Schlagwort-Archive: Paris-Roubaix

Paris-Roubaix 2021 team selection

The organisers of Paris-Roubaix have chosen the teams for the first edition, Sunday, April 11th.
In accordance with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) regulations, the nine UCI Women’s WorldTeams automatically entered are:

Alé BTC Ljubljana (Ita)
Canyon / /SRAM Racing (Ger)
FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope (Fra)
Liv Racing (Ned)
Movistar Team Women (Esp)
Team BikeExchange (Aus)
Team DSM (Ger)
Team SD Worx (Ned)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)

Furthermore, the six following UCI Women’s Continental teams will participate by right in Paris-Roubaix Femmes:

A.R. Monex Women’s Pro Cycling Team (Ita)
Ceratizit – WTN Pro Cycling Team (Ger)
Lotto Soudal Ladies (Bel)
Parkhotel Valkenburg (Ned)
Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank (Usa)
Valcar – Travel & Service (Ita)

The organisers have invited the following teams:

Arkéa Pro Cycling Team (Fra)
Ciclismo Mundial (Bel)
Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team (Rus)
Doltcini – Van Eyck Sport – Proximus Continental Team (Bel)
Drops – Le Col supported by Tempur (Gbr)
Hitec Products (Nor)
Jumbo – Visma Women Team (Ned)
NXTG Racing (Ned)
Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime Women Cycling (Fra)


The organisers of Paris-Roubaix have chosen the teams for the 118th edition, Sunday, April 11th.
In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rules, the nineteen UCI WorldTeams are invited:

AG2R Citroën Team (Fra)
Astana – Premier Tech (Kaz)
Bahrain Victorious (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
Cofidis (Fra)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
EF Education – NIPPO (Usa)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
Ineos Grenadiers (Gbr)
Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux (Bel)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Jumbo – Visma (Ned)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Team BikeExchange (Aus)
Team DSM (Ger)
Team Qhubeka Assos (Rsa)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)
UAE Team Emirates (Uae)

Furthermore, the two highest ranked UCI ProTeams in 2020, Alpecin – Fenix (Bel) and Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra), will participate by right in Paris-Roubaix.

The organisers have invited the following teams:

B&B Hotels p/b KTM (Fra)
Bingoal WB (Bel)
Delko (Fra)
Total Direct Energie (Fra)


More information about Paris-Roubaix Femmes on
More information about Paris-Rouaix on

No Paris-Roubaix 2020

At the request of the Préfet du Nord, Préfet des Hauts de France and following the Health Minister Olivier Véran’s announcement yesterday, that placed the Lille Metropolitan area on maximum alert, the 118th edition of Paris-Roubaix (UCI WorldTour) and the 1st edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes (UCI Women’s WorldTour), originally scheduled to take place on the 25th October, will not be organised.
Paris-Roubaix, an incredibly popular event and one that is met with great enthusiasm every year, had already been postponed from its original 12th of April date following the containment measures put in place in spring to fight against the spread of COVID-19.
We would like to warmly thank the communities and event partners who supported us in this postponement as well as those who were, like us, delighted to see the Queen of the Classics even in the autumn.
We will see you on the cobblestones on the 11th April 2021 to celebrate one of the greatest monuments in world cycling.



Key points:
 The inaugural edition of the Women’s Paris–Roubaix will be held ahead of the men’s race on Sunday 25 October. The peloton will roll out from Denain at 9:10 am and tackle a 116 km course featuring 29,2 kilometres of cobblestones divided in 17 sectors.
 A provisional live broadcast of the Paris Roubaix Femmes on both general interest channels with large audiences and on sports-dedicated channels in almost 130 territories on 5 continents.
 24 teams representing the world cycling elite have been invited to be part of this momentous event.

Their time has come. The world’s top female cyclists have long watched their male counterparts do battle and get rattled on the cobbled sectors of Paris–Roubaix with a mix of jealousy and awe. Now, their first foray into the Hell of the North is approaching fast. The town of Denain, in the Nord department, will host the start of the race. The „fun“ starts after 20-odd kilometres, especially when the riders get to Hornaing, where the courses of the two races converge. At that point, 86 kilometres and two sectors with the maximum difficulty rating will stand between them and glory: Mons-en-Pévèle and the Carrefour de l’Arbre, which have witnessed numerous make-or-break moments for cobble-gobblers over the generations. This year, the ladies will also know how it feels to go head to head on such hellish terrain, which only makes the entrance to Roubaix Velodrome that much sweeter.

