The Tour de France may be returning to the dreaded cobbles of Northern France for the first time since 2015.
According to a report in La Voix du Nord, the race organizers may be planning to send the riders into the heartland of Paris-Roubaix.
Passages of cobblestone sectors are not an everyday occurrence in the Tour de France but 2018 may be the year when the world’s biggest race returns to the rough surface in Northern France. French newspaper reports that Tour de France organizers ASO may be planning to include one or more sections in next year’s race.
It has already been unveiled that the race will kick off in Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile, in France’s northwest region, with the first stage taking the riders off the Passage du Gois.
The race could return to the Alpe d’Huez ski resort for a summit finish. Mont Ventoux could return as well as the party was spoiled in 2016, when high winds forced the organiser to shorten the ascent.
The cobbles were last included in 2015 when Tony Martin won the stage. The previous year Vincenzo Nibali gave a vintage performance across the wet pave while Chris Froome abandoned before the pavé after a series of crashes.
Thor Hushovd won the sprint from a small group in 2010 while Frank Schleck crashed out of the race. The cobbles were also included in the race in 2004 when Iban Mayo crashed hard and lost all hopes on the paves in Northern France.