Hell Is Other People
One broomwagon driver
Several Roubaix velodrome caretakers.
One Canadian lumberjack.
In the build-up to the 114th edition of the Queen of the Classics, our behind-the-scenes masterclass at Paris-Roubaix leaves no cobblestone unturned.
As the dust settles, Andy McGrath and Marshall Kappel check in with the people who make this the finest day of racing in the year.
Sometimes a man of so much talent can fail to recognise his own strength.
Michał Kwiatkowski is a rider for Grand Tours, for cobbled classics, for hilly one-day races, for time trials, for week-long stage races; a born winner capable of victory from January to October.
Now though the leader of Team Sky’s ‘Polish Mafia’ tells Richard Abraham how he is learning to back off in order to build up for his key objective of 2017: the Ardennes Classics.
The Asahi Collection
“I am not a bike collection. I am a collection of my life.”
In a nondescript garage in the suburbs of Taipei, Asahi Chang has compiled a staggering collection of bicycles from the last 40 years of racing.
Over 650 frames and complete bikes are crammed in from wall-to-wall, with an air-conditioned, temperature controlled atmosphere and only a small corner sectioned off for a bed.
Bianchi, Tommasini, Masi, Merckx, De Rosa… Rouleur photographer Paolo Martelli is awestruck as he delves into this Aladdin’s Cave of bike porn.
The Chairman – Tim Harris
“This is the story of a big house in Belgium,” writes Ned Boulting. “Within its walls, along its corridors, through its communal kitchen and living space, some of the finest riders in the world have idled, prepared for races, slouched in front of the TV, boiled water for pasta and generally discovered whether or not they will make it.
“It is a remarkable institution, with no official accreditation. It is almost as if it doesn’t exist.”
Ned heads to the home of Tim Harris, a former British champion turned chair dealer, to find out how his Belgian bricks and mortar have come to house some of the world’s best riders.
“Let me tell you, if there is one thing that lets you know you have made it as a bike racer, but perhaps not as a human being, it is sitting in a folding chair by the autoroute with several other young men in matching tracksuits and mullets, all relishing lukewarm plain pasta and the scent of diesel at 8am.”
James Stout debunks the myths and legends of cycling nutrition, calling on his own experiences of eating ‘pasta all denture’ as a racer and the somewhat more scientifically informed opinions of Team Sky nutritionist James Morton and rider Ian Boswell.
Race to the Sun
Well, that’s what they call it, anyway. Perhaps they’re just being ironic.
Cycling Photographer of the Year for two years running, Marshall Kappel follows in the snowy wheel tracks of Paris-Nice in search of spring, sunshine and the sands of the Côte d’Azur.
As the race leaves Paris, he’s not entirely sure that he’ll find any of those things at all.
This issue’s Desire features the finest stitches in the cyclist’s wardrobe from the likes of Rapha, Pas Normal Studios, Santini and VOID.
And where better to head than the house belonging to renowned tailor Timothy Everest?