Committed Partners
Already a major partner in men’s racing, the Hauts-de-France region is, with its newest collaboration, showing how strongly committed it is to cycling, the cobbles and to the „Reine des Classiques“.
FDJ, who have just renewed their partnership with the „La Course By Le Tour de France avec FDJ“, reinforce their presence in women’s cycling by becoming the official partner of the new race. This partnership has been created as a part of the „Sport pour elles“ program, launched by FDJ in 2016. FDJ-Nouvelle-Aquitaine-Futuroscope cycling team of which it is the major partner will be at the start of this first Paris-Roubaix women.
Amaury Sport Organisation is glad to be able to count on all of the partners of the men’s event for their growing support for the first edition of Paris-Roubaix Women.

Teams selection
In accordance with the Union Cycliste International’s regulations, the eight women’s UCI World Teams automatically entered are:


As well as the eight teams already selected, the organisers have extended invitations to the following fifteen teams:



Key points:
 For the 118th edition, which will start in Compiègne on Sunday 12th April at 11:00, the route will measure 259 kilometres, with 55 kilometres of cobbles split into 30 different cobbled sectors (compared with 54.5 km and 29 sections in 2019).
 The modifications made this year will see the race return to several rural roads it has occasionally visited in the past and which could spice up the initial battles on the cobbles, with a comeback for the upward sloped sector at the hamlet of Buat.

The first perfectly tarmacked one hundred kilometres of Paris-Roubaix always fulfil the role of wearing the riders down. They weigh down on the legs of both the domestics and leaders, especially those who have forgotten that on leaving Compiègne, the plains of Picardy are never totally flat. However, the handlebars will really start shaking at Troisvilles with the entrance to the first cobbled sector, which will be numbered 30 and, unlike last year, will be covered by the race for the entirety of its 2.2 km. The riders with the least luck will have already suffered a puncture or two before reaching the cobbled sector at Vertain (No. 25), which regulars to the race have often ridden, though never upwards, a direction that has earned it four-star status in the classification of how difficult each cobbled sector is.
The agitated crossing of the Cambrésis and South Valenciennes areas will also reacquaint the riders with the section at the hamlet of Buat (No. 24), first ridden in 2005 and not visited since 2016. When they leave this cobbled lane that winds upwards for more than a kilometre, they will have thirty kilometres to prepare themselves for the challenge of the Trouée Arenberg (after 160 km), where there is often a radical cull among the riders, just like on the other five-star classed sectors of Mons-en-Pévèle (209.5 km) and the Carrefour de l’Arbre (240.5 km). Among the favourites still in the reckoning after this formidable sequence, perhaps John Degenkolb will find extra motivation on the section of Hornaing in Wandignies (No. 17, after 175.5 km). The second German winner of the Queen of the Classics, after Joseph Fischer in the inaugural edition in 1896, was visiting this morning, invited by the Friends of Paris-Roubaix for the inauguration of a plaque bearing his name. Perhaps it might bring him good luck…

Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer
Paris-Roubaix Challenge – Saturday, April, 11th
24 hours before the elite race, some 7,000 amateur riders will measure themselves on this legendary spring classic and its fabled cobblestone sectors. Three distances are on offer to cyclists, in order to accommodate all the preparation levels: 70, 145 and 172 kms. Every rider will find an appropriate legend.
Information and registration on et
Paris-Roubaix Challenge in figures:
• 11th edition of Paris-Roubaix Challenge
• 7,000 participants
• 3 routes of 70 km, 145 km and 172 km
• 67 nationalities at the start

Teams selected for 2020 Paris-Roubaix

The organisers of Paris-Roubaix have chosen the teams for the 118th edition of the “reine des classiques” (Sunday, April 12nd).
In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the nineteen UCI WorldTeams are invited:

AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
Bahrain – McLaren (Brn)
Bora – Hansgrohe (Ger)
CCC Team (Pol)
Cofidis (Fra)
Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
EF Pro Cycling (Usa)
Groupama – FDJ (Fra)
Israel Start-Up Nation (Isr)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Mitchelton – Scott (Aus)
Movistar Team (Esp)
NTT Pro Cycling Team (Rsa)
Team Ineos (Gbr)
Team Jumbo – Visma (Ned)
Team Sunweb (Ger)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)
UAE Team Emirates (Uae)

Furthermore, the first two teams according to the 2019 UCI ProTeams ranking, Total Direct Energie (Fra) and Circus – Wanty Gobert (Bel), will participate by right to Paris-Roubaix.
The organisers have invited the following teams:

Alpecin – Fenix (Bel)
B&B Hôtels – Vital Concept (Fra)
Nippo Delko Provence (Fra)
Team Arkéa – Samsic (Fra)


Titelverteidiger Sagan holt Rang fünf bei unglaublich hartem Paris – Roubaix

Pünktlich um 11 Uhr erfolgte heute der Start zu Paris – Roubaix 2019 in Compiègne. Mit 29 Sektoren warteten auch in diesem Jahr fast 55 km Kopfsteinpflaster auf das Fahrerfeld bei der Hölle des Nordens. Während die ersten 96 Kilometer durchwegs auf asphaltierten Straßen führten, folgte im zweiten Streckenteil des Rennens Sektor auf Sektor, bevor auf der Radrennbahn in Roubaix traditionell über den Sieg entschieden wird. Wie in den letzten Jahren entbrannte von Beginn an ein harter Kampf um die Spitzengruppe. Da bei Paris – Roubaix durchaus eine Chance besteht, dass es Fahrer einer frühen Gruppe bis ins Ziel schaffen, wollten alle großen Teams entsprechend in der Gruppe platziert sein. Dadurch neutralisierte sich die Rennsituation an der Spitze immer wieder und es dauerte mehr als 50 Kilometer, bevor sich drei Fahrer absetzen konnten. Das Feld ließ aber nicht locker und 20 km später war das Peloton wieder geschlossen. Rund 15 km vor dem ersten Kopfsteinpflaster Sektor des Tages konnte sich letztlich doch noch eine Gruppe lösen, gefolgt von einer ersten Verfolgergruppe in der auch Maciej Bodnar von BORA – hansgrohe vertreten war. Das Feld erreichte den ersten Sektor rund 40 Sekunden hinter der Spitze des Rennens. Die Gruppen vorne liefen wenig später zusammen, doch auch weiterhin blieb das Tempo enorm hoch. Nach den ersten drei Sektoren waren die Ausreißer wieder gestellt und einige Stürze dezimierten nun das Feld. Auch Peter Sagan wurde etwa 120 km vor dem Ziel hinter einem Sturz aufgehalten. Wenig später ging Daniel Oss zu Boden, der das Rennen leider aufgeben musste. Nachdem das Feld zwischenzeitlich in zwei Teile zerbrochen war, sorgte BORA – hansgrohe dafür, dass Peter Sagan wieder zur ersten Gruppe aufschließen konnte. Etwa 65 Kilometer vor dem Ziel setzten sich dann P. Gilbert, N. Politt und Rudi Selig (BORA – hansgrohe) ab. Zehn Kilometer später attackierte der Titelverteidiger, während an der Spitze Rudi Selig zurückfiel. Im Sektor 11, dem berühmten Mons-en-Pévèle, fanden sechs Fahrer an der Spitze zusammen, darunter Peter Sagan, die nun schnell rund eine Minute Vorsprung herausfahren konnten. Sagan machte einen guten Eindruck und konterte die ersten Attacken in der Spitzengruppe souverän, doch im Carrefour de l’Arbre konnte er Politt und Gilbert nicht mehr folgen. Während das Spitzenduo mit 30 Sekunden Vorsprung auf das Velodrom einbog, kämpfte Sagan am Ende um Rang vier oder fünf. Doch der Vorjahressieger war am Ende seiner Kräfte und musste sich beim Sieg von P. Gilbert mit Rang fünf zufriedengeben. Dennoch macht es den Eindruck, als ob der Aufwärtstrend bei Peter weiter anhält.
01 P. Gilbert 5:58:02
02 N. Politt +0:00
03 Y. Lampaert +0:13
05 P. Sagan +0:42

