Roubaix: painful and difficult

The Wei Yuet Wong Collection

This is the first year that aspiring cycling photographer Wei Yuet Wong has been on hand to witness the mayhem of Paris-Roubaix. He offers some shots from his day in the dust and this quick appraisal of the experience…

 

Did you enjoy the race?

It was very challenging to make photos of my first Paris-Roubaix. First, the length, and the course. Furthermore, getting in and out of the pave sections in the back roads can also be tricky. I heard from many other experienced photographers that chasing Paris-Roubaix is tricky, and it takes much experience. I decided to focus my energies on sectors six (Bourghelles a Wannehain, Cysoing a Bourghelles), four (Carrefour de I’Arbre), and three (Gruson). I could reasonably hike between these sectors. These sectors are close to the finish, so I would catch the riders who are still in it to win. However, that meant I would miss the finish. It’s a choice I need to make because I am working alone.

I have heard many times that Paris-Roubaix is special. Even more than de Ronde. I didn’t understand why. And I still can’t explain why. It’s run on archaic roads. It’s brutally long. The area that the race snakes through is also the site for many battles on the Western Front during WW1 (Soissons, Somme). During the 1960s and 1970s, many towns did not welcome the race because they felt it exposed the backward roads that still existed. Now, many towns want to preserve cobbled streets in hope that Paris-Roubaix would decide to go through. I am sure that many of the roads are not used through the year except this one Sunday every April. This race is painful and difficult, but also celebrates a very pure human achievement, by a bunch of crazy bike riders every April.

Photo: Wei Yuet Wong
Photo: Wei Yuet Wong

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Photo: Wei Yuet Wong

Photo: Wei Yuet Wong
Photo: Wei Yuet Wong

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Photo: Wei Yuet Wong

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Photo: Wei Yuet Wong

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Photo: Wei Yuet Wong

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Photo: Wei Yuet Wong

Author: rob@ride

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