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Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
« on: March 28, 2017, 10:08 »
1st thing like all good build ups you need to get yourself in the right head space, hope this helps







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  • Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #1 on: March 28, 2017, 10:08 »
    Paris Roubaix /L'Enfer du Nord




    History
    Paris–Roubaix is one of the oldest races of professional road cycling. It was first run in 1896 and has stopped only for two world wars. The race was created by two Roubaix textile manufacturers, Théodore Vienne (born 28 July 1864) and Maurice Perez. They had been behind the building of a velodrome on 46,000 square metres at the corner of the rue Verte and the route d'Hempempont, which opened on 9 June 1895.

    Vienne and Perez held several meetings on the track, one including the first appearance in France by the American sprinter Major Taylor, and then looked for further ideas. In February 1896 they hit upon the idea of holding a race from Paris to their track. This presented two problems. The first was that the biggest races started or ended in Paris and that Roubaix might be seen as too provincial a destination. The second was that they could organize the start or the finish but not both.
    They spoke to Louis Minart, the editor of Le Vélo, the only French daily sports paper. Minart was enthusiastic but said the decision of whether the paper would organise the start and provide publicity belonged to the director, Paul Rousseau. Minart may also have suggested an indirect approach because the mill owners recommended their race not on its own merits, but as preparation for another.
    They wrote:
    Dear M. Rousseau, Bordeaux–Paris is approaching and this great annual event which has done so much to promote cycling has given us an idea. What would you think of a training race which preceded Bordeaux–Paris by four weeks? The distance between Paris and Roubaix is roughly 280km, so it would be child's play for the future participants of Bordeaux–Paris. The finish would take place at the Roubaix vélodrome after several laps of the track. Everyone would be assured of an enthusiastic welcome as most of our citizens have never had the privilege of seeing the spectacle of a major road race and we count on enough friends to believe that Roubaix is truly a hospitable town. As prizes we already have subscribed to a first prize of 1,000 francs in the name of the Roubaix velodrome and we will be busy establishing a generous prize list which will be to the satisfaction of all. But for the moment, can we count on the patronage of Le Vélo and on your support for organising the start?1

    and so it began a race designed to capture the attention of the people of Paris to remind them that Roubaix in fact still was part of France, and now the race capture cycling fans from every corner of the globe , a Sunday in hell.

    It is also the last time we will see Tom Boonen ride the race that helped make the modern day classsic rider a legend of the sport


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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #2 on: March 28, 2017, 10:09 »
    The Route





    SECTIONKILOMETRESPLACELENGTHRATING
    29   97   Troisvilles to Inchy   2.2 :*:*:*
    28   103.5   Viesly to Quiévy   1.8 :*:*:*
    27   106   Quiévy to Saint-Python   3.7 :*:*:*:*
    26   112.5   Viesly to Briastre   3 :*:*:*
    25   116   Briastre à Solesmes   0.8 :*:*
    24   124.5   Vertain to Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon   2.3 :*:*:*
    23   134.5   Verchain-Maugré to Quérénaing   1.6 :*:*:*
    22   137.5   Quérénaing to Maing   2.5 :*:*:*
    21   140.5   Maing to Monchaux-sur-Écaillon   1.6 :*:*:*
    20   153.5   Haveluy to Wallers   2.5 :*:*:*:*
    19   161.5   Trouée d'Arenberg   2.4 :*:*:*:*:*
    18   168   Wallers to Hélesmes   1.6 :*:*:*
    17   174.5   Hornaing to Wandignies   3.7 :*:*:*:*
    16   182   Warlaing to Brillon   2.4 :*:*:*
    15   185.5   Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières   2.4 :*:*:*:*
    14   192   Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies   1.4 :*:*:*
    13   197   Orchies   1.7 :*:*:*
    12   203   Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée   2.7 :*:*:*:*
    11   208.5   Mons-en-Pévèle   3 :*:*:*:*:*
    10   214.5   Mérignies to Avelin   0.7 :*:*
    9   218   Pont-Thibaut to Ennevelin   1.4 :*:*:*
    8   224   Templeuve (Moulin-de-Vertain)   0.5 :*:*
    7   230.5   Cysoing to Bourghelles   1.3 :*:*:*
    6   233   Bourghelles to Wannehain   1.1 :*:*:*
    5   237.5   Camphin-en-Pévèle   1.8 :*:*:*:*
    4   240   Carrefour de l’Arbre   2.1 :*:*:*:*:*
    3   242.5   Gruson   1.1 :*:*
    2   249   Willems to Hem   1.4 :*:*:*
    1   256   Roubaix (Espace Crupelandt)   0.3 :*
    TOTAL   55 km

