It’s the day an entire peloton descends into hell, but only one rider gets to play Hercules and be the first to overcome all challenges on the way back with the big prize, carving out his name in the history books.
For the 116th edition of the French Monument, the riders will take on a 257km-long course peppered with 29 cobblestone sectors totaling 54.5 kilometers of pavé, including the iconic Haveluy, Trouée d’Arenberg, Sars-et-Rosières, Mons-en-Pévèle, Camphin-en-Pévèle and Carrefour de l’Arbre sectors.
Quick-Step Floors will go into Paris-Roubaix brimming with confidence after having won nine one-day races with six different riders in the past five weeks: Le Samyn, Dwars door West-Vlaanderen, Nokere Koerse, Handzame Classic, E3 Harelbeke, Driedaagse Brugge – De Panne, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Ronde van Vlaanderen and Scheldeprijs.
Tim Declercq, Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Florian Sénéchal, Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra – the same team that last week took on the Ronde van Vlaanderen – will be in Compiègne Sunday morning for the “Hell of the North”.
“Roubaix is an elimination race. The first important part is the first 100 kilometers. In the beginning of the race it will be important to control the breakaways or be in one, because in a race like Roubaix a group containing the right riders can go really long, even all the way to the line. Also, the weather could play a big role; it’s still not clear if it will rain or we’ll have a dry edition. If it’s wet, then you get a completely difference race, much harder and with more scenarios”, said Tom Steels.
Quick-Step Floors’ sports director continued: “It is neither easy to control or book a ticket for the breakaway, but we count again on our own strength and are prepared to do our own race, improvising as things unfold according to what happens, as we always do. We start with confidence in all the riders; they showed a good form so far this spring, and if one of them will find himself in a good position to take the win, we’ll do everything to support him.”