Reaktionen im Ziel
„Es war ein hartes Paris – Roubaix, und der Gegenwind machte das Rennen noch härter. Das Team hat wieder einen super Job gemacht, wir hatten ein paar Stürze, aber dennoch waren wir in der Entscheidung vorne dabei. Bis zum Carrefour de l’Arbre war alles ok, aber dann hatte ich einfach nicht mehr die Beine, um um das Podium mitzukämpfen.“ – Peter Sagan

„Wir sind heute ein gutes Rennen gefahren. Dass wir Daniel früh verloren haben, war natürlich sehr schade, aber der Rest der Mannschaft war heute stark. Wir mussten dann etwas früher reagieren, als wir eigentlich wollten, und auch Peter hat etwas früher attackiert als geplant. Er hat zuerst einen guten Eindruck gemacht, aber am Ende war er total leer und konnte leider nicht mehr um den Sieg kämpfen. Dennoch war es ein gutes Rennen von uns, und das Ergebnis war wohl das Maximum heute.“ – Enrico Poitschke, sportlicher Leiter

Paris-Roubaix. Nils Politt takes spectacular 2nd place in Roubaix

Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer

1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 5:58:02
2 Nils Politt (Ger) Team Katusha-Alpecin
3 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:13
4 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First 0:00:40
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:42
6 Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:47
7 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
8 Zdenek Štybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep
9 Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence
10 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First
11 Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
12 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team
13 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
14 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:24
15 Adrien Petit (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:01:25
16 Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha-Alpecin 0:01:36

Nils Politt showed pure determination and solid resolve in his race of the 117th Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, taking second place on the boards of the velodrome in Roubaix with a time of 5:58:02 to match that of winner Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step). In a straight up sprint to the finish line, Gilbert dove down to the inside of the track to take the win after almost six hours of racing in France. It was a spectacular result from Politt, 25, moving up from seventh place last year to stand on the 2019 podium in his second participation in the cycling monument.
Nils Politt: “So close, but even second in Roubaix at my age I still can’t believe it. I was feeling good from the first moment I woke up this morning. For the whole race the team did a great, great job and I think we’ve had such a good classics season. It’s unbelievable to me to get second in Roubaix.” Politt placed fifth in last week’s Tour of Flanders.
Team Director Dirk Demol, winner of 1988 Paris-Roubaix, expressed his excitement for Nils and Team KATUSHA ALPECIN after the race: “Second place in my favorite race! We were in the game the whole day. The team did a good race and a smart race. In the past weeks we’ve seen that Nils was growing toward his top form and this was the race for him we’ve been aiming for these past few months. He really didn’t make mistakes. He’s going to win some day. He has the capabilities. He is born for this type of race. The confidence he takes away from getting second in this race will have him coming back for more.”
It was a brilliant performance from Team KATUSHA ALPECIN with aggressive riding all day long. Alongside Deceuninck, KATUSHA ALPECIN were the strongest team during the race with Nils and teammate Marco Haller in the front group when the peloton splits happened after the first pavés. Haller pulled, as did Mads Würtz Schmidt while Politt took stock of his race surroundings and who was strongest in the field.
The 257k course from Compiègne to Roubaix featured 29 sectors and 54.5km of cobbles and was fast from the outset. Politt was attentive throughout, putting himself in an early breakaway group before the cobbles, and then later reading the intentions of the eventual winner with just over 60k still to go.
Politt: “I saw in the feed zone that Gilbert wanted to go, so I went with him. With Peter Sagan and his group coming back to us, I didn’t have to go so deep. At the end it was a little bit of bad luck for me that Gilbert’s teammate was coming back to us on the velodrome. Gilbert was willing to gamble a bit. But I still have some years and I hope I can one day win this race.” Rounding out the podium was Gilbert teammate Yves Lampaert at 13-seconds.
Teammate Marco Haller rode in service of Politt today, earning himself a fine 16th place finish, and expressed his great pride at the success of Nils: “The team just finished on the podium in a monument. I am so happy and proud to have been part of it. It was six hours of stress and fighting. It feels like a win, absolutely. We told Nils last night at dinner that this might be the last time he could fly under the radar, so we told him he’d better go out and take it. I think he did that. He rode such a perfect race. He’s a brilliant bike racer.”

