La Trouée awaits
February 12 th 2019 - 14:15
On 14 April, the riders of the 117th edition of Paris–Roubaix will roll out of Compiègne and tackle a course of the same length (257km) and with the same amount of cobblestones (54.5km) as last year's. A few adjustments have been made to the early sectors, starting in Troisvilles (96.5km), while the Trouée d'Arenberg has been shortened by 100 metres… without touching a single cobblestone!
Cobble-gobblers are familiar with the whirring sound of their wheels on the cobblestones of Roubaix, which start to rattle their bicycles about 100km into the race, right after the village of Troisvilles. Eagle-eyed observers will realise that the first cobbled sector is a bit shorter this time round (0.9km versus 2.2km in 2018). Although the peloton will be focused on this sequence, and it may have even started the war of attrition by this time, the second sector (no. 28, from Briastre to Viesly) will provide an opportunity for the riders to honour the memory of Michael Goolaert as they ride past the stele marking the location where he suffered a cardiac arrest last year. The effort will then enter the Cambrésis region, heading due east so that the peloton tackles the Quiévy (no. 26), Saint-Python (no. 25) and Vertain (no. 24) in the opposite direction compared to 2018. The Vertain sector is back in the race for the first time since 2017.
From the moment the riders enter the Valenciennes area (sector no. 23), the course of the Queen of Classics remains unchanged all the way to Roubaix Velodrome. However, the official map is not exactly the same. More accurate measurements taken during reconnoitring shortened the Trouée d'Arenberg (no. 19) from 2,400 to 2,300 metres… without touching a single cobblestone! The first five-star sector, where the fight between the pretenders to the crown enters a decisive phase, remains as tough as ever. Anyone who is not in the lead group at the end of the sector can wave goodbye to victory in Roubaix. Later on, the Mons-en-Pévèle (no. 11) and Carrefour de l'Arbre (no. 4) five-star sectors will set the scene for further attacks and dramatic twists.