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2011 Paris - Roubaix Race Preview
 
By Giles Belbin
Date: 4/8/2011
2011 Paris - Roubaix Race Preview
 

The 109th Paris-Roubaix - It's all eyes on the pavé as attention turns to the Queen of the Classics. Standby for chaos on the cobblestones.


Courtesy Paris-Roubaix

"Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell;
And in the lowest deep a lower deep
Still threat'ning to devour me opens wide,
To which the Hell I suffer seems a Heaven..”

Paradise Lost, John Milton, (1608 – 1674)."

Into the second week of April and before the peloton lies the Hell of the North that is Paris Roubaix. After two weeks of facing cobbled climbs in Gent-Wevelgem and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the peloton will be thankful to see the back of the short, steep climbs that have so far characterised the northern spring classics. But they won't be able to say goodbye to the cobbles, far from it because Paris-Roubaix is of course all about the pavé.

The brainchild of two textile manufacturers and cycling fans, Theo Vienne and Maurice Perez, the first running of Paris-Roubaix was in 1896. Vienne and Perez had built a velodrome at Roubaix and keen to devise a race that started in Paris and ended at their velodrome they contacted the sports paper Le Velo and pitched the idea of the race to the paper's director. Amazingly they presented their race as the perfect training ride for the well established and mammoth one-day race – Bordeaux – Paris (now defunct). Le Velo's director liked the idea, pledged the paper's support and the Queen of the Classics was born.

The inaugural race attracted riders from far and wide including a couple of names that will be familiar to all cycle racing fans. Henri Desgrange, the creator of the Tour de France and Maurice Garin, winner of that very first Grand Boucle, both contested the first ever Paris – Roubaix, albeit with differing fortunes. Desgrange abandoned, whilst Garin finished third and would go on to win the race a year later. That inaugural edition in 1896 was claimed Josef Fischer from Germany.

Over the years the race has become a battleground for French and Belgian riders, with the two countries boasting 83 wins between them. The race has only ever been interrupted by the two world wars, meaning that the 2011 edition will be the 109th running of the race.

A who's who of Cycling.
The list of former winners of Paris – Roubaix reads like a who's who of professional bike racing. Roger De Vlaeminck is the record winner, with four wins. Other winners include the afore mentioned Maurice Garin, Fausto Coppi, Rik Van Looy, Louison Bobet, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault. The race however, is not universally loved, even by those who have triumphed in it. On winning the race in 1981, after falling innumerable times, Frenchman and five time Tour de France champion Bernard Hinault declared that, “Paris-Roubaix est une connerie.” (Paris-Roubaix is bulls**t) before vowing never to ride it again (a vow that in the event he wouldn't keep).

Last year's race was won by Fabian Cancellara, then of Saxo Bank. The Swiss rider simply rode away from his rivals with imperious ease, with some 50km still to go. He rode into the famous Velodrome alone, completing a famous double (Cancellara had won the Tour of Flanders the previous week). It was his second win in the race, his first being in 2006.

2011 Race Parcours


Paris-Roubaix

Despite its name, the modern-day start line for Paris-Roubaix is actually 80 kilometres north of Paris, in the French city of Compiègne. The route takes the riders northwards for 258 kilometres to the French / Belgian border and the velodrome in the city of Roubaix. Whilst the early part of the race will see the riders jostling for position, it is the second section of the race where the real fun begins as the peloton hit the first of the 27 sections of pavé that feature in the run in to Roubaix.

The sections of pavé are highly strategic areas of the race, incredibly tough to ride over and narrow, they cause tailbacks and bottlenecks. Two of the most famous sections are also the toughest. The Trouée d’Arenberg comes after 172kms of racing and is ranked as 5/5 for difficulty. At 2.4km long it is one of the longer stretches of cobblestones in the race and has become probably the most symbolic stretch in the entire race. Coming relatively early in the race as it does, it is not necessarily decisive; you can't win the race here, but you sure can lose it. A selection is often made meaning the favourites have to be at the front as the race hits this infamous stretch.


