Cycling is full of hyperbole and cliche. Epic, hell, brutal. It’s rarely any of these.
And then you see the images of the first Paris-Roubaix race after World War 1. A ride through hell. This is the origin of Paris-Roubaix’s nickname as the ‘Hell of the North’.
“This wasn’t a race. It was a pilgrimage.”
Henri Pélissier, speaking of his 1919 victory.