‘I wanted to feel thrilled and awed by Paris-Roubaix and its history – but mostly I just felt excluded’

The cobbles to Roubaix, yellowing cracked velodrome and stone showers aren't the same when you're not really allowed in

The cobbles of the Trouée d'Arenberg could elicit anger in a rider for a multitude of reasons: the toothy relentlessness of the 2.3 kilometre stretch, the uneven gaps begging to take a wheel in their jaws, the slick paste of chalk and grime and mud across the surface eagerly waiting to punish a change in direction.

But it wasn't the character of the stones that sucker punched my pride as I struggled to gain traction on the hardest sectors of the Hell of the North. It was the knowledge that whilst my peers in cycling are gearing up for the biggest race of the Classics season, there will be no race for my idols.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan the Editor of Cycling Weekly website. An NCTJ qualified traditional journalist by trade, Michelle began her career working for local newspapers. She's worked within the cycling industry since 2012, and joined the Cycling Weekly team in 2017, having previously been Editor at Total Women's Cycling. Prior to welcoming her daughter in 2022, Michelle raced on the road, track, and in time trials, and still rides as much as she can - albeit a fair proportion indoors, for now.