Coming Sunday there will be no Paris Roubaix this year, but we have some interesting facts about the Hell of the North.
1. Paris Roubaix had 117 editions and ...118 winners. In 1949 André Mahé was the first to cross the finish line, but he was sent the wrong way when entering the Vélodrome solo. Serse Coppi who won the sprint of the peloton afterwards, protested claiming he was the one who won it the ‘right’ way. The ASO solved it by giving the victory to the both of them.
2. The initial nickname is ‘La Pascale’ which literally means ‘The Easter’, this was because the first edition was held at Easter, April 19th 1896. People began naming it the Hell of the North in 1919 because the race cycled through the demolished landscape after the first World War.
3. The very first Cobble trophy was awarded in 1977 to Roger De Vlaeminck. Mr Paris-Roubaix Boonen still holds the record for the most victories in the race. De Vlaeminck won the cobbled classic in 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1977. His record was equalised by Tom Boonen in 2012.
4. The fastest edition was in 2017, when Greg van Avermaet won it with a stunning average pace of 45,204 km/h, breaking Peter Posts record of 45,129 km/h in 1964.
5. To end the wins per country where Belgium takes it by a landslide
· 57 - Belgium
· 28 - France
· 13 - Italy
· 6 - The Netherlands
· 4 - Switzerland
· 2 - Australia, Germany, Ireland
· 1 - Luxemburg, Moldova, Slovakia, Sweden