Have you ever loved something so much that you hate it too?
Paris Roubaix is so fantastic you just wish everything to be perfect.
You want every Super Bowl you watch to be epic, but that level of drama is impossible to create year in, year out.
If you look at the race from an elevation profile perspective, it doesn’t look challenging at all.
But seeing motoring through the cobbles, navigating narrow road and Paris Roubaix’s length is so painful making the race so dynamic because there’s only so much strategy you can get from race radios.
Even though Paris Roubaix does a better job of consistently creating a spectacle, but I always want more.
Last year’s race was a perfect example.
How the Race Was Won 2016
All eyes were on Fabian Cancellara who in his final Paris Roubaix was one victory away from tying the all-time mark.
He was paired with World Champ Peter Sagan in a group trying to play catch up with the leaders, but had trouble efficiently organizing a group to bring them back.
That’s what narrow roads and cobbles do.
Then with thirty miles left, Cancellara crashed with Sagan doing an amazing maneuver that only Sagan could do hopping over the melee and continuing on.
Sagan’s unreal maneuver.
But this pileup severely hurt the group’s ability to catch up leaving seven riders up front that would vie for the victory.
In that group was another sentimental favorite 38 year old Tom Boonen, who is tied for the most Paris Roubaix victories (4), but hadn’t won since 2012.
Every rider seemed to take turns launching an attack as they approached the velodrome, but every rider looked a little too beaten down for these to stick.
Once inside the track, the riders meekly sized each other up as their fatigue hindered both their physical and mental abilities seeing another 38 year old, journeyman Mathew Hayman take the sprint.
If this was a Disney story, Boonen would have somehow pulled it out or an imaginary friend would have motivated Cancellara to victory, but that didn’t happen.
At the time, I was disappointed with the outcome, but looking back, it was a great race where I questioned the drama of every move.
Once again Paris Roubaix is back this Sunday, so why am I irritated?
There’s a few things:
- NBC Sports Network will rebroadcast the race on free TV, but on the evening after. How am I supposed to survive the internet without finding out for 36 hours? I may or may not have used illegal feeds in the past, but they are spotty from what I’ve heard. I’m probably going to fork over the $19.99 to get the NBC Gold Package, since Tour de France and other races will be included.
- Why no women’s race? The women’s Tour of Flanders was more exciting this year than the men’s. There’s no reason why it wouldn’t want to see more racing, especially since it’s just as good.
- Split screens. Isn’t this easy to do more of? The streets are narrow so you could even do a triple feed. I doubt that would make a sports producer’s head explode.
- Drone cameras. For years I’ve always been worried about these devices crashing but now we have disc brakes, so they aren’t a big deal to me. And in another ten years we’ll mount lasers on them to keep jackets from attacking. I feel like a genius.
When jackets attack….
Bottom line, I can’t get enough of this race.
The live feed starts at 1:35am Pacific Time, so I might miss the start, but I plan on waking around 5am (like I do anyways) to hopefully catch the meat of the race.
Until then, set your alarms, find a good cave with reception and unfriend everyone you know that could ruin this for you (except me).
Paris Roubaix is that good.