Roubaix Velodrome, a set on Flickr.
Boonen, De Vlaeminck, Merckx, Museeuw, Moser, Kelly, Cancellara….some of cycling’s greatest names have graced this small corner of northern France close to the Belgian border.
It was Thursday 13th December 2012 and I had just finished a meeting in the town of Roubaix and felt compelled to take a small detour in the taxi to the famous Roubaix Velodrome, home to the finish of the Paris-Roubaix race.
The visit was rather surreal and the velodrome almost had a spooky feel to it. This was a cold, grey day in December and I was alone on this iconic piece of concrete, with only a few minutes to take some pictures before heading off to another business meeting. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be here on the first Sunday in April, watching cycling’s hardmen finish the “Hell of the North” and the hardest of them all, finishing first with his arms aloft in celebration.
After letting my imagine run wild for a few moments, I turned and got back in my waiting taxi and headed off to the next set of offices. At least now, when I watch the race I can say that I have stood on that hollowed piece of concrete that some of cycling’s greats have also been on.
One day I will return, hopefully to see the end of the race and maybe even have the chance to bring my bike and ride around the track.