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  • « Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 12:38 by just some guy »

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #3 on: March 28, 2017, 10:09 »
    Taken from The website - source

    On 9 April, for the 115th edition of the “Queen of the Classics”, the route the peloton will race on will comprise 55km of cobblestones (vs 52.8km in 2016), on the total distance of 257km between Compiègne and the Roubaix velodrome. The favourites are expected to stand out on the tranchée d'Arenberg, in Mons-en-Pévèle or at the Carrefour de l'Arbre… but early in the race they will also discover the Briastre (km112.5) and Solesmes (km 116) cobbled sections, which haven't been used since 1987!

    The opening weeks of the year have given the best riders in the world the opportunity to gradually get back in action, under summer skies in Australia or in the Middle East for example. All riders come into the season with their individual perspectives and ambitions… and some of them rack up the kilometres with the sole goal of starring in the Spring Classics. Scenarios do not necessarily follow the prediction logic on Paris-Roubaix, as was the case last year with Matthew Hayman winning at the conclusion of an early-race break away. While the key sections of the route are detected and carefully identified, from the first cobblestone sector at Troisvilles to that of the Carrefour de l'Arbre, by passing through the famous sections at Arenberg and Mons-en-Pévèle, arrangements have been made to visit or revisit some places that are likely to reshuffle the cards.

    This year, immediately after the first stretches of cobblestone a change of direction will lead the peloton to the Briastre and Solesmes sectors (numbers 26 and 25), which haven't been used in the race for 30 years. Route designer, Thierry Gouvenou details the characteristics. “The first is three kilometres long, it is actually being renovated but it is one of the difficult sectors. The next is a lot shorter, however it is uphill! It is not our wish to make the race harder at this stage, but to find more diversity between the cobblestone sectors and make sure these areas continue to feed the legend”. In total, the cycling acrobats will have an added 2.2 kilometres of cobblestones to ride over compared to last year, before reaching the finish at the Roubaix Velodrome.


    On the tracks of the cobbles…

    Each week, letour.fr will be taking a detailed look at a place that has marked the history of Paris-Roubaix


    Compiègne: cycling royalty


    From Saturday 8th April, Compiègne will be bathed in the atmosphere of Paris-Roubaix for 24 hours. The presentation of the teams, the race headquarters and the press room as well as the race's start will be located within the grounds of the sumptuous château in the heart of the town.

     
    The esplanade of the Château de Compiègne hosted all the monarchs of the Middle Ages for their first halt on the return from their coronations in Reims Cathedral. However, since 1977, it is the kings of the cobbles who assemble with the aim of a consecration that they all dream of on completion of the 250-kilometre route. Already, on the day before the race, the favourites are questioned about their form, strategy and fears. The nearer the start, the more intense the tension becomes: the large cobbles at the start zone set the tone for this especially particular day.
     
    Forty years ago, the first start in Compiègne gave rise to a historical race for several reasons. Although he was unaware of it, Eddy Merckx climbed onto his bike for his last Paris-Roubaix, which he finished in the middle of the afternoon in 11th position. The opportunity to pick up a fourth title slipped through The Cannibal's fingers, but not those of his rival Roger De Vlaeminck, who climbed on top of the podium that day. Consequently, to this day, The Gypsy is still on cloud nine, even if he now shares the record for victories with Tom Boonen since 2012.
     
