Skip to content

Die dog or shite the licence: Sport’s greatest documentary

April 19, 2009

AS MANY a rhino and fully packed-up army regiment are ‘tapering’ for the London Marathon, my attention turns not to Brendan ‘Bren’ Foster or Steve ‘Crammy’ Cram’s commentary but towards Northern France, Flanders, Holland and the Ardennes.
Because, it is at this time of the year where the real hard men of world endurance sport are crowned and where real sporting drama can become an art form.
In the cycling races Paris Roubaix and Tour of Flanders et al, the hardest professional riders brave strong winds and terrible conditions in a series of one day, eyeballs out, muck-and-gutters, die-dog-or-shite-the-licence endurance drags to prove who is the daddy.
Paris Roubaix, from Compeigne 60k North of Paris to the velodrome in eponymous town of the race’s title, is the truest test of the biggest, hardest most powerful ‘rouleurs’ in the peloton.
Amid 166 miles of racing there are 20 sections of pavement, no longer used by normal traffic. The riders fight over broken cobbles either blinded by dust thrown up by support vehicles on dry days or through mud and gutters after spring downpours.
They are supported by huge crowds, glugging beer and chips, who throng the roads where once WWI raged. The race was given the savage soubriquet ‘The Hell of the North’ in 1919, and this race is a different kind of hell for today’s riders.
It is cycling as far removed from the glamour of les Grands Tours and the sportives of modern times as can be and closest to the sport’s late 19th Century roots.
Some the greats have won it several times: Eddy Merckx won it three times (once by the record margin of more than 5 minutes), Francesco Moser three times in a row (1978-80), Bernard Hinault won it once and vowed never to go near it again while my hero Sean Kelly, (below) took the trophy twice.

Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

wholehoggblog

@wholehogg

breakingoutofthetemplesofculture.wordpress.com/

Arts, Health and Wellbeing in the Community

Culture, Space, Technology: A Platial Journal

A 'Platial' perspective on daily life

Record Shop Shots

Looking for a vibe on a cheap fix

Boston College Subpoena News

The Belfast Project, Boston College and a Sealed Subpoena

Bella Caledonia

Scotland's 5th Estate

Enda Guinan | Social

Sensible Social Media

two step

two of us in step, most of the time

Voice of the Belly

It's just a blog, not a tablet of stone

Little Sheffield Guitar Studio

Professional Guitar Tuition in the heart of Meersbrook, Sheffield

Tales from inside the age of digital news

An ever-changing journey through digital news media

W[r]ite Noise

Belfast-based arts and culture musings

Shakespeare Couldn't Email

And by and by clean starved for a look...

Irish Election Literature

... what you maybe meant to keep...

The Broken Elbow

A View of the World from New York and Belfast (Public PGP Key: 210D6F47)

%d bloggers like this: