Starting from today onwards, we are rekindling the great tradition of the Balls.ie Sports Documentary of the Week.
This Sunday, the 114th edition of esteemed French one-day cycling race Paris-Roubaix will be held. The race has long captured the imagination of cycling fans, thanks in large part to its winding, treacherous course through cobbled fields in the French countryside.
In 1976, the Danish filmmaker Jorgen Leth released a film about the race entitled 'A Sunday in Hell'. The film casts cycling as a primal saga set amid a distinctly French atmosphere: protests, dust clouds, squabbling officials, panicked TV producers. It captures cycling's bygone era - when a sip of a Perrier bottle was required by the race winner and journalists crammed into a dingy paddock to watch riders shower and ask them about the race. It also beautifully documents a beautifully mad spectacle --- the best cyclists of the day (Merckx, Maertens and de Vlaeminck) cycling down treacherous cobbled roads. The result is porn for bike lovers.
Paris-Roubaix takes place again this Sunday. Rain is predicted. Imagine.