    In 2007, the cobbles of Compiègne did not only have pride of place for the “Easter Race”, several months later they also hosted the finish of a stage on the Tour de France, on which a regular rider on the Hell of the North excelled. At the age of 26-years old, Fabian Cancellara already possessed a cobble trophy in his collection thanks to his victory in Roubaix in 2006. After the initial phase of the 2007 Tour de France in England, Spartacus was in the Yellow Jersey for the finish in Compiègne, where he outdid all the sprinters with an attack one kilometre from the finish.
     
    Already in the spotlight since 1977, as from last year, Compiègne has benefited from extra exposure: the race is broadcast live around the world from the very first kilometre, so that viewers miss nothing of the initial moves on the race, or the landscapes of the Oise department.

    Troisvilles: ready, steady… shake!

    The first cobbled section on Paris-Roubaix commences shortly after the ride along Rue de la Sucrerie, but, despite what the street's sugary name may suggest, there is nothing sweet about this introduction! After the start in Compiègne, the first 100 kilometres are generally covered at a swift pace by the pack, whilst a good handful of breakaway riders are under illusions of success as they pedal at the forefront. The race favourites will not have awaited the entrance to the village of Troisvilles to put their team-mates into action, going shoulder to shoulder with other riders and flirting with the road verges to reach the front. The tension that reigns over the race at this vital moment is best described by Stephen Roche: “There are some guys who would kill their mother to be among the first riders”.
     
    The first encounter with the cobbles has taken place in Troisvilles since 1987, after 98 kilometres of racing. Of course, the hardest part of the race still awaits, but the test to overcome on the first two kilometres of cobbles (2,200 m to be precise, with a 3-star classification) offers a wealth of insights. The sensations rarely tell lies at this stage of the race: the leaders will know if they have the legs to win, but also whether they are mentally ready to throw themselves into the endless sequence of juddering that they will have to tackle to reach Roubaix.
     
    The resilient riders will already be put through the mill on the route leading from Troisvilles to Inchy, even though the cull among the pack has only just started. Many twists in the tale still await, but sometimes the riders who go on the attack at this point meet with a glorious destiny at the end of the day. Such was the case for Australian Mathew Hayman, involved in the morning's breakaway last year, unaware that he was going to experience the finest day of his career, just like his countryman Stuart O'Grady ten years ago. In Troisvilles, anything can happen.

    Haveluy: in a spin

    On tackling the last 100 kilometres, the riders have “only” covered 17 kilometres of cobbles. The number of punctures and falls is already starting to mount and the Arenberg section, deadly to many a rider's hopes, is approaching. However, sometimes the battle may well start as soon as Haveluy, which is very conducive to winning moves.

    Modern washing machines allow their users to carefully adjust the speed of spin required. The same principle can be applied to the cobbled sections on Paris-Roubaix, with the level of difficulty giving an idea of just what sort of a spin the riders will find themselves in. At the end of the 1990's, the route on the Queen of the Classics included a stretch of tarmac that was considered to be too comfortable and especially conducive to regrouping, between the passage through Valenciennes and the Trouée d'Arenberg section, separated by twenty kilometres. The detour required to take in Haveluy, where a 2.5-kilometre cobbled lane is located, made it possible to put the riders in even more of a spin and to kick off a cull which only becomes even more formidable.
     
    On entering the Haveluy section, a headstone pays tribute to Jean Donain, a very knowledgeable connoisseur of the area through his position as organiser of the Denain Grand Prix. It was Mr. Donain who suggested to Jean-François Pescheux, in charge of drawing up the route at the time, to incorporate this cobbled section that was capable of slimming down the pack. This malicious stretch of route was adopted from the 2001 edition onwards and the best strategists soon grasped the opportunities thrown up by these disjointed and sometimes flooded cobbles, even if they were still 100 kilometres from the finish. Moves made in Haveluy are not always successful, but last year, it was precisely at this point when Tony Martin and Tom Boonen, then team-mates and in pursuit of the breakaway, put in an acceleration that left Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara in their wake. Thereafter, the World Champion and the foremost future retiree in the pack were not able to regain contact with the race leaders…

