The test arrives this Saturday in the women’s category and on Sunday, in the men’s category, with a new duel between Van der Poel and Van Aert.
The race is known as the ‘Hell of the North’ and stands out for the hardness of the cobbled sections with passages as famous as the Arenberg forest or the Carrefour de l’Arbre.
Paris-Roubaix arrives this weekend, considered the ‘classic of the classics’ and the toughest of the one-day cycling races that are held annually. The test has a race for both sexes. The female disputes this Saturday and the masculine, the Sunday. The cobblestones or ‘pavés’ are the essence of one of the five ‘monuments’ and that in this edition will again have the incentive of the great duel between a Dutchman, Mathieu van der Poel, and a Belgian, Wout van Aert, which Fortunately, it is nothing new. The French race can be followed on television.
Why is it called the ‘Hell of the North’?
Contrary to what many believe and think, the name is not given by the extreme harshness of the test, although the name is associated with the tremendous and impressive cobblestones. The race, created in 1896was suspended because of the First World War and was organized again in 1919. The French journalist Victor Breyer He followed the race that year as a special envoy for the newspaper ‘L’ Auto’, creator of the competition. Shocked by the destroyed houses and the devastating memory of the trenches and land destroyed by the war, he assured in his chronicle that the race had gone through the “Hell of the North”.
What are the cobblestone sections like?
Let no one imagine that the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix are similar to those that a few decades ago were in cities like Barcelona and that are still preserved in some counted streets. The cobblestones or stones of the Paris-Roubaix they are separated several centimeters from each other, where the grass grows. When the cyclists pass by, the earth rumbles as if the spectators who are on the edge of the roads were under the effect of an earthquake. They stick out of the ground and bounce the bike. If it rains or there is mud, as it happened in the 2021 editionthe difficulty increases since the bike slips and a greater number of accidents are generated.
How many sections of cobblestones are there this year?
The men’s event on Sunday will feature 29 sectors cobblestones, while the women’s race this Saturday brings together a total of 17. ASO is the organization (the same as the Tour) and rates these sectors with stars, between one and five.
What are the most complicated sectors?
Logically those that are punctuated with five stars and that, in fact, they are the most famous of the race. The first to appear is the Trophy or forest of arenberg, where car traffic is not allowed throughout the year. It is located at kilometer 161 of the 256.6 scheduled in the men’s Paris-Roubaix. The next one will be Mons-en-Pévèlewhich is also used in the female test (of 145.5 kilometers) as well as the most famous of all, where the race is usually resolved and which is called the Carrefour de l’Arbre.
Is there a typical restaurant to follow the race live and direct?
Yes there is. He L’Arbre restaurant It is located right at the exit of the Carrefour sector of the same name. French haute cuisine, the tables are usually reserved from one year to the next, so it is impossible to enter the day of the race if you have not planned well in advance. Throughout the year, cycling lovers come to the establishment to evoke their passion for stones and Paris-Roubaix.
Are there showers to clean up after finishing the race?
Although cyclists can shower in the team coaches after the end of the competition, the showers in the Roubaix Velodrome They are famous and one of the attractions of the city in the North of France near Lille. In some of the showers there are the names of the winners of the race such as Eddy Merckxthat next to bernard hinault They are the last two winners of the Tour who have triumphed in the ‘monument’ of the cobblestones.
What will the Spanish do?
Ivan Garcia Cortina He is the leader of the Spanish Movistar team and will try to finish in the top ten, just like Sandra Alonso in the female category, which already had the honor of finishing last year in the ‘top ten’ of the race.
Who are the top favourites?
Once again all eyes will be focused on the duel that they will maintain again Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert. Freed from the presence of Tadej Pogacarwinner in Flanders, will only have to worry about rivals like Filippo Ganna. Van Aert account in its ranks with the Dutch Dylan vanBaarlewinner in 2022.
Does someone take care of the cobblestone sectors during the year?
In fact, the cobblestone sectors are only maintained by the Paris-Roubaix, otherwise the stones would have been replaced by traditional asphalt. In the 19th century, the carts drawn by oxen. Now the association The Friends of Paris-Roubaix take care and pamper the cobblestones: replace the old ones with new ones, or restore them, sweep the sectors, cut the grass. They are volunteers and work for the love of cycling.
What prize does the winner and the winner receive?
Does anyone imagine? Very simple. A stone will be the reward that this year’s winners will take to place it in a distinguished place in the house and thus boast of victory in Paris-Roubaix.
What are the bikes used by cyclists like?
The truth is that the ‘inventions’ that manufacturers or team mechanics have made in recent years, such as testing front suspensions, have never succeeded. In fact, cyclists use the usual road bikes, although with wider wheels and with the lower pressure tubulars, so as not to bounce as much as when driving exclusively on pure and hard asphalt. They also usually carry double tape on the handlebars so that the hands, which generally arrive skinned and even bloody, suffer less from the impact with the stones.
What has been the toughest edition in recent years?
Undoubtedly, the one held in 2021 after the 2020 cancellation because of the pandemic. Two years ago it was decided to move the test to the month of October where, contrary to what has happened lately in spring (on Saturday, with the women, the sky will be cloudy, and on Sunday, with the men, sunny) it rained copiously with what that human images were seen turned into Clay figures. The participants reached the finish line crying, between the excitement of finishing the test and the accumulated fatigue.
Will it be possible on television?
Eurosport He will give both races in full, between 11 in the morning and 5:30 p.m. On Saturday the women’s race will be offered and on Sunday the men’s race, which can also be seen live on teleportfrom 1:30 p.m.
What classics come next?
April is the month of the classic cyclists, who now move towards the Ardennes to eliminate the cobblestones that were first used in Flanders. On Sunday, April 16, the Netherlands takes place the Amstel Gold Race Or the beer race. On Wednesday the 19th it will be the turn of the walloon arrow, with the famous wall of Huy. On Sunday, April 23, the one-day classics end with the dispute of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège. These last two tests will be attended by Tadej Pogacar.
📍 The mythical Mons-en-Pévèle / le mythique Mons-en-Pévèle ! #ParisRoubaix | #ParisRoubaixFemmes pic.twitter.com/QUMAH5wup5
— Paris-Roubaix (@parisroubaix) April 4, 2023