24 hours before the elite race and a few hours before the first ever Paris-Roubaix Women’s race, a 2000 strong peloton of warrior-like amateur cyclists competed against the Queen of the classics, the Hell of the North and her legendary cobbled sectors. 

With route options of 70, 107 or 145 kilometres, the Paris-Roubaix Challenge gran fondo offered riders of all abilities the chance to bounce like-a-pro over granite cobbles, slip and slide on mud filled paths and suffer in pain – lots of pain.

The main 145 kilometre gran fondo route from the outskirts of Paris to the city of Roubaix included 20 cobbled sectors, eventually finishing, just like the the pros, inside the famous Roubaix velodrome, where riders grinned from ear-to-ear after surviving a ride through Hell.   

PHOTOS: Instagram 

Worldwide Gran Fondo Calendar