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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 5 September, 2015

Sports film of the week: A Sunday in Hell

Every week we turn the lights down, get the popcorn on and watch one of your favourites together. Do join us.

1976 Paris-Roubaix bicycle race
1976 Paris-Roubaix bicycle race
Image: YouTube screen grab

Title: A Sunday in Hell

Director: Jørgen Leth

Release date: 1976

The plot: The Paris-Roubaix cycle is a journey to hell. This classic documentary follows some of cycling’s greats at the time as they battle the many natural and man-made elements in this test of endurance. The film captures the events of the 1976 edition and reveals the atmosphere of a professional race. Leading riders Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck (the previous year’s winner), Freddy Maertens, and Francesco Moser are put into focus as they tackle the narrow, cobbled roads and muddy tracks. Not only that but the film gives views of the team director, protester, spectator and mechanic. By the finish in the velodrome in Roubaix only a few riders are in contention. Post-race the exhausted riders, caked in dirt, give interviews in the velodrome’s showers. They look as if they’ve only just returned from hell.

YouTube credit: becomearobot

Follow Friday: It’s Stephen Grant

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