    Arenberg

    On the world cycling map, some places appear in capital letters. Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux are among them, as is the Stelvio in Italy, the Angliru in Spain and the Cauberg in The Netherlands. The review of these sites steeped in the history and soul of cycling inevitably stops at the Trouée d'Arenberg, which the peloton will take on this year at km 161.5. But 2.4km further, only some elite riders will still believe in their chances

    Here is a bit of suffering in which they ride into headlong! When the time comes to lunge into the Trouée d'Arenberg, the peloton will be at more than 70kph. Once a year, the peaceful Drève des Boules d'Hérin, frequented by strollers, becomes the “Trench”, as it was renamed by Jacques Goddet, who borrowed WWI terminology to underline the severity of the challenge. Before heading in, the race runs along the Wallers-Arenberg mining site, which is also a symbol of extreme conditions, where coal miners plunged into the galleries during most of the 20th Century. It was precisely one of these hard-working labourers, Jean Stablinski, who suggested the idea of using this cobblestone sector, which was still unknown to the organizers, for the 1968 edition.

    The winner of the 1958 Tour of Spain and 1962 World Champion didn't have a bigger dream than to win Paris-Roubaix, where he was more frequently unlucky than rewarded for his efforts (best result, 7th in 1964). However, Stablinski indeed made history as the only rider who suffered and sweated underground, then rode on the Trouée cobblestones. A monument bearing his name was inaugurated in honour of the "discoverer" of the spot following his death in 2007.

    Over nearly 50 years, the Trouée d'Arenberg has been the theatre of glorious feats and twists of fate, until becoming something the favourites fear. While the most experienced teams try to anticipate it, the threat persists and the cobblestones do their damage. 1999 favourite, Johan Museeuw injured his kneecap and lost hope of victory on the cobblestones. Philippe Gaumont broke his femur while in contention for the podium in 2001. The punishment was not as harsh for Tom Boonen in 2011, but it was perhaps a puncture in the middle of this straight run cutting through the Raismes forest that saw his opportunity to become the record holder for victories slip away. The Belgian champion still has a chance to claim his 5th Paris-Roubaix success!

    Mons-en-Pévèle

    Three cobbled sections receive the 5-star classification synonymous with the maximum level of difficulty. The section of Mons-en-Pévèle, three kilometres long and exposed to the wind, marks the entrance into the last fifty kilometres. Those who make it out of this “trap” in the lead can consider that they are in with a chance of winning Paris-Roubaix.

    Days that include more than 200 kilometres on a bicycle are not so frequent during the season. By the time the pack approaches Mons-en-Pévèle, they have already exceeded this distance. Furthermore, the build up of shakes on the cobbles has martyrized the riders' hands, wrists and legs for a cumulative total of more than 40 kilometres. Over more than three kilometres of especially bumpy cobbles, the elite group of the pack is reduced to a handful of potential winners. Only the strongest, those who have what it takes to triumph, are able to resist within the leading group, as the man in charge of the route, Thierry Gouvenou, explains: “This section is a genuine indicator of just how able a rider will be in negotiating the final part of the race”. In an even more categorical fashion, the winner of the 1988 edition, Dirk Demol, has the memory of “a place that is a real ordeal. It feels like it will never end. Yet, that is where you genuinely know who will not be victorious in Roubaix”.
     
    Keeping up with the pace is not enough at Mons-en-Pévèle. When a champion of the cobbles is in control, he can also take advantage and move into action on this portion that boasts both a slope conducive to accelerations and a good distance to open up significant gaps. In 2000 for example, this is where Johan Museeuw, accompanied by Frankie Andreu, shook off the majority of his rivals before going on to pick up his second title. His heir in the Quick Step team, Tom Boonen, imitated this feat on the day of his third triumph (in 2009), by ramping up the pressure to reduce the leading group to 6 riders. The following year, Fabian Cancellara commenced a solo breakaway at Mons-en-Pévèle for the last 50 kilometres until the cycling arena in Roubaix.

