A Sunday in Hell


Classics season is upon us and to celebrate the forthcoming battles on the cobbles we are showing the classic documentary A Sunday in Hell, directed by Jorgen Leth

This Danish film is a chronology of the 1976 Paris-Roubaix race.  The race, along with the Tour of Flanders, is one of the most spectacular and feared one day races.  It features narrow sections of rough cobbled tracks that choke with dust on dry days and become slick and muddy in rain.  These challenging conditions mean that punctures and crashes are inevitable but if you do then getting back to the head of the race is real challenge.  To win is to go into cycling immortality and the winner receives one of the most iconic trophies in sport – a huge cobble stone like the ones they have just ridden over.

The film captures not just the events of the 1976 edition but the atmosphere of a professional race from the perspective of participants, organisers and spectators.  Each classics race is a duel between a few contenders, with outsiders looking to upset the odds, and the film begins by introducing the contenders Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaemink, Freddy Maertens and Francesco Moser each with their supporting riders who are charged with helping their team leader win.

The film gives views of the team directors, protesters (the race is halted for a while), spectators, mechanics and riders.  As the cobbled sections are entered the selection begins, riders puncture, crash, make the wrong move and the race plays out.  By the finish at the velodrome in Roubaix only a select few will be left to fight it out for the win.  Post race the exhausted riders, mired in dirt, give interviews in the velodrome’s showers, each cubicle is now adorned with the name of a previous winner.

Join us on 14 March at The Reliance in Leeds and enjoy an iconic documentary of an iconic race.

Date: 14 March at 7pm

Venue: The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN

Cost: £5 (tickets can be bought via the eventbrite link opposite)


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