My toughest day: Bernie Eisel

The Dimension Data rider remembers a tough day on the French cobbles
Playlist 20 Videos My toughest day: Bernie Eisel 01:58 Watch: Tour Down Under 2019 stage four highlights 00:00 Watch: Tour Down Under 2019 stage three highlights 05:25 Watch: Why having an off-road adventure is easier than you think 22:08 Watch: The man who took a Boris Bike around the world 02:00 Watch: Driver completely loses it with cyclist (video) 00:58 Watch: Shocking moment driver hits cyclist, reverses and then drives away 00:21 Watch: Rider forced to cling to side of bridge above 30ft ravine after finish line crash 00:47 Brazen bike thief caught on camera stealing high-end Wilier road bike (video) 01:20 Watch: Rider dices with death on the icy handrail of 200m-high dam (video) 03:02 Watch: Shocking video of motorist using three phones and nearly taking out cyclist 01:40 Watch: Halloween-themed ad for Santander Cycles’ new Blaze Laserlight 01:23 Watch: Police seek motorcyclist after bad-tempered stand-off with cyclist (video) 04:58 Women’s clothing brand Nakeid launches its new collection (video) 02:45 Watch: Dr Hutch's guide to riding a penny-farthing 03:51 Bizarre video sees thief in China cut down tree to steal bike 01:02 German researchers turn GPS bike share data into visualisations of cities (video) 04:29 Watch: Peter Sagan pays homage to Rocky in Tour de France training video 01:56 Watch: 360 video of cycling through London 02:15 Cyclist stopped by police for pulling out of Cycle Superhighway (video) 05:56

We all know the feeling of bonking, that moment when your legs become as heavy as steel girders and every breath feels like sandpaper sliding down your throat. But imagine how much worse it is when you think you’re within touching distance of the biggest win of your career.

>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<

Bernie Eisel felt like he was was in with a chance of winning the 2012 Paris-Roubaix when at 30km he hit the wall. Whether it was due to not fuelling properly or picking up a slight bug, Eisel’s body gave up and he slipped further and further back down the road, even being dropped on non-cobbled sections.

In the end Eisel finished 86th, 17 minutes down on the winner Tom Boonen, making him the last placed racer to finish before the time cut.

He claims it was his hardest day simply because of the psychological impact of being so close to getting a good result but ending up having to crawl home. Thankfully Eisel had a week to recover after the race and went on to help shepherd Bradley Wiggins to his Tour de France win later that year.

Bernie Eisel will race the Paris-Roubaix again this year at the age of 35. Let’s hope he can banish his 2012 performance with a strong result for team Dimension Data.