The stars align for the Paris-Roubaix cobbled sectors
April 12 th 2022 - 18:20
On Sunday 17th April, the peloton of the 119th edition will battle it out on a 257.2 km course with 54.8 km of cobbles spread out over 30 sectors, the first of which comes 160 km from the line. Each sector is rated on a scale from one to five stars.
Meanwhile, the second edition of Paris–Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift, which will be held one day earlier on Saturday 16 April, features 29.2 km of cobblestones. The last 84 km of the men's and women's races are identical.
Following Paris–Roubaix race director Thierry Gouvenou and Paris–Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift race director Franck Perque's most recent reconnaissance of the course on 12th April, the organisers have rated the difficulty of the 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 (no. 19), Mons-en-Pévèle (no. 11) and the Carrefour de l'Arbre (no. 4) remain the only sectors with a five-star rating.
Stargazers are usually found with their eyes on the skies and their heads in the clouds. In contrast, those who scan the cobbled sectors of Paris–Roubaix for places where the riders' tyres could get stuck in the mud tend to keep their gaze fixed on the ground. The final countdown to the Queen of Classics sees a procession of teams come to soak up the atmosphere and make their first moves —some steadier than others— on the cobblestones awaiting them when the weekend comes. The organisers have traditionally got the ball rolling on the "recce" and invited the media to see what the course looks like. As the conversation often turns to the weather forecast, some also channel their inner road mender to assess the improvement or deterioration of this or that section. This year, the organisers have merely tinkered around the edges of the first few sectors. The Vertain sector (no. 26) is back on the menu in its long version, as is the easier Saulzoir sector (no. 24), where the students of the Raismes Horticultural High School explained the art of paving to their visitors. 94 stars stand between the peloton of Paris–Roubaix and the velodrome, down from 95 last autumn. This change is due to the recent refurbishment of the Hem sector (no. 2), coming as the dessert of a hearty meal.
The 30 cobbled sectors of Paris–Roubaix
Saturday, April 16th 2022 - 24 hours before the elite race and a few hours before Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift, a peloton of 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 170 kms. Every rider will find an appropriate legend.