Our man Patrick was on scene in northern France yesterday for the great race, and offers the following photo-documentary of a great day out. Especially if you're Flemish...
If you're a tire and somebody stencils this on you, that's pretty much the kiss of death, no?
He and some other Italian riders paid tribute to Franco Ballerini, former two-time Paris-Roubaix winner who died in 2010.
Some guys need no introduction...
For others, the race was their introduction, of sorts:
Young Taylor Phinney, who came in 15th in his debut on the senior circuit of Hell. This after a lot of teamwork. Here he is leading things out of Compiegne:
And unless I miss my guess, you can see mini-Phinney cycling onto or off of the front of the peloton here:
One of my favorite little P-R facts is that the course is laid out by a guy with some neon cardboard and a big stapler:
Couple stretches of stones... am waiting for Patrick to tell me which.
Real men don't need arm warmers, or leg warmers, or gloves. And they apparently keep their shoes clean.
Hincapie chasing back, after an early flat (IIRC):
Gar-man battered from an early crash:
Finally, Boonen enters the velodrome...
...soaks in his victory lap...
...and repeats his classic Roubaix Velodrome salute for the fourth time!
Great photo: the sprint for second...
Celebration time: Boonen gets personal with the pave:
The winning steed:
And at last... the, uh, stuff that dreams are made of:
Photos by Patrick Verhoest for the Podium Cafe