-white photos, many of them never before collected in book form, round out this memorable portrait of one of cycling's greatest events.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   223
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 10.5" Height: 12.75"
Weight:   3.55 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 28, 2007
Publisher   VeloPress
ISBN  1934030090  
ISBN13  9781934030097  

Availability  105 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 07:14.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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More About Philippe Bouvet, Pierre Callewaert, Jean-luc Gatellier & Laget Serge

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > France > Paris
2Books > Subjects > Sports > General
3Books > Subjects > Sports > Individual Sports > Cycling > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Paris-Roubaix: A Journey Through Hell?

Cycling Hell (or heaven?)  Feb 8, 2008
An absolutely stunning book, detailing the history of this awe-inspiring race from its inception to date.

Clear production and well journalised personal stories provide a book you can pick up and browse through again and again
Sharing the journey through hell  Dec 30, 2007
If you're looking for a book that covers the emotional, technical and psychological aspect of the Paris-Roubaix, then this is the one. The photographs are phenomenal, the written text entertaining and the book overall is highly recommended. A must-have for all cyling enthusiasts!
A WONDERFUL Journey through Hell  Nov 22, 2007
This is the ultimate telling of the Paris-Roubaix story. L'enfer du Nord as it is know in France, is one of the most grueling and notorious one-day races held every spring for last 100+ years. Most famous is the stretch of cobblestone pave that makes for the toughest section of the race. If it is too dry, dust occludes everything, and if it is wet the cobbles are dangerously slippery and muddy. In either case it is a bone jarring ride and no sane place to have a bike race.

The book is excellently laid out with a history of the race, profiles on the key winners and special sections on some of the features that make this race unique. For example there is a chapter dedicated to describing the feel and the mood of the showers in the velodrome at the end of the race. Unlike any locker room in any other sport, these showers are a unique character of the race in their own right. It is where the warriors relive, consul, try to forget, and most importantly remove the caked on mud from the day.

The best feature is the 100 years of photographs that capture the pain, glory, and muddy mess that makes up this unique event.

This is a must own for any cycling fan.
A Beautiful Book about an Ugly Race  Nov 12, 2007
Greg Lemond famously said about cycling:" It doesn't get any easier. You just get faster." And for a sport that values the ability to suffer, the least easy of all races is Paris-Roubaix, variously feted as "the Queen of the Classics" and cursed as "the Hell of the North." In 2006, L'Équipe published a gorgeous history of the race and it is this book, in an excellent idiomatic English translation by cycling historian David Herlihy, that has now been published by VeloPress. Compared to the vast tide of books about the Tour de France, this one appears to be the only substantial work in English about Paris-Roubaix, in spite of the race's legendary status. This in itself merits its inclusion on a cyclist's bookshelf, but the book has intrinsic qualities that make it a must-have.

Paris-Roubaix is a throwback to another age. When it began in 1896, the velodrome ruled the land and road races were the exception: difficult to organize and with only a few racers, unable to compete for the rich prizes of the tracks, available to participate. To enliven proceedings, some velodrome owners promoted road races to end at their tracks. This was the case of Paris-Roubaix, and at the first race was so novel and popular that part of the grandstand collapsed under the weight of spectators. The winner, the German strongman Josef Fischer, completed the race at an average of over 30 km/h. So this race had everything: an international field, a challenging route and an enthusiastic audience. It has gone from strength to strength as the other classics from that year (Paris-Mons? Paris-Royan? Bordeaux-Paris?) are long gone, along with most of the velodromes. This book covers the race from its beginnings, a time when cobblestones were commonplace and men and bikes seemed to have been made of iron, to today's carbon-fiber age but the race has always been brutally hard, a merciless test of men and equipment.

The authors have approached the race in a clever and unusual fashion. Rather than following a chronology, the majority of the eleven chapters of "Paris-Roubaix: A Journey Through Hell" are divided into different aspects of the race These include: the cobblestones themselves; the impact of the weather; messed-up finishes; unexpected winners; the Roubaix velodrome; and a brilliant chapter devoted to the effects of getting a flat tire. There is a gallery of the most celebrated winners and the whole book is stuffed with marvellous photos taken from the archives of L'Équipe. There appear to have been photographers present at every dramatic crash, or else there are always so many crashes that you just have to stand around and wait.

The race has attracted cycling's greatest figures, who seem to have always had a love-hate relationship. Bernard Hinault felt that Paris-Roubaix was a ridiculous race, a lottery where chance ruled but he knew that posterity demanded that he win Paris-Roubaix. He did it in convincing fashion in 1981, wearing the rainbow jersey of the World Champion, and crushing five opponents (four of them previous P-R winners!) in the final sprint at the velodrome. Although the race counts several other Tour de France victors among its winners, including Garin, Lapize Coppi and Merckx, it is more notable for its special "hard men," who have specialized in beating the cobbles, such as four-time winner Roger de Vlaeminck, three-time champion Francesco Moser and the indomitable Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, who participated in the race seventeen times, finally winning on the 14th attempt and repeating the following year. Their stories are all told in loving detail in this book.

Details indeed. For example, there is a section recounting how Jean Stablinski, a former World Champion, suggested a particular section of cobbles to the race organizers and the famous Wallers-Arenberg stretch, a positively medieval piece of road, was added in 1968. The modernization of France meant the removal or paving over the cobbles that are such a characteristic (and feared) part of the race and by 1968 the race against time was on as the countryside was scoured to find more cobbled roads. At its lowest point in 1965, the Queen of the North had only some 22 kms of cobblestones in its 294 km route. Today efforts have been made to protect and preserve the famous roads and the pros can look forward to more than 50 kms of pavé in twenty-six sections. And the mud and the dust are with us always.

And the people who protect and preserve the roads are the subject of the last chapter, "The Angels of Hell." Described as the "guardians of the temple," these include journalists, fans and even the artist, who painted 12 kilometers of cobbles (using 18 tons of paint) as a work of art and a tribute in 1986. This is the kind of insight so lovingly presented in "Paris-Roubaix: A Journey through Hell". There is no reference to the amateur version of the ride, held in September rather than in the third week of April as is the pro race, but the Everyman participants in that ride are given a piece of pavé when they reach the velodrome in Roubaix as a memento, echoing pro cycling's most cherished trophy, the single cobblestone mounted on a plaque, that goes to Cycling's Strongest Man every Spring. A beautiful book about a not-so-beautiful race.

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