Australia has a long history in cycling, with two grand tour winners, multiple grand tour stage winners and some of the peloton's great workhorses.

But Paris-Roubaix has proven a tough nut to crack for the Aussies, with only two riders breaking through to win the Hell of the North, widely considered the toughest one-day classic and most important of the monuments on the cycling calendar.

Ahead of the 2024 edition of Paris-Roubaix, we look back at the two Australians who have managed to break through and take out the most famous stone in sport.

2007, Stuart O'Grady

Stuart O'Grady became Australia's first winner of the Paris-Roubaix classic, taking out the 2007 edition in 6 hours and 9 minutes across 259 kilometres.

Renowned by that stage of his career as one of the great workhorses in the peloton, Paris-Roubaix was the greatest win of a record that also had two stage wins at the Tour Down Under, a National Championship in 2003 and two overall victories at the Tour Down Under in 1999 and 2001.

The 2007 Paris-Roubaix win came as part of a breakaway in a race that was realistically only described as messy.

A group never got away early on, before 34 riders - including O'Grady - finally got away around the 30-kilometre mark.

The lead of the group was never allowed to grow because of it's size, however, as the peloton thinned out at the back-end of the race, a number of the favourites, including multiple-time champion Tom Boonen, simply sat and looked at each other rather than riding across to a select group who had got away.

O'Grady, in true style of his career, actually had a puncture at one point, but managed to ride himself back to a group featuring eventual podium place getters Juan Antonio Flecha and Steffen Wesemann.

The Australian then rode away from his breakaway companions and was never seen again, eventually taking home a 52-second win over Fecha and Wesemann, who won the sprint for the podium places ahead of Bjorn Leukemans, Roberto Petito, Tom Boonen, Roger Hammond and Enrico Franzoi.

2016, Mathew Hayman

If the win for O'Grady in 2007 came as a surprise, then Hayman's was an even bigger shock in 2016 when he managed to outsprint one of the fastest men on two wheels in the world at the time in Tom Boonen.

Like O'Grady, Hayman's win came after being part of the day's breakaway, although it took even longer to form than the 2007 race, with multiple attempts failing early in the journey to Roubaix.

Hayman's group - which eventually comprised 16 riders - weren't able to get clear until the 67-kilometre mark.

Hayman wasn't among the favourites in that original group either, with the likes of Sylvain Chavanel, Yaroslav Popovych and Tim Declercq in it among others.

A crash in the peloton with 115 kilometres remaining would see the peloton split, with pre-race favourites Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara both being resigned to the chasing group, while Boonen, Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe and Sep Vanmarcke headlined the big names remaining in the front half of the peloton.

Hayman was the first to launch a breakaway attempt on his own out of the first group with almost 80 kilometres remaining, but was eventually caught, with more crashes behind continuing to hamper the peloton's progress.

Despite that, a chase group would eventually catch the breakaway, and coming onto one of the final big sections of cobblestones, Sep Vanmarcke attacked away from companions Stannard, Boonen, Boasson Hagen and Hayman. His gap would eventually be mowed down, with more attacks on the final run to Roubaix yielding little. Hayman was the last man back to the group after Vanmarcke's attack, putting in an enormous effort after spending all day in the breakaway.

Boonen was the key aggressor over the final kilometres, but on the last of those attacks, just inside three kilometres from the line, Hayman went around him. The pair would ultimately head into the velodrome together, and as a game of cat and mouse emerged, the other three riders would rejoin the group.

Hayman, stuck on the front of the group, was forced to run the lead out, but at the end of an exhausting day, even the sprint of Boonen couldn't come around Hayman, allowing the Australia to complete a famous victory.