    Victories can be built here, but the cobbles of Mons-en-Pévèle can also shatter dreams. George Hincapie had never seemed so close to success, following his second place in 2005, when, in 2006, the fork on his bike broke, throwing him to the ground and leaving him with a broken collar bone. Misfortune or jinxes sometimes combine with mental and physical wear and tear which provoke punctures and falls. Last year, Fabian Cancellara saw his hopes of one last victory in Roubaix crushed at Mons-en-Pévèle when he fell, whilst Peter Sagan appeared to miraculously levitate over him! At Mons-en-Pévèle, action is always guaranteed…

    ------

    2 more to come will be added
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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #4 on: March 28, 2017, 10:10 »
    Teams
    AG2R La Mondiale *fr #ag2r
    Astana Pro Team *kz #astana
    Bahrain - Merida *bh #bahrain
    BMC Racing Team *usa #bmc
    Bora – Hansgrohe *de #bora
    Cannondale Drapac Professional Cycling Team *usa #cannondale
    FDJ *fr #fdj
    Lotto Soudal *be #lotto
    Movistar Team *es #movistar
    Orica - Scott *au #orica
    Quick-Step Floors *be #quickstep
    Team Dimension Data *za #dimension
    Team Katusha - Alpecin *ch #katusha
    Team Lotto NL - Jumbo *nl #jumbo
    Team Sky *gb #sky
    Team Sunweb *de #sunweb
    Trek – Segafredo *usa #trek
    UAE Abu Dhabi *ae #uae
    wildcards
    Cofidis Solutions Crédits *fr #cofidis
    Direct Energie *fr #direct
    Fortuneo - Vital Concept *fr #fortuneo
    Delko Marseille Provence KTM *fr #delko
    Wanty – Groupe Gobert *be #wanty
    Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise *be #vlaanderen
    Roompot Nederlandse Loterij *nl #roompot
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  • just some guy

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #5 on: March 28, 2017, 10:10 »


    4 wins (2)
    *be Roger De Vlaeminck (1972 1974 1975 1977)
    *be Tom Boonen (2005 2008 2009 2012)
    3 wins (7)
    *fr Octave Lapize (1909 1910 1911)
    *be Gaston Rebry (1931 1934 1935)
    *be Rik van Looy (1961 1962 1965)
    *be Eddy Merckx (1968 1970 1973)
    *it Francesco Moser (1978 1979 1980)
    *be Johan Museeuw (1996 2000 2002)
    *ch Fabian Cancellara (2006 2010 2013)



    :web :twitter #ParisRoubaix
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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #6 on: March 28, 2017, 10:47 »
    not quite race news, but ASO has sent out a bunch of posters for Paris Roubaix  :cool








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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #8 on: March 28, 2017, 13:20 »
    This ought to be included, one of my all time favourite videos to watch along with the 2016 PR BSP


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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #13 on: April 04, 2017, 12:40 »
    Offical :* for the Pavé

