Mitch Docker – Paris-Roubaix: My Last Sunday in Hell
Photo: Pipe Cano
The Cycling Podcast presents Life in the Peloton
Since announcing my retirement from Pro cycling earlier this year, I knew I would draw my 13 year career to a close at the end of the 2021 season. At that point I didn’t know what my last race might be. Then fate stepped in – Paris-Roubaix, a race I’ve truly loved over the years, was rescheduled from it’s usual April spot to an end of season Sunday in October. It seemed perfectly fitting to ride this brutal race as a bookend of my pro career. So that’s what I aimed for. But with the many high caliber classic style riders in our team, I wasn’t guaranteed an automatic start. I had to be ready to race. And as many of you know, my run-in to my final race wasn’t all smooth sailing. After fracturing my elbow 3 weeks out at Benelux tour, the question of my ability to race – especially a cobbled classic race – was up in the air. I was finally selected to go to Belgium for that last week of racing, with a one day classic, Eurométropole, the Wednesday before Paris-Roubaix, to test out whether my elbow would hold up. It’s no secret I did make it to the start of Paris-Roubaix, but, as you’ll hear, it wasn’t without my doubts.
This episode I take you along for the ride that final week of my Pro cycling career. I chat to my mates and teammates who were there with me along the way: Tom Scully, Michael Valgren, Stefan Bissegger, past teammates Bert de Backer, Luke Durbridge, Sam Bewley, Jack Bauer and Mathew Hayman. I hear their stories of past Paris-Roubaix editions, their hopes & fears for our upcoming wet October Sunday and we look back at the day that was My Last Sunday in Hell.
It was one hell of a final week of racing, full of nerves, excitement & capped off in one brutal day on the cobbles.
What was truly most special about that day was the support out on the road. There could not have been a better place to finish my career than Belgium, the home of cycling. I want to thank everyone who was there cheering in the rain or watching from home. It was a day I’ll never forget.
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The theme music for Life in the Peloton was composed by Pete Shelley, who was lead singer of the punk band Buzzcocks. It was commissioned by the production company behind Channel 4’s coverage of the Tour de France in the 1980s and was used as the theme music for the nightly highlights show. Pete died in December 2018. We were given permission by Pete’s widow and his manager to continue using the music for the theme tune to Life in the Peloton. To hear more about the music, listen to the Andre Greipel episode of Life in the Peloton.