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Paris - Roubaix - Riding The Pavé

Updated: Jun 12

One of cycling's oldest One Day Classics, and also prestigious as one of the world renowned Monuments of Cycling, the Paris–Roubaix is famous for it's rough terrain and cobblestoned roads.Known as 'The Hell in the North' and the 'Queen of the Classics', this legendary race (Subject of the film A Sunday in Hell), features such formidable conditions that it has led to the development, over the years, of specialised bike frames, wheels and tyres. Sports Tours International can proudly offer you the opportunity to ride the famous cobbles of the 'Queen of the Classics', with Ride and Watch and VIP/Hospitality options available. But, for now, to get you in the mood for this epic, once in a lifetime challenge, here's our invaluable guide to riding the pavé at the legendary Paris- Roubaix.

The ultimate challenge, of the Paris-Roubaix is to take on the same 172k from Busigny to Roubaix, on the same course as the pros will race the day after. However, the routes of 141k and 70k will also leave you plenty of opportunity to experience the tough cobblestone sections of the mythical Paris-Roubaix race, and will undoubtedly prove a worthy test for the legs.


Some tips on riding cobbles:


Your equipment:

Use 25mm tyres or the fattest that your bike's clearance will allow. There are tyres on the market specifically designed for riding cobbles but they are quite pricey.

Make sure that you have plenty of spare tubes.

It is advisable to have new tyres on your bike to avoid punctures.

Do not use carbon wheels as the cobbles make cause damage.

Make sure that your water bottles are snug in their holders as they may bounce out otherwise.

Run your tyres at a lower pressure than you would on the road as this will stop you from bouncing all over the place.

Have the absolute minimum extra gear on your bike, items such as handlebar Go Pros will fly off your bike on the first cobbled section.

Put some silicon under your bar tape as this can help with shock absorption, thereby protecting your wrists, otherwise they are going to hurt!



How to ride:

Ride at a decent pace straight through the middle of the cobbles.

On many sections there is a narrow strip of packed dirt, at the side of the road, that you can ride on.

Ride in the gutter. If you ride quite fast, overtaking will mean that you have to ride in the gutter as everyone else is hogging the middle and it can be a good place to ride on some sections.

Ride in a big gear if you can. When you spin with a high cadence, you end up bopping up and down in your saddle, which is not useful, as you will be bopping up and down enough with the cobbles.


The 'Secteurs de Pave' of Paris-Roubaix:


The Paris-Roubaix one day Pro Race features various cobbled sections, which are numbered and also have names. Some of the sections are particularly renowned, such as Troisvilles to Inchy***, which commonly features as the first cobbled section, and is 2.2 kilometres in length, or Trouée d'Arenberg, which at 2.4 kilometres in length and covering vastly uneven terrain, has a five star rating, and is considered a true spectacle of the race.


Other Famous Cobbled Sections Include:

SP27 Viesly à Quiévy*** 1.8km long

SP26 Quiévy à Saint-Python**** 3.7km long

SP25 Saint-Python** 1.5km long

SP24 Solesmes à Haussy** 800m long

SP23 Saulzoir à Verchain** 1.2km long

SP22 Verchain-Maugré à Quérénaing*** 1.6km long

SP21 Quérénaing à Maing** 2.5km long

SP20 Maing à Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon*** 1.6km long

SP19 Haveluy à Wallers**** 2.5km long

SP17 Wallers à Hélesmes** 1.6km long

SP16 Hornaing à Wandignies**** 3.7km long

SP15 Warlaing à Brillon*** 2.4km long

SP14 Tilloy à Sars-et-Rosières*** 2.4km long

SP13 Beuvry-la-forêt à Orchies** 1.4km long

SP12 Orchies** 1.7km long

SP11 Auchy-lez-Orchies à Bersée*** 2.6km long

SP10 Mons-en-Pévèle*** 3km long

SP9 Mérignies à Avelin** 700m long

SP8 Pont-Thibaut à Ennevelin*** 1.4km long

SP7 Templeuve - Moulin-de-Vertain** 500m long

SP6 Cysoing à Bourghelles*** 1.3km long

SP6 Bourghelles à Wannehain*** 1.1km long

SP5 Camphin-en-Pévèle**** 1.8km long

SP4 Carrefour de l'Arbre***** 2.1km long

SP3 Gruson** 1.1km long

SP2 Willems à Hem** 1.4km long



For more information on the extraordinary Paris - Roubaix Challenge, and how you can be there in person to either RIDE, WATCH THE PROS, or indeed BOTH,visit us HERE!

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