Philippe Maertens
+32 492 22 78 96
Falk Nier
+32 492 22 78 98


The key points:
 175 riders from 25 teams saluted the crowds in Compiègne on Saturday, on the eve of the 117th edition of the Hell of the North.
 Former winners such as Peter Sagan (2018), Greg Van Avermaet (2018) and John Degenkolb (2015) eye a new victory in the iconic velodrome of Roubaix, but outsiders like Alexander Kristoff feel ready for the challenge.

Things can change very fast in the North. Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) won the last two editions of Paris-Roubaix as outright favourites. But the former World champion and the Olympic champion haven’t been able to score this year in the classics and rivals challenge their dominance. Still, “I’ve had a good race in Flanders (10th) and I’m very motivated to do well and have a good result in Roubaix”, Greg Van Avermaet said on Saturday. “In Flanders, it was tight racing and it was hard to create differences. Roubaix is a different race, very hard, and with wind I hope there will be opportunities to split the peloton. Many riders can win, we could see an outsider, but I think the biggest favorites are Van Aert, Stybar and Sagan.” The Slovak national champion appeared relaxed in Compiègne: “I’m used to being the reigning champion on many races, that doesn’t change much. I’m not worried about my condition. Every year is different, sometimes you’re in a very good shape and you don’t win. It’s such a special race, everything can happen. Three timesI came here feeling very strong and still I didn’t win because something happened. I’ll just try to enjoy myself.”

With a very open race, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) was among the most sought-after favorites on the eve of Paris-Roubaix. “I hope to be up there, fighting for the win”, the Norwegian said. “Actually, I’ve never had a really strong Paris-Roubaix. I’ve been 9th (2013) or 10th (2015). I hope to improve that and to fight for the win, that would be a dream.” Coming off his victory in Gent-Wevelgem and a podium finish on the Tour of Flanders, Kristoff hopes for a favourable scenario: “For me, the bigger the group, the better. For sure, nobody wants to have me with them in the finale but I don’t think they’ll focus on me. There are many strong guys who can make an impact in the finale. I can have a good sprint but there are so many cobble sections before that, we’ll have to see how it goes.”

“It’s never easy to plan things ahead of Roubaix, but I think I’m ready”, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) says ahead of a very special race for him. The German champion won the Hell of the North in 2015 and dominated the 2018 Tour de France stage finishing in Roubaix, a victory many interpreted as his resurrection after years of misfortunes. “It was a very important victory”, Degenkolb reflected on Saturday. “I worked so hard for that result and it gave me a lot of confidence. It helps to stay calm and to focus on the important things. It’s always hard to predict Roubaix, anything can happen. You have to be up there and to save energy but you can’t be scared to invest energy in the right moments. Many times the right moves go from far away. Between 50 and 30 km to go, it’s crucial to be up there, around where Sagan attacked last year and up to the Carrefour de l’Arbre.”

Riders from Direct Énergie and their manager Jean-René Bernaudeau enjoyed the team presentation to display their new kit as Total Direct Énergie becomes their title sponsor and brings new colours for the team. “It’s a jersey that gives us a lot of motivation, and it could be the extra bit of motivation that helps us make a historic feat”, Bernaudeau said in Compiègne. Without the former Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra, recovering from his crash in Flanders, the French team relies on different riders with a knack for cobbles. “It’s the race I dream of”, Damien Gaudin (5th in 2013) says. “I’ve had good results here and I’m in even better conditions. The team has never had such a good classics campaign, and Niki did bring us a lot.” Among the blue jerseys, Adrien Petit also has strong references in Roubaix (10th in 2016, 9th in 2017) and feels good after finishing 6th in Gent-Wevelgem: “It’s the biggest race of my season. I’ve had a nice classics campaign and I have the abilities to go for a big result.”

The association “Les Amis de Paris-Roubaix” has launched a crowdfunding operation for the public to help them “save the Trouée d’Arenberg”, the iconic cobblestone sector that has done so much for the fame of the Hell of the North. “The 2300 meters of the most mythical cobblestoned sector of Paris-Roubaix suffer from excessive grass that worsens year after year”, the association says as they set a goal of 15,000 €. They already participated in important works on the Trouée ahead of this edition, with the support of local governments, to prevent the sector from being too dangerous in case of rain. It shouldn’t happen this Sunday, with sunny conditions expected and temperatures between 3 and 9ºC. Riders also anticipate headwinds. John Degenkolb, who won in Roubaix in the 2015 edition of the Hell of the North and on the 2018 Tour de France, is the ambassador of the association.

