2017 Paris-Roubaix has slightly more cobbles and the plot from Wipeout

Strava/Bertrand Trichet

Strava/Bertrand Trichet

Barses of granite or barses of some sort of hi-tech vibration-dampening material with a made-up pseudo-scientific name? Who’s to say how the riders get through Paris-Roubaix without sustaining permanent damage to their perineums (perinea?). There’s also that whole riding-really-quickly-for-bloody-hours aspect to contend with.

As races go, Paris-Roubaix is one on its own. Essentially one long crescendo, the riders start quickly and then go faster and faster and faster until everyone’s strung out across the barren landscape of northern France looking tired and miserable (even the leaders).

If you’re lucky, you make it to the end without crashing. If you’re really lucky, you crash out and sustain sufficiently severe injuries that it’s acceptable to abandon. If you’re really, really, tremendously lucky, you withstand the crashes, duff gears, bad weather and general athletic misery to be first across the line.

Last year, Mat Hayman had the biggest balls. I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess as to what might happen this year. Even the participants who love this race describe it as ‘bollocks’.

It’s also worth mentioning that this will be the final race of Tom Boonen’s career. Tom Boonen is a big deal in cycling to a great extent because he’s won Paris-Roubaix four times.

If you want to watch, it’s on Eurosport on Sunday. Sadly it doesn’t look as if ITV4 will even be showing highlights, which is a damn shame.