    SECTIONKILOMETRESPLACELENGTHRATING
    29   97   Troisvilles to Inchy   2.2 :*:*:*
    28   103.5   Viesly to Quiévy   1.8 :*:*:*
    27   106   Quiévy to Saint-Python   3.7 :*:*:*:*
    26   112.5   Viesly to Briastre   3 :*:*:*
    25   116   Briastre à Solesmes   0.8 :*:*
    24   124.5   Vertain to Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon   2.3 :*:*:*
    23   134.5   Verchain-Maugré to Quérénaing   1.6 :*:*:*
    22   137.5   Quérénaing to Maing   2.5 :*:*:*
    21   140.5   Maing to Monchaux-sur-Écaillon   1.6 :*:*:*
    20   153.5   Haveluy to Wallers   2.5 :*:*:*:*
    19   161.5   Trouée d'Arenberg   2.4 :*:*:*:*:*
    18   168   Wallers to Hélesmes   1.6 :*:*:*
    17   174.5   Hornaing to Wandignies   3.7 :*:*:*:*
    16   182   Warlaing to Brillon   2.4 :*:*:*
    15   185.5   Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières   2.4 :*:*:*:*
    14   192   Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies   1.4 :*:*:*
    13   197   Orchies   1.7 :*:*:*
    12   203   Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée   2.7 :*:*:*:*
    11   208.5   Mons-en-Pévèle   3 :*:*:*:*:*
    10   214.5   Mérignies to Avelin   0.7 :*:*
    9   218   Pont-Thibaut to Ennevelin   1.4 :*:*:*
    8   224   Templeuve (Moulin-de-Vertain)   0.5 :*:*
    7   230.5   Cysoing to Bourghelles   1.3 :*:*:*
    6   233   Bourghelles to Wannehain   1.1 :*:*:*
    5   237.5   Camphin-en-Pévèle   1.8 :*:*:*:*
    4   240   Carrefour de l’Arbre   2.1 :*:*:*:*:*
    3   242.5   Gruson   1.1 :*:*
    2   249   Willems to Hem   1.4 :*:*:*
    1   256   Roubaix (Espace Crupelandt)   0.3 :*
    TOTAL   55 km


    https://twitter.com/Velorooms/status/849224741047160833
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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #14 on: April 04, 2017, 12:44 »
    remember the vote in who you think will win

    http://velorooms.com/index.php?topic=8444.
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  • just some guy

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    AG

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #16 on: April 05, 2017, 00:19 »
    Damn.

     :(
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  • hiero

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #17 on: April 05, 2017, 03:10 »
    Damn.

     :(

    Awww, AG!  This gives Boonen the spotlight on his last race! P Gilbert will be around for the coming classics! No Worries!

    Honestly, though, looking at the QS lineup for PR, I am not hopeful for Boonen. This looks to me like anyman's race.
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  • Ubi est ignis

    AG

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #18 on: April 05, 2017, 07:13 »
    Dont get me wrong - Phil would have ridden for Boonen - and I am 100% sure that he would have been happy to do so. 

    He would have made the QS team stronger though - given them another option to throw up the road or do some work late in the race for Tommeke.

    I do think Tom will have a hard time on Sunday though.  The tactical situation is always tricky for the big favourites ... though Tom is in a much better place than Sagan right now.  Tom has options.
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  • just some guy

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #19 on: April 05, 2017, 07:58 »
    Dont get me wrong - Phil would have ridden for Boonen - and I am 100% sure that he would have been happy to do so. 

    He would have made the QS team stronger though - given them another option to throw up the road or do some work late in the race for Tommeke.

    I do think Tom will have a hard time on Sunday though.  The tactical situation is always tricky for the big favourites ... though Tom is in a much better place than Sagan right now.  Tom has options.

    agree with all of that, I bet Boonen has been doing a rain dance for months, I can see quickstep just turning screws from a long way out, and by the forrest be Boonen Niki Stybar and then go from there, this big lose for them if say Niki attacks and everyone blinks and says look your last ever race

    are Quickstep/Boonen willing to do that?
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  • AG

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #20 on: April 05, 2017, 08:20 »
    yeah totally agree.

    the numbers only work in Quicksteps favour if they are prepared to use them.

    If they want Tom - and only Tom - to win ... then there is a much greater chance that none of them will win it.


    I also think that they will go early and go hard.  They will be the aggressor from Arenberg on ... putting as many guys as possible in the moves going up the road ... and working hard to ensure that they have at least 1 strong guy up front
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  • just some guy

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    just some guy

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #22 on: April 05, 2017, 13:49 »


    love this
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #23 on: April 05, 2017, 13:53 »
     I never expected Phil to ride for one second.
    I think he's only ever ridden once, 10 years ago and finished outside the top 50.
    He hard a hard week, last week and could do with a spot of rest.
    QS have an embarrassment of cobbles riches.
    Meanwhile, he goes to Amstel as a hot favourite.
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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.

