“It was a very emotional edition,” says photographer Pauline Ballet of the 2018 Paris-Roubaix. “It was intense and mad again. And sad.”
Most of all, this year’s event will be remembered for the death of Belgian rider Michael Goolaerts who suffered a cardiac arrest on the second section of cobbles.
But while attempted resuscitation at the roadside and an airlift to Lille indicated the serious nature of Goolaerts condition, it was not until hours after Peter Sagan had celebrated victory that news of the 23 year old’s death in hospital that evening ricocheted through the cycling world.
In the meantime, Paris-Roubaix had continued as ‘madly and intensely’ as it ever does. From start to finish, Ballet had followed it. Her images capture the drama and heroics of an event normally championed for its brutality but now, this year, marred by tragedy.