The 9th edition of the Paris-Roubaix Challenge, organised on the eve of the famous classic, saw a massive peloton of 6,839 cyclists riding on three different routes (70, 145 and 172km) all taking on the sectors of the Carrefour de l’Arbre and the Trouée d’Arenberg. 67 different nationalities were represented (23% of Frenchmen, 21% of British riders, and 17% from Belgium). Among them, three riders of Paris-Roubaix were coming back on the cobbles that crowned them: Andreï Tchmil (1994), Andrea Tafi (1999) and Stuart O’Grady (2007).


Paris-Roubaix: Oliver Naesen: „It’s hard not to feel confident when I’m riding at this level“

Alexander Kristoff und Oliver Naesen 2 heiße Favoriten für Paris-Roubaix am Podium bei Eschborn-FRA 2018.
Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer
Oliver Naesen is ceasing to be a dark horse and becoming a full-fledged favourite. After finishing second to Julian Alaphilippe in Milan–San Remo, Oliver Naesen has put on a good showing in the cobbled classics, coming third in Gent–Wevelgem and overcoming a bout of bronchitis to finish seventh in last Sunday’s Tour of Flanders. Buoyed by the prospect of a race more open than in previous years, the AG2R La Mondiale leader is heading into his fifth Paris–Roubaix full of ambition and confidence.

Have you managed to get rid of your bronchitis?
I feel much better now, my bronchi aren’t bothering me any more. I’m almost at 100% and, at any rate, it won’t be a problem for Roubaix, it’s not going to hold me back.
Looking back a few days ago, how would you rate your performance in the Tour of Flanders?
Last Sunday, I did what I could with what I had. I got a decent placing despite not being at my best. I have good reason to be happy considering the circumstances.
In 2018, you fell short of your potential with a finish in 12th place. What happened?
Last year, I was at the back with the cars all day long! I didn’t even catch a glimpse of the lead group. In general, my performances in Paris–Roubaix have been quite disappointing. However, things might be changing this year. I’d rather not get ahead of myself because everything could go completely pear-shaped again on Sunday.
How do you think you have improved since last year?
I reckon I’ve got better in every respect since last year. I’m still quite young, so I’ve matured physically and begun to reach my prime. Experience has also sharpened my tactical acumen. For example, I shouldn’t bet the farm on a sprint finish. As for confidence, it’s hard not to feel confident when I’m riding at this level.
„It’s not now or never. I’ve still got plenty of seasons ahead of me to win races“
After trouncing the opposition in previous years, Sagan and Van Avermaet seem to have come back down to earth. Do you expect a more open race?
I still see them as the two favourites. At any rate, it would be foolish to rule them out. Let’s not forget that Sagan is a three-time world champion and the winner of last year’s race, while Greg is an Olympic champion. However, it’s true that there are a lot of riders at a similar level. This could make it an even more tactical race.
Do you think this could be the year you win the major classic that is still missing from your collection?
Perhaps, but it’s not now or never. I’m still learning and getting stronger. I’m confident that I’ve still got plenty of seasons ahead of me to win races. However, it’s true that it’s never too early to keep an eye on all the young riders who are getting better or even at the same level.
Do you agree that you will enjoy the support of the best AG2R team that you have ever had on the cobblestones?
Yes, I do. Stijn Vandenbergh is as strong as he was before his crash in the Four Days of Dunkirk in 2017. Sylvan Dillier, who was second in the velodrome last year, has got even better since then. I think Paris–Roubaix is better suited to our strengths than the other cobbled classics. Teammates struggle on the climbs, whereas Paris–Roubaix is more conducive to team dynamics. Also, my teammates ended up strewn all over the place in every cobbled sector when we reconnoitred the course last year, whereas this time round I’m the one who’s suffering!

Would you rather have a wet race or a dry one?
Anyone who hopes for rain is out of his mind! Only the spectators enjoy it.



