A day in hell: Images from a brutal weekend at Paris-Roubaix

It was a tough day out for the hardiest of professional cyclists in Northern France

Toms Skujins at the 2021 Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Paris-Roubaix has gone from one day in hell to two as the women hit the cobbles of Northern France for the very first time this year.

In the men's edition the weather was atrocious with the riders getting covered from head to toe in mud.

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) became the first Italian to win the 'Queen of the Classics' since 1999 when Andrea Tafi took the title.

In the women's edition, the weather wasn't quite as apocalyptic as the next day was with the men, but it was still an epic race with Brit Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) taking the inaugural race.  

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Such an epic day in the saddle of course throws up an epic selection of photos too, here are some of the very best we could use.

Sonny Colbrelli

(Image credit: Getty)

We start with the obvious and the moment Colbrelli realised he had won the 118th edition of the men's Paris-Roubaix on debut, with two other debutants rounding out the podium. 

The talented 22-year-old Belgian Florian Vermeersch (Lotto-Soudal) took second after being in the breakaway all day and Dutch star Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) took third.

Lizzie Deignan

(Image credit: Getty)

Keeping with the obvious starter pictures, Deignan put on one of the finest performances ever seen on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix with a solo move lasting over 80km all the way to the line.

Paris-Roubaix

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We often see this shot every year but the past 19 years, excluding 2020, saw plumes of dust, instead this year the view is of mud and near-unidentifiable riders.

Lizzie Deignan hugs Elisa Longo-Borghini after winning Paris-Roubaix Femmes 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The joy after making sporting history. Lizzie Deignan was quick to embrace Italian champion Elisa Longo-Borghini as the Trek-Segafredo team-mates finishes first and third.

Mathieu van der Poel after finishing third on Paris-Roubaix debut

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We have seen this pose from Mathieu van der Poel time and time again, but usually after an incredible victory. This time, it was third place that the man from the Netherlands had to settle for.

Marianne Vos

(Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the greatest cyclists of all time, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), just left it a bit too late to try and close the gap to Deignan and had to make do with second for the second race in a row after losing out to Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-Travel & Service) at the World Championships.

Guillaume Boivin put in the ride of his life to take ninth at Paris-Roubaix 2021

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It was a brutal day for the men with riders looking like stone men at the end of their efforts. 

Canadian champion, Guillaume Boivin (Israel Start-Up Nation), put in a truly staggering performance to take ninth place, which could have been better if not for a late crash.

Elisa Balsamo

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The first day racing as world champion was a brutal one for Balsamo finished in 57th place, 12 minutes behind Deignan.

It was clear that the damp cobbles were not the Italian's thing as she now focusses on The Women's Tour.

Sonny Colbrelli

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How many emotions can be seen pouring out of this photo? Relief and joy are likely the top two with pain, disbelief and more joining the list. A warrior like effort.

Paris-Roubaix Femmes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's always room for arty shots. This one is particularly well done, albeit a tad confusing for the eyes. 

Greg Van Avermaet

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What could have been for former winner, Greg Van Avermaet (Ag2r-Citroën), a couple of moments of bad luck saw him fall out of contention and finish over nine minutes down on the winner. 

Paris-Roubaix Femmes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Both races were absolutely brutal, even though the women's race didn't have the huge amounts of mud, they were still battered with plenty of crashes and wet cobblestones.

Arenberg Trench

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The forest of Arenberg is probably the most famous section of cobbles in the world and it did not disappoint in this year's edition of the men's race. Sadly not used in the women's event.

Mathieu van der Poel, Sonny Colbrelli and Guillaume Boivin

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Van der Poel riding at full tilt on the cobbles as they tried to chase down the sole leader of Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers).

The front selection riding the Orchies sector

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The front selection riding on the Orchies sector of cobbles. One of the most taken shots of the race.

Paris-Roubaix

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Eventual second place finisher, Vermeersch, in the centre of the image put in an amazing debut ride.

Gianni Moscon

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers) looked as though he was going to take the victory solo, but a puncture and a crash proved too much for the Italian.

Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!


I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.


It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.


After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.


When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.


My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.