Of all the mind-boggling and sometimes apocalyptic scenes during the rainy Paris-Roubaix weekend, one in particular stole the show, as Cofidis' Christophe Laporte approached a cobbled sector and suddenly threw his foot behind him and onto his back wheel, slowing himself down like a BMX rider scurrying around a supermarket car park in a provincial British market town.
Displaying fantastic skill and bike-handling ability, Laporte used his foot as a brake as his conventional ones were worn out and failed him, managing to stay upright before calmly raising his hands to signal to his team car for a replacement bike, and this was after already suffering a puncture.
🚲 Christophe Laporte frenando con su zapatilla. #BandaDeportiva|#ParisRoubaix pic.twitter.com/tlPKWjWhSxOctober 3, 2021
"He had a puncture at a bad time but with the cars, it was impossible to help him quickly," sports director Alain Deloeuil explained. "When he left, we had to change his bike again because he had no more brakes. He rode about thirty kilometres in the cars before being able to reintegrate with what was left of the peloton."
Laporte's persistence in battling on was rewarded with a sixth-place finish, his first-ever top 10 in a Monument, finishing behind Yves Lampaert 1-16 down on winner Sonny Colbrelli and outsprinting Wout van Aert on the line.
"It was a crazy day, as expected," Laporte said. "On the cobbles, I managed to be well placed. I had a puncture and when I entered the group of favorites, I had to change bike. I thought my race was over but I didn't want to give up and give the maximum.
"I managed to get into the group of favorites and make a good place at the finish. I am very happy with this result. Paris-Roubaix is a race that is close to my heart and that I like a lot. I could have perhaps done better without the facts of the race that I knew but I am very proud of my race. This Paris-Roubaix, in such conditions, it will be remembered for a long time!"
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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