„As time goes by, good memories prevail over bad ones“
There is a turning point in every cyclist’s career. About forty riders tackle Paris–Roubaix for the first time every year. Bitter or sweet, their first taste of cobblestones will stay with them forever. From now until 14 April, four riders who made their debut in 2018 will look back on this singular rite of passage. Tanguy Turgis’s first Paris-Roubaix was also his last. A mix of joy and sadness colours his memories of what was an exceptional day on more than one count…
Just this one and we’re going home! Such was the harsh reality of what will forever remain Tanguy Turgis’s only Paris-Roubaix after his career was cut short at age 20, following a heart malformation diagnosis last October, before he had even finished his neo-pro season. Cycling has long been a way of life for the Turgis family. The elder brothers, Jimmy and Anthony, opened the road for their younger sibling, who was neither the least spirited nor the least talented of the three, especially when it came to Roubaix: „The editions I remember well are the Boonen and Cancellara years. Tom Boonen was a class act. He made me want to ride Paris-Roubaix“, remembers Tanguy, who became a cobble-gobbler himself from an early age: „I took part in the mini Paris-Roubaix for under-16 riders and then in Paris-Roubaix Juniors, where I finished third in 2016. I loved this terrain and was able to thrive on it, especially in the build-up to the race. You need to be more focused than ever: reconnoitring, selecting the right material with great attention to detail, getting new bikes. All these things put me into a serious state of mind that boosted my performance.“
As he continued his precocious and solid progression, Vital Concept’s young rider was offered a spot on the team to prepare for the classic of his dreams, even though he had expected to ride the under-23 Tour of Flanders, scheduled for the same day. With just two weeks to go until the race, there was no time to dwell on it: „I remember telling my brother that I was a bit tired and wanted to reduce my training volume to stay sharp. I loved the days before the race and spent lots of time reconnoitring the course with Bert De Backer. He’s not really the chatty type, but Paris–Roubaix brings out a completely different side of him. I learned a lot simply from watching him.“
„If I could make my heart condition go away for just one race,
I wouldn’t choose the Tour de France or any other Grand Tour…
It would be Paris–Roubaix.“
Tanguy Turgis clearly has a keen eye. Among all his memories of Roubaix, he recounts the sensations that swept over him kilometre after kilometre; the words he exchanged at the start with his brother Jimmy, who was also making his debut, but in Cofidis colours and at the age of 24; narrowly avoiding a crash in the Haveluy sector; a feeling of rising confidence as he came out of the Trouée d’Arenberg with the favourites, etc. „I knew what I was doing“, reminisces Tanguy at the rhythm of his pedal strokes. „After Pont Gibus, the course was the same as in the junior race, so I felt almost at home. I thought to myself, ‚we’re on an equal footing now, boys, you can no longer count on home advantage‘. I was on Mathew Hayman’s wheel in Mons-en-Pévèle, riding close to my limit. I clung too close to him and had a flat. Everyone says punctures are just bad luck, but I disagree. I could’ve avoided this one. Bert De Backer hasn’t had any flats in nine starts, while I’ve only had one in four races on the cobblestones. I think it’s a matter of staying clear-headed.“ A bit further down the road, right after the Carrefour de l’Arbre, the two brothers joined up and brought the hammer down in true warrior style: „We both put in some pretty big turns, just like when we used to train as young riders. We kept increasing our gap to the peloton, where riders like Tony Martin and Adrien Petit were pulling, all the way to the velodrome. It was huge.“
Tanguy and Jimmy were 42nd and 43rd on the finish line. Vital Concept’s 19-year-old fledgling became the youngest rider to finish the Hell of the North since Belgian Roger Gyselinck… who finished 73rd all the way back in 1939! For a trend-bucker like him, keeping going on an almost empty tank is nothing to laugh at: „Tony Martin finished 72nd because there came a point when he just let himself go. However, as a first-time Paris-Roubaix rider, for me there was a world of difference between finishing in 42nd or 75th place. I was there to fight until the end.“ Tanguy’s state of mind after the race, „disappointed about my puncture because I could’ve finished 30th“, speaks volumes, as did his extremely promising performance. A euphoric Jérôme Pineau, his team boss, even saw him „winning the race some day“!
However, the fateful medical tests of last autumn brought an end to his dreams of glory. Racing in Paris-Roubaix is now a thing of the past for Tanguy Turgis. The massive disappointment reinforced his passion for the race that had already stolen his heart. „Right now, I feel sad because I know I’ll never get to experience it again, but as time goes by, good memories prevail over bad ones. If I could make my heart condition go away for just one race, I wouldn’t choose the Tour de France or any other Grand Tour… It would be Paris-Roubaix.“

