The Shot: Roubaix’s tunnel of noise

Editor’s note: In “The Shot,” BrakeThrough Media photographers Iri Greco and Jim Fryer will pick their favorite photo from select races throughout this season and provide the background story on how the image was captured.

2016 Paris-Roubaix, Sector 25 Quièvy à Saint-Python, 107.5km covered

This spot on sector 25 is a routine stop for photographers at Paris-Roubaix, and I chose it again this year because of the options it provides. I also choose to shoot it from the same perspective as in years past, which is different from almost all other photographers (both Iri and I aim for unconventional perspectives when possible). Most photographers go for the inside of the tricky right-hand turn, while I’ve always chosen to shoot from the outside. The beauty of the outside angle here is gaining two different shots from one stop on course. And in the last two editions I have opted to stand on my pilot’s motorbike to get that extra elevation over the fans and riders.

For this installment of “The Shot,” I’ve selected the angle of the approach into the corner versus the exit out of the corner with all the flags, fans, the soigneurs, and the craggy old tree; in the image of the approach, I was drawn to the density of the peloton, heads peeking out, and the parallel lines of the fans on both sides of the road. I like the POV gained by shooting over them as they come into the corner and exit out of the corner — both have a natural hillside that creates a tunnel or corridor effect. Because the focus is in the foreground and the depth of the peloton, there is feeling of infinity to the pack of riders.

This location really captures the feeling of Paris-Roubaix with the crowds packed in and the tension of the race as they approach the treacherous corner, which is just one of many that lie ahead on this most epic of races.

Key image specs:
Canon 1DX
Canon 70-200mm 2.8L II USM + 1.4x III extender
1/2000 sec @ f/4.0 ISO 640
Focal Length: 98mm
File format: RAW