    AG

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #24 on: April 05, 2017, 14:33 »
    :*  AG's Star Rating   :* 


    :* :* :* :* :*   Peter Sagan
    Immense talent.  Will win Paris Roubaix someday - but will it be this year wearing the rainbow jersey?
    Sagan has been around for some time now - 4 straight green jerseys, 2 rainbow jerseys ... but still only 1 monument.  He has had so much promise, but has had a long learning curve in these big races. 

    He moves teams to Bora Hansgrohe this year - and has handpicked half his team.  So why, oh why has he picked such a poor one? :fp  Honestly, he will struggle against the might of the Quickstep team, as well as they weight of expectation and the alliances of others who will actively ride against him.   When you are the strongest - and by a considerable margin - you will find it hard to get riders to work with you. 

    He needs to learn how to win again.   Has struggled a bit since MSR when he was strongest but got beaten on the line after being forced to do all the work.   Made a stand against Terpstra at GW - but I dont know that it will change much.

    :* :* :* :* :*  Tom Boonen
    Comes in here in great shape - and the sentimental favourite .. he has the entire cycling world behind him to go for the fairy tale.  Not just the fans behind him though - he comes here with a team full of superstars willing and capable of backing him up.  Quickstep have a super strong team and are backing him to the end.

    2nd last year - and 2nd at the world champs as well, Tommeke doesnt seem to have lost a lot in the last years - and Roubaix is a race that you can win at a much later age.

    In fact the biggest obstacle in his way may well be the strength of his team.  Be prepared for Quickstep to go early and go hard ... throwing moves and riders off the front often - in the hope that eventually one of them will stick.  Tom may be lucky and get to show his strength in the final, but its just as likely that with everyone looking at Tom, and not working with Sagan, that someone else gets away and fights for the win.

    Will be a very interesting race, tactically speaking
     
    :* :* :* :* :*  Greg Van Avarmaet
    Ordinarily I would have only given Greg 4 :*'s .... but his form so far this spring has been monsterous and he has the strength to stay with the big guns here I think.

    Up there at the end of MSR, wins at Omloop, E3 and GW and 2nd at RvV ... and that comes on top of an outstanding 2016 (winning Tireno Adriatico, stage win and yellow at the Tour, gold at the Olympics ... only the crash in spring ruined his fun).    Surely GVA has to break through and win a monument soon.   He comes here with an ok team - but one he will need to use well in order to overcome the sheer numbers of the Quickstep team.  He will need to be prepared to work with others too ... and given his super form, may be forced to do more than his share.

    I did get the impression that Flanders was more his goal this year - but he will certainly be content with a win on the velodrome of Roubaix on Sunday.

    :* :* :* :*  John Degenkolb
    Not the sparkling form of previous years - but as a past winner, powerhouse and sprinter, Degenkolb cannot be understimated here. Stuyven, Rast and Theuns all will be of assistance (provided his team use them a bit more effectively than they did Felline at RvV)

    :* :* :* :*  Alexander Kristoff
    Has been a little quiet this spring.  He won the sprint in the bunch at MSR for 3rd place, but missed the moves at both E3 and GW.  His team had him out of position at 3 days of de Panne so he missed the move there too - but he worked very hard for a good hit out and ended up 3rd overall anyway.   And again, won the bunch sprint behind at Flanders for 5th.   He has been there or thereabouts for the big races, without actually being either in position or strong enough on the climbs to go with the moves.  That doesnt mean that he wont be strong enough on cobbles though ... big difference.

    Expect him therefore to be up there and fighting - and with the likes of Tony Martin and Marco Haller working for him, I think he will be one of the strong men here.

    :* :* :*  Nicki Terpstra
    Another former winner, and someone who has been on good form this spring.  Missed out at GW when he refused to work with Sagan, was also good in E3 and DDV but had team mates in the moves so didnt get to show his wares.

    At Flanders he struggled on the climbs - and would not have been part of it except for the crash of Sagan/GVA/Naeson as he had dropped off Sagans wheel on the way up.  Still, he made it back to GVA and was there at the end. 