A close up of the cobbles at Arenberg
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Once through Arenberg the riders then face another 15 sections of pavé, 4 of which, Mons-en-Pévèle (km 209 - 3000m), Cysoing - Bourghelles (km 231 - 1300m), Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 238 - 1800m) and Le Carrefour de l’Arbre (km 241 - 2100 m), are ranked 4/5 or more for difficulty.

Le Carrefour de l’Arbre, coming a mere 17 kilometres from the end of the race, is probably the most important stretch and features several tight corners. It is categorised as being of the toughest severity (5/5) and lasts for over two kilometres. The winner will almost certainly come from the leading group at this section of pavé.

.

From Le Carrefour de l’Arbre the riders face three more cobblestoned sections, although none ranked higher than 2/5 in difficulty before they enter the velodrome at Roubaix. If a solo escape has succeeded then the brave rider can enjoy his laps of the famous arena, enjoying the affections of the raucous crowd. If two or more riders enter together then it will be a nervous sprint for the line. Then it will be the rider with the most steely resolve, the deepest well of courage , the greatest reserves of strength that will prevail in this, possibly cycling's toughest challenge. Their reward? A shower in the velodrome's famous, antiquated locker-room, a trophy of a polished cobblestone and a place among cycling's true greats.

The 2010 Podium: Thor Hushovd, Fabian Cancellara and Juan Antonio Flecha
Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Summary of Stretches of pavé 27. Troisvilles (km 98 - 2200 m) +++
26. Viesly (km 104,5 - 1800 m) +++
25. Quievy (km 107 - 3700 m) ++++
24. Saint-Python (km 115,5 - 1500 m) ++
23. Vertain (km 119,5 - 2300 m) +++
22. Capelle-sur-Ecaillon - Le Buat (km 126,5 - 1700 m) +++
21. Aulnoy-lez-Valenciennes - Famars (km 142,5 - 2600 m) +++++
20. Famars - Quérénaing (km 146 - 1200 m) ++
19. Quérénaing - Maing (km 149 - 2500 m) +++
18. Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (km 152 - 1600 m) +++
17. Haveluy (km 164 - 2500 m) ++++
16. Trouée d’Arenberg (km 172 - 2400 m) +++++
15. Millonfosse - Bousiginies (km 178,5 - 1400 m) +++
14. Brillon à Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes (km 183,5 - 1100 m) ++
Tilloy - Sars-et-Rosières (km 186 - 2400 m) +++
13. Beuvry-la-Forêt - Orchies (km 192,5 - 1400m) +++
12. Orchies (km 197,5 - 1700 m) +++
11. Auchy-lez-Orchies - Bersée (km 203,5 - 2600 m) +++
10. Mons-en-Pévèle (km 209 - 3000 m) +++++
9. Mérignies - Avelin (km 215 - 700 m) ++
8. Pont-Thibaut (km 218,5 - 1400 m) +++
7. Templeuve l’Epinette (km 224 - 200 m) +
Le Moulin de Vertain (km 224,5 - 500 m) ++
6. Cysoing - Bourghelles (km 231 - 1300 m) ++++
Bourghelles - Wannehain (km 233,5 - 1100 m) +++
5. Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 238 - 1800 m) ++++
4. Le Carrefour de l’Arbre (km 241 - 2100 m) +++++
3. Gruson (km 243 - 1100 m) ++
2. Hem (km 250 - 1400 m) ++
1. Roubaix (km 258 - 300 m) +

+ denotes difficulty

Race Favourites

Fabian Cancellara
Leopard Trek's strongman is the bookies favourite despite being upset by Saxo Bank-Sungard's Nick Nuyens in last week's Ronde, where he finished third. Cancellara also narrowly missed out on the opening monument of the season, Milan - San Remo, where he finished second. The Swiss rider will be desperate to get on the top step of a podium in a monument this year, and this race is best chance of doing so. He will be incredibly motivated and will be going for his third win in the Queen of the Classics to bring him level with his great rival Tom Boonen's record in this race.

