Tour de France riders react to Roubaix Stage
Stage 9 from Arras to Roubaix on Sunday July 15th, pays homage to the classic race Paris-Roubaix. The stage features 15 sectors of cobbles, with sectors of up to 1.4 kms in length and finishes at the iconic Roubaix velodrome after 154 kilometres.
This stage will be a key stage for the GC riders, who will have no choice but to ride at the front of race to stay in contention and out of trouble.
Time gaps could open up here, even before the race hits the mountains.
AG2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet commented, "The course will have cobbles, a team time trial and explosive mountain stages, which have the potential to leave each contender on his own. "In that short stage of just over 60 kilometres, the leaders will be sparring with each other, there will also be a lot of potential pitfalls".
"No one will be really calm the morning of the stage with the cobbles, and several stages promise to be very exposed to the wind. In the last week, the big climbing days will play a very important role. One day we’ll be doing more than 5000 meters and another day nearly 4000. I like these marathon stages, they are what make the legend of the Tour de France."
Movistar's Nairo Quintana said "The route will include some kilometres on the cobbles around Roubaix which will be one of the biggest challenges for General Classification riders. "The stages in the north are going to be difficult, to be honest," the Colombian explained.
"I've ridden a few races in this part of France and if I have riders that are really good for this conditions like (Daniele) Benatti, Imanol (Erviti) and (Jose Joaquin) Rojas, I will be very well supported. I hope that with the good team we will have, we won't have any trouble".
Four-times Tour de France champion Chris Froome is expecting a very difficult and nervous Tour de France.
The Team Sky rider reacted to the route of the 2018 edition, which was unveiled at the Palais des congres in Paris, near the famous Champs Elysees.
In true Tour de France style, will take a week before the peloton gets to the high mountains, with eight relatively flat stages awaiting the riders first.
"That's gonna make the Tour de France very nervous," Froome expects. "It's gonna be a very nervous race and that region around Bretagne and north western part of France is very windy, so that will play a big part as well."