    Even after making GVA do all the work int he last 15 .. he was still outsprinted though - so for Terpstra to win it would be a solo move.   That isnt out of the question tactically though - with Quicksteps team that will no doubt be an option.

    :* :* :* Oliver Naeson
    I have been super impressed with him so far this spring.  What a great pick up for AG2R - and with Stijn Vandenberg to back him up, I would rate him a definite chance here if the big guns play games and leave the door open.  He certainly proved that he is strong enough to stay the distance.

    7th at Omloop, 8th at KBK, 6th at DDV, 3rd at E3 and int he bunch at GW ... the 23rd at RvV isnt reflective due to the crash ... really great spring for him.

    :* :* :* Zdenek Stybar
    It has been an average spring so far for the cyclocross WC.  The problem with being in a team of superstars is that you dont always get the nod to go ... and with Gilbert, Boonen, Terpstra and Trentin all in equally good shape ... Stybar has often had to be the one waiting in the pack to see if the move gets brought back.

    At RvV he was caught behind a crash and never made it back so was out of things quite early on - but has finished essentially in the bunch all spring.  But 4th at Strade Bianchi and 9th at KBK shows that he hasnt been slacking off too much - and we know that he is strong enough and capable over the cobblestones of France.

    Still - will be working for Tommeke ... so will roll the dice and hope his numbers come up in the tactics of the day.

    :* :* :* Dylan Van Baarle
    Sad for Cannondale that VanMarcke crashed and is out injured - but they should be pretty happy with the performance of their "plan B" because he was super at Flanders.  Certainly a talent for the future - and if the cards fall his way could easily end up in the finale here.

    :* :* :* Ian Stannard / Luke Rowe
    I have given them both 3 stars as I am not sure exactly which will be team leader here - but both are strong, capable and good enough to hang with the talent here.  Not on the same level as Boonen and Sagan ... but if the door is left open, either of these guys are capable of riding through it and staying to the end

    :* :* Jens Keukeleire
    Hard to know how he will be - sick just before Flanders - but could be a surprise here


    there are quite a few other :* riders that I havent mentioned here
    Sacha Modolo has been in great form, DeMare would be a chance, Sylvain Chavanel has shows sparks of his old self, Edvald Boassen Hagen is well capable of doing something here, Tony Martin has a shot if something happens to Kristoff, Daniel Oss would be a good plan B for BMC, Lars Boom has the talent over the cobbles to surprise us.  Trentin too could be another card to play for Quickstep - and there are no doubt a number of others that I have missed off.

    After all - its Paris Roubaix.  Anything can happen - and often does  :D
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  • just some guy

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #25 on: April 05, 2017, 14:43 »
    I am not sure Sagan deserves his Fav label though I recon he might DNF been a bad spring for his standards
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  • AG

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #26 on: April 05, 2017, 14:47 »
    For his standards - sure.

    Still

    1st - KBK
    2nd - omloop
    2 firsts, a 2nd and a 3rd from Tireno
    2nd at MSR
    3rd at GW
    missed the move at E3 and couldnt get back
    and crashed at RvV when he was in a good position.

    Whether he is strong enough mentally to cope with the weight of expectations is another matter totally.
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  • just some guy

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    just some guy

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #28 on: April 05, 2017, 15:43 »
    For his standards - sure.

    Still

    1st - KBK
    2nd - omloop
    2 firsts, a 2nd and a 3rd from Tireno
    2nd at MSR
    3rd at GW
    missed the move at E3 and couldnt get back
    and crashed at RvV when he was in a good position.

    Whether he is strong enough mentally to cope with the weight of expectations is another matter totally.

    maybe we expect too much, still a bit peeed at the Crash and bringing down the 2 Belgium's
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  • killswitch

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    Re: Paris-Roubaix l'enfer du Nord
    « Reply #29 on: April 05, 2017, 18:41 »
    No Pippo  :(

    Want Tommeke to win if only for De Vlaeminck's reaction.  :P
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  • Joelsim: The huge winner today - Landa.
    just some guy: Aye he marginal gained the flip out of it

     

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