Fabian Cancellara claiming victory in last year's Paris - Roubaix
Photo © 2010Foto Sirotti

Tom Boonen
Second favourite with the bookies, Tom Boonen, is going for his fourth win in Paris-Roubaix (to tie with Roger de Vlaeminck). Boonen's had a good few weeks, winning Gent-Wevelgem and coming fourth in Flanders. Fifth last year, the Quick Step rider will be looking to get on the podium at the very least.

2009 winner Tom Boonen on his way to victory
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Thor Hushovd
Garmin-Cervelo have a very strong classics line up, boasting both the world champion Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler as well as Tyler Farrar and Roger Hammond (3rd in this race in 2004). Hushovd will be the team's main man though and has the pedigree to win this race, finishing second last year and third in 2009. The Norwegian though has had a quiet start to his year wearing the rainbow jersey. Maybe he's just been keeping his powder dry. There's no doubt this is one race he would love to have the on his palmares.

Juan-Antonio Flecha
Third in 2010 and 2005, second in 2007, Team Sky's classics leader has occupied every position on the Paris-Roubaix podium but the one that really matters. Flecha finished 11th in last week's Ronde and will be hoping to build on that performance in Roubaix. The Spaniard though has never won a major classic, something of an anomoly for a rider of his class.

Matthew Goss
The HTC-Highroad man has had a fantastic 2011 so far with 5 wins in the bag including Milan-San Remo. The Australian abandoned last week's Ronde but is still the number ranked rider according to the UCI and so could still feature prominently.

Sylvain Chavanel
Boonen's team-mate, Sylvain Chavanel, had a great Flanders, finishing second, which is the main reason he's on this list. The bookies fancy his chances and he came eighth here in 2009 so certainly has the potential to record a top five finish.

Other names to watch for include, Sky's Geraint Thomas who has had a great season so far, BMC's Alessandro Ballan and Katusha's Filippo Pozzato.

Provisional starting list.

(*) Substitute

TEAM LEOPARD-TREK (LEO) - Sporting Manager : SCHMIDT Torsten
001 CANCELLARA Fabian
002 KLEMME Dominic
003 MORTENSEN Martin
004 NIZZOLO Giacomo
005 O’GRADY Stuart
006 POSTHUMA Joost
007 STAMSNIJDER Tom
008 WEYLANDT Wouter
* 009 CLARKE William
* 010 VIGANO Davide

TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO (GRM) - Sporting Manager : VAUGHTERS Jonathan
011 HUSHOVD Thor
012 FARRAR Tyler
013 HAMMOND Roger
014 HAUSSLER Heinrich
015 KLIER Andreas
016 LANCASTER Brett Daniel
017 RASCH Gabriel
018 VANMARCKE Sep
* 019 VAN SUMMEREN Johan
* 020 WILSON Mat

SKY PROCYCLING (SKY) - Sporting Manager : DE JONGH Steven
021 FLECHA GIANNONI Juan Antonio
022 ARVESEN Kurt-Asle
023 BARRY Michaël
024 HAYMAN Mathew
025 HUNT Jérémy
026 STANNARD Ian
027 THOMAS Geraint
028 WIGGINS Bradley * 029 HENDERSON Gregory
* 030 SWIFT Ben

HTC - HIGHROAD (THR) - Sporting Manager : PEIPER Allan
031 GOSS Matthew Harley
032 BAK Lars
033 BRAMMEIER Matt
034 CAVENDISH Mark
035 DEGENKOLB John
036 EISEL Bernhard
037 RASMUSSEN Alex
038 SMUKULIS Gatis
* 039 GHYSELINCK Jan
* 040 VELITS Martin

QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM (QST) - Sporting Manager : PEETERS Wilfried
041 BOONEN Tom
042 BANDIERA Marco
043 CHAVANEL Sylvain
044 CIOLEK Gerald
045 STAUFF Andreas
046 STEEGMANS Gert
047 VAN IMPE Kévin
048 VAN KEIRSBULCK GUILLAUME
* 049 DEVENYNS Dries
* 050 ROBERT Fréderique

OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO (OLO) - Sporting Manager : FRISON Herman
051 GREIPEL André
052 DEBUSSCHERE Jens
053 HANSEN Adam
054 LANG Sebastian
055 NEYENS Maarten
056 REYNES MIMO Vicente
057 ROELANDTS Jurgen
058 SIEBERG Marcel
* 059 BLYTH Adam
* 060 BOUCHER David

BMC RACING TEAM (BMC) - Sporting Manager : LELANGUE John
061 BALLAN Alessandro
062 BURGHARDT Marcus
063 HINCAPIE George
064 KRISTOFF Alexander
065 QUINZIATO Manuel
066 SCHÄR Michael
067 WYSS Danilo
068 ZAHNER Simon
* 069 BARTON Chris
* 070 MURPHY John

KATUSHA TEAM (KAT) - Sporting Manager : PARSANI Serge
071 POZZATO Filippo
072 GUSEV Vladimir
073 HOSTE Leif
074 IGNATYEV Mikhail
075 IVANOV Serguei
076 KUCHYNSKI Aliaksandr
077 PAOLINI Luca
078 TRUSOV Nikolay
* 079 ISAICHEV Vladimir
* 080 VANTOMME Maxime

AG2R LA MONDIALE (ALM) - Sporting Manager : LAVENU Vincent
081 HINAULT Sébastien
082 ELMIGER Martin
083 GODDAERT Kristof
084 HOUANARD Steve
085 LEMARCHAND Romain
086 MINARD Sébastien
087 MONDORY Lloyd
088 RAVARD Anthony
* 089 BERARD Julien
* 090 KRIVTSOV Yuriy

VACANSOLEIL-DCM (VCD) - Sporting Manager : VAN DER SCHUEREN Hilaire
091 LEUKEMANS Bjorn
092 DE GENDT Thomas
093 DEVOLDER Stijn
094 GARDEYN Gorik
095 MOL Wouter
096 MOURIS Jens
097 SELVAGGI Mirko
098 VEUCHELEN Frederik
* 099 BOZIC Borut
* 100 PAVARIN Marcello

SAUR-SOJASUN (SAU) - Sporting Manager : HEULOT Stéphane
101 COYOT Arnaud
102 CASPER Jimmy
103 ENGOULVENT Jimmy
104 LEMOINE Cyril
105 MARTIAS Rony
106 MATHEOU Romain
107 PAIANI Jean Lou
108 POULHIES Stéphane
* 109 LABORIE Christophe

RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM (RAB) - Sporting Manager : VERHOEVEN Nico
111 BOOM Lars
112 BOS Théo
113 FLENS Rick
114 LANGEVELD Sebastian
115 LEEZER Tom
116 TJALLINGII Maarten
117 VAN EMDEN Jos
118 WYNANTS Maarten
* 119 BROWN Graeme
* 120 VERMELTFOORT Coen

FDJ (FDJ) - Sporting Manager : MADIOT Marc
121 GUESDON Frédéric
122 BONNAIRE Olivier
123 BONNET William
124 CHAINEL Steve
125 DELAGE Mickaël
126 HUTAROVICH Yauheni
127 LADAGNOUS Matthieu
128 ROLLIN Dominique
* 129 OFFREDO Yoann

SKIL-SHIMANO (SKS) - Sporting Manager : KEMNA Rudi
131 VEELERS Tom
132 CURVERS Roy
133 DE BACKER Bert
134 DE KORT Koen
135 DOCKER Mitchell
136 KITTEL Marcel
137 KLUGE Roger
138 REIMER Martin
* 139 CHAIGNEAU Robin
* 140 VAN ZANDBEEK Ronan

LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE (LIQ) - Sporting Manager : ZANATTA Stefano
141 SAGAN Peter
142 BODNAR Maciej
143 CIMOLAI Davide
144 GUARNIERI Jacopo
145 KING Edward
146 KOREN Kristjan
147 MARANGONI Alan
148 OSS Daniel
* 149 LONGO BORGHINI Paolo
* 150 VIVIANI Elia

COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE (COF) - Sporting Manager : DELOEUIL Alain
151 KEUKELEIRE Jens
152 DUQUE Leonardo
153 ISTA Kevin
154 LABBE Arnaud
155 PETIT Adrien
156 SARAMOTINS Aleksejs
157 SIJMENS Nico
158 ZINGLE Romain
* 159 VALENTIN Tristan

LAMPRE - ISD (LAM) - Sporting Manager : BONTEMPI Fabrizio
161 BUTS Vitaliy
162 HONDO Danilo
163 KONDRUT Vitaliy
164 KRIVTSOV Dmytro
165 MALORI Adriano
166 RIGHI Daniele
167 SPILAK Simon
168 SZEGHALMI Balint
* 169 BALLONI Alfredo
* 170 BOLE Grega

SAXO BANK SUNGARD (SBS) - Sporting Manager : HOFFMAN Tristan
171 COOKE Baden
172 JORGENSEN Jonas
173 KLOSTERGAARD-LARSEN Kasper
174 LARSSON Gustav
175 MARYCZ Jaroslaw
176 MORKOV Michael
177 ROBERTS Luke
178 TOSATTO Matteo
* 179 HAEDO Juan Jose
* 180 TANNER David

TEAM RADIOSHACK (RSH) - Sporting Manager : GALLOPIN Alain
181 MC EWEN Robbie
182 BEPPU Fumiyuki
183 KING Benjamin
184 OLIVEIRA Nelson
185 RAST Gregory
186 ROSSELER Sébastien
187 SELANDER Bjorn
188 SERGENT Jesse
* 189 BEWLEY Sam
* 190 LEQUATRE Geoffroy

TEAM EUROPCAR (EUC) - Sporting Manager : ARNOULD Dominique
191 PICHOT Alexandre
192 CHAVANEL Sébastien
193 CLAUDE Mathieu
194 GAUDIN Damien
195 GENE Yohann
196 HADDOU Saïd
197 TURGOT Sébastien
198 VEILLEUX David
* 199 BERNAUDEAU Giovanni
* 200 COUSIN Jérome

MOVISTAR TEAM (MOV) - Sporting Manager : LEDANOIS Yvon
201 AMADOR Andrey
202 ERVITI Imanol
203 GUTIERREZ José Ivan
204 KONOVALOVAS Ignatas
205 OYARZUN Carlos
206 PASAMONTES Luis
207 PEREZ SANCHEZ Francisco
208 ROJAS Jose Joaquin

PRO TEAM ASTANA (AST) - Sporting Manager : LAPAGE Laurenzo
211 DAVIS Allan
212 CLARKE Simon
213 GOUROV Maxim
214 IGLINSKIY Valentin
215 KANGERT Tanel
216 LORENZETTO Mirco
217 STANGELJ Gorazd
218 VAITKUS Tomas
* 219 GASPAROTTO Enrico
* 220 IGLINSKIY Maxim

EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI (EUS) - Sporting Manager : GONZALEZ GALDEANO Alvaro
221 ARAMENDIA Javier
222 CASTROVIEJO NICOLAS Jonathan
223 CAZAUX Pierre
224 IZAGIRRE INSAUSTI Gorka
225 IZAGIRRE INSAUSTI Jon
226 MINGUEZ Miguel
227 PEREZ LEZAUN Alan
228 SESMA Daniel

TEAM NETAPP (APP) - Sporting Manager : HEPPNER Jens
231 BAER Michael
232 BARTA Jan
233 BAUMANN Eric
234 COZZA Steven
235 GOTTFRIED Alexander
236 RETSCHKE Robert
237 SCHILLINGER Andreas
238 SEUBERT Timon
* 239 SCHWARZMANN Michael

BRETAGNE - SCHULLER (BSC) - Sporting Manager : HUBERT Emmanuel
241 LE BON Johan
242 BONSERGENT Stephane
243 DELPECH Jean Luc
244 DION Renaud
245 DURET Sebastien
246 HALLEGUEN Mathieu
247 MALACARNE Gaël
248 VACHON Florian
* 249 CALZATI Sylvain
* 250 HARDY Romain


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