The third monument race of the season, 2018 Paris – Roubaix, is just around the corner. The Hell of the North represents a unique stage on which the pretenders of the Spring classics on the cobblestones must take a chance to get the victory. In facts it is the last occasion before the top-tier racing moves to the Ardennes. The race, not unlike it happened in the last 40 years, starts in Compiégne. The city is situated 60 kilometers North-East from the centre of Paris and it is hystorically remarkable for having been the seat where both the 1918 armistice that sanctioned the end of the Great War and the 1940 one proclaimed by France and Nazi Germany took place. Roubaix, otherwise, needs no introduction. The place that features the epilogue and in which the history has been written of one of the most loved races in cycling, the Vélodrome André Petrieux, is both an icon and a cornerstone for this sport. Mud, dust, scratches or bruises are, after careful consideration, at the same time the collateral damage and dress for the gala for those who accomplish to reach the spectacular venue that hosts the finish line of the Paris – Roubaix.
Start of the race: 11:30 am CET
End of the race: 5 :30 pm CET
Official Hashtag: #ParisRoubaix
Paris – Roubaix 2018 Route Preview and Profile
The Paris – Roubaix is taking place for the hundred and sixteenth time on the harsh cobbles of Northern France and, in comparison to the editions of recent years, some minor adjustments have been done. The route amounts to 257 kilometers and more than one fifth of it, to be exact 54,5 km, are on the pavé. The number of cobblestones sections remains the same to the one the wheels of the competitors have bounced on last year but, nevertheless, the sectors between the twenty-eighth and the twenty-fourth ones (from kilometer 164 to 127 to go) are not the same. Of those that I’ve just mentioned only the stretch between Saint-Python and Quiévy (3700 m) is a tough one and in facts it is categorized with four stars out to five. By the way 146 kilometers of racing and twenty-five cobble-paved roads are still waiting to be covered on the way to Roubaix.
The race, along the last 125 kilometers leading to the Vélodrome, reserves for the pretenders the same twenty-three parts that inscribed the edition won by Greg van Avermaet. From here on out the route could be divided into four macro-subdivisions with the three five-stars sections to serve as a discriminating factor. From 122 to 95 kilometers to the finish line are scheduled four sections: Verchain-Maugré > Quérénaing (1600 m, ***), Quérénaing > Maing (2500 m, ***), Maing > Monchaux-sur-Écaillon (1600m, ***) and Haveluy > Wallers (2500 m, ****). The last one represents the hors d’oeuvre for the most iconic and spectacular section of the race, the Aremberg Forest (2400 m, *****). Despite it is a totally straight and flat road through the woods, this street has been playing a decisive role because of the complexity of the pavements. Often, in facts, the forest is the background on which crashes and attacks take place so the ones who target the victory must be careful or otherwise the chances to get the success will dissolve.
From 89 to 50 kilometers to go occurs the stage of racing between the Aremberg Forest and Mons en Pevéle section. Wallers > Hélesmes (1600m, ***) it’s the first cobble-paved road the race hits after the first five-star section but soon after comes the Hornaing > Wandignies-Hamage sector, which it is the longest of the race together with Saint-Python > Quiévy. Warlaing > Brillon (2400 m, ***) is not a tough one but the following cobble-surfaced road, Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes > Sars-et-Rosières (2400 m, ****), is harder. All in a row, the Beuvry-la-Forêt > Orchies (1400 m, ***), the Orchies (1300 m, ***) and the Auchy-lez-Orchies > Bersée (2700 m, ****) are the Mons en Pevéle traditional openers and usually act as a test to the legs of the pretenders. The Mons en Pevéle five-star section, 3000 m with over 48 kilomters remaining, is the road that puts the race straight off into the finale and draws it out the real values. The cobbles on the surface are among the most disjointed of the entire race and for sure it is a crucial moment of racing.
Six sections make up the part of the 2018 Paris – Roubaix between the Mons en Pevéle and the Carrefour de l’Arbre sectors. In only thirty kilometers or racing almost seven of those are surfaced with cobblestones. Sectors as the Mérignies > Avelin (700 m, **) and the Templeuve Le Moulin de Vertain (500 m, **) count for nothing for the purpose of the final result but the same is not true of the Camphin-en-Pévèle (1800 m, ****), which is the section that foreruns the last five-star one before the race comes to the end. Pont-Thibaut > Ennevelin (1400 m, ***), Cysoing > Bourghelles (1300 m, ***) and Bourghelles > Wannehain (1100 m, ***) sections sit in the middle. The stepping stone for those who want to take the spoils at the end of the day is for sure the Carrefour de l’Arbre: along 2100 meters of tremenduous arranged cobbles it is cumpolsory to take a chance to make a difference. At the end of this road only 17 kilometers stand between the leaders and the finish line.
Three more cobble-surfaced roads are still to be covered at this point of racing but traditionally none of those have been decisive with a view to the final results. By the way, the final say may not yet have been spoken. Gruson (1100 m, **), Willems > Hem (1400 m, ***) and the one-star parade leading to the Vélodrome André Petrieux are just the openers for the one and half laps to be covered on the track of the velodrome, the iconic as much as meaningful frame for the finale of one of the most hard and fascinating races ever held.
Paris – Roubaix 2018 Pavé Sectors
29 Troisvilles > Inchy 2200 ***
28 Viesly > Briastre 3000 ***
27 Saint-Python 3700 **
26 Saint-Python > Quiévy 3700 ****
25 Saint-Hilaire-lez-Cambrai > Saint-Vaast-en-Cambrésis 1500
24 Saulzoir > Verchain-Maugré 1200 **
23 Verchain-Maugré > Quérénaing 1600 ***
22 Quérénaing > Maing 2500 ***
21 Maing > Monchaux-sur-Écaillon 1600 ***
20 Haveluy > Wallers 2500 ****
19 Foresta di Arenberg 2400 *****
18 Wallers > Hélesmes 1600 ***
17 Hornaing > Wandignies-Hamage 3700 ****
16 Warlaing > Brillon 2400 ***
15 Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes > Sars-et-Rosières 2400 ****
14 Beuvry-la-Forêt > Orchies 1400 ***
13 Orchies 1700 ***
12 Auchy-lez-Orchies > Bersée 2700 ****
11 Mons-en-Pévèle 3000 *****
10 Mérignies > Avelin 700 **
9 Pont-Thibaut > Ennevelin 1400 ***
8 Templeuve Le Moulin de Vertain 500 **
7 Cysoing > Bourghelles 1300 ***
6 Bourghelles > Wannehain 1100 ***
5 Camphin-en-Pévèle 1800 ****
4 Carrefour de l’Arbre 2100 *****
3 Gruson 1100 **
2 Willems > Hem 1400 ***
1 Roubaix 300 *