The 112th Paris-Roubaix
The Hell of the North, Queen of the Classics, L’Enfer du Nord, whatever name you call it Paris-Roubaix for many is the single biggest race of the year. For a rider to win Roubaix, is to enter cycling immortality. Riders such as Fausto Coppi, Rik van Looy, Francesco Moser, Eddy Merckx, Sean Kelly, Bernard Hinault, Johan Museeuw and Fabain Cancellara have all tamed the Paris-Roubaix cobbles for well-earned legend status.
The first Paris-Roubaix was run in 1896 starting in Paris and finishing in Roubaix, today the race starts in Compiègne about 80km north east of Paris and it still finishes in the famous Roubaix velodrome. The race is famous for rough sections and cobblestones, this year there are 28 sectors of pave totalling 51.1km and include the Trouée d’Arenberg, Hornaing to Wandignies and Carrefour de l’Arbre.
The course is maintained by Les Amis de Paris–Roubaix, a group of fans of the race formed in 1983. The forçats du pavé seek to keep the course safe for riders while maintaining its difficulty. While the course may be rough and difficult it is a very fast race, the fastest average speed is Peter Post with an average speed of 45.13 km/h, second is last year’s race winner Fabian Cancellara with and average speed of 44.19 km/h.
Greg Lemond sums up some of the mystique of Paris-Roubaix.
I can’t even explain it. It’s absolutely the most exciting race you can do. I did the Classics every year since I turned pro. I still wonder why some of the top pros won’t do Paris-Roubaix, even for the experience. It’s highly special. I can understand the climbers are not going to do it but it’s a race that everybody should do at least once in a lifetime. Greg Lemond
Like last weekend’s Tour of Flanders this is another race where Belgians feature in the all time great statistics. There has been a winner form Belgium 55 of the 111 races, Both four time winners De Valeminck and Boonen are Belgian, four of the seven three time winners are from Belgium, Rebry, van Looy, Merckx and Museeuw with the other three time winners from France, Italy and Switzerland, Lapize, Moser and Cancellara. The fastest edition was from Peter Post from the Netherlands.
2013 Paris-Roubaix results – top 10
|Rider Name (Country) Team
|Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard
|Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
|Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
|Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
|Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar
|Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
|Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge
|Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
|Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
|Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar
Tour of Flanders: Winners of the past ten years
2013 Fabian Cancellara (Sui) RadioShack-Leopard
2012 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickStep
2011 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Cervélo
2010 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Saxo Bank
2009 Tom Boonen (Bel) QuickStep
2008 Tom Boonen (Bel) QuickStep
2007 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Team CSC
2006 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC
2005 Tom Boonen (Bel) QuickStep-Innergetic
Highlights of the 2013 Paris-Roubaix
After last week’s win the undisputed favourite is Fabian Cancellara (Trek), his form was building all season and at the Tour of Flanders produced an overpowering win, he was simply too strong for anyone else. It goes without saying that the chance to win a fourth Paris-Roubaix and third Tour of Flanders Paris-Roubaix double will be all the motivation Spartacus needs.
Tom Boonen and Sep Vanmarcke for my money are second favourites, Vanmarcke was the only rider capable of matching Cancellara’s accelerations and at one point even put the Swiss rider into difficulty. Last year Vanmarcke finished second behind Cancellara, this year he will want the cobblestone trophy.
The next group of six riders could also win, they include Peter Sagan, Zdenek Stybar, Greg Van Avermaet, Niki Terpstra and Alexander Kristoff. All have had great results so far this season and carry good form into this race. Milan-San Remo winner Kristoff is looking particularly strong.
Outside of those riders Taylor Phinney, Stijn Devolder, Geraint Thomas and Jon Delenkolb are all worth considering if you are placing a bet and don’t want to pick one of the outright favourites. Geraint Thomas again has the services of Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Rider and Twitter Quotes
— Sep Vanmarcke (@sepvanmarcke) April 7, 2014
Time to go back to the cobbles! Recon of Roubaix today! pic.twitter.com/P3Achl46nP
— Jasper Stuyven (@Jasperstuyven) April 10, 2014
— Team Sky (@TeamSky) April 8, 2014
For live coverage join The Bike Lane in watching the 2014 Paris-Roubaix on Eurosport at 9.15pm, and join in the conversation on twitter #parisroubaix