Paris-Roubaix: 54.5 km of cobblestones: The ratings game

Following Christian Prudhomme and Thierry Gouvenou’s reconnaissance of the course on 9 April, the organisers have rated the difficulty of the 29 cobbled sectors in the race based on their length, the unevenness of the cobbles, the overall condition of the sectors and their location. The Trouée d’Arenberg (km 164.5), Mons-en-Pévèle (km 212) and the Carrefour de l’Arbre (km 242.5) remain the only sectors with a five-star rating The shortening of the Troisvilles sector to its first 900 metres is the major change to the course for this year, while several other cobbled sectors in the first part of the race have also been altered. From this point on, when the peloton rolls into the area of Valenciennes (sector 23), the course is exactly the same as in 2018. The total distance remains the same, even though the length of the Trouée d’Arenberg was revised to 2,300 metres based on more accurate measurements. The sector where the first real selection is made remains as brutal as ever, but it has been renovated under the supervision of Les Amis de Paris–Roubaix over the last few weeks. „Having to change the course in the event of rain was becoming an increasingly likely prospect, so the Hauts-de-France region and other levels of government involved granted a subsidy to clean up the cobblestones, which had become swamped by mud and grass“, explains race director Thierry Gouvenou. „We used pressure washers to get rid of the dirt and filled the gaps with mortar to restore the first 500 metres on a descending false flat to good condition.“ Another 400 m stretch will undergo the same procedure right after the race. Moreover, a crowdfunding campaign will be launched soon to raise money for the works needed to keep the Trouée d’Arenberg on the course of Paris–Roubaix for the foreseeable future.

The 29 cobbled sectors of Paris–Roubaix
29: Troisvilles to Inchy (km 97.5 — 0.9 km) **
28: Briastre to Viesly (km 108.5 — 3 km) ****
27: Viesly to Quiévy (km 101.5 — 1.8 km) ***
26: Quiévy to Saint-Python (km 116 – 3.7 km) ****
25: Saint-Python (km 118.5 — 1.5 km) **
24: Vertain to Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon (km 127.5 — 2.3 km) ***
23: Verchain-Maugré to Quérénaing (km 136.5 — 1.6 km) ***
22: Quérénaing to Maing (km 140.5 — 2.5 km) ***
21: Maing to Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (km 142.5 — 1.6 km) ***
20: Haveluy to Wallers (km 156.5 — 2.5 km) ****
19: Trouée d’Arenberg (km 164.5 — 2.3 km) *****
18: Wallers to Hélesmes (km 170 – 1.6 km) ***
17: Hornaing to Wandignies (km 179 – 3.7 km) ****
16: Warlaing to Brillon (km 185 – 2.4 km) ***
15: Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières (km 188.5 — 2.4 km) ****
14: Beuvry to Orchies (km 194 — 1.4 km) ***
13: Orchies (km 199 — 1.7 km) ***
12: Auchy to Bersée (km 206.5 — 2.7 km) ****
11: Mons-en-Pévèle (km 212 – 3 km) *****
10: Mérignies to Avelin (km 215.5 – 0.7 km) **
9: Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin (km 220 – 1.4 km) ***
8: Templeuve — L’Épinette (km 224 – 0.2 km) *
8: Templeuve — Moulin-de-Vertain (km 225 – 0.5 km) **
7: Cysoing to Bourghelles (km 232 – 1.3 km) ***
6: Bourghelles to Wannehain (km 234.5 – 1.1 km) ***
5: Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 239.5 – 1.8 km) ****
4: Carrefour de l’Arbre (km 242.5 – 2.1 km) *****
3: Gruson (km 244 — 1.1 km) **
2: Willems to Hem (km 251 — 1.4 km) ***
1: Roubaix (km 256 — 0.3 km) *