2023 Paris-Roubaix Preview
The 'Queen of the Classics' or 'Hell of the North', aka Paris-Roubaix, is still one of the most prestigious victories in professional cycling and one of the most difficult races on the calendar. This Sunday April 9th, the riders will take on the third monument of the season
Paris-Roubaix was born in 1896, making it one of the very oldest bike races around. This year's brutal race is a massive 258 kilometers, through in the north of France, including 30 different cobbled secteurs which total to 54.5 kilometers of cobbles. It's a race for the classics specialists, the powerhouse riders and the endurance monsters, who can fly over famous secteurs such as the Trouée d'Arenberg, Mons-en-Pévèle and Carrefour de l'Arbre.
The Paris-Roubaix 2023 men’s race route is pretty much identical to the past few editions, but welcomes back the Haspres cobbled secteur almost two decade after its last appearance.
Starting in Compiègne heading north, the first cobbled secteurs will be encountered after100 kilometers of racing, which will make for around 2 hours of racing to settle and establish a breakaway. As it’s been the case for some years, the breakaway should be highly contested, which can make for a furiously fast start. The teams controlling the race will keep a tight leash on who can go in the break. Most teams will try to have riders in the breakaway for strategical purposes, for example of their favorite is able to attack and bridge across the breakaway and then work for them.
Troisville, the first of 29 secteurs comes with a little over 95 kilometers of racing, it’s 2.2 km long, but the initial combination of secteurs last year caused some damage in the peloton quite early on. This is the place where the true race starts.
Secteur 20, Haveluy to Wallers (2500 meters, 101 km to go), will come right before the most iconic secteur of the race. Everyone who loves cycling knows it, secteur 19, the Trouée d’Arenberg is “only” 2300 meters but is one of the toughest and most brutal, a narrow cobbled street that demands technical expertise.
Line choice is crucial as the cobblestones are brutal. The huge speed the riders will enter the secteur will make for the most tense moment of the race, the lead-out to Arenberg will see fighting for position, it starts slightly downhill and turns into slightly uphill, making for a really hard secteur to make any acceleration, it’s a case of keeping the power up for the entire run. It comes with 93 km to go.
Secteur 17, Hornaing to Wandignies is 3700 meters long and is the next 4-star secteur with 78 km to go, then there’s Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières which is 2400 meters long and comes with 68.5 km to go. And with 50.5 km to go there’s the Auchy to Bersée secteur and it’s 2700 meters in length, which sets the riders up for the following secteur. The Mons-en-Pévèle secteur is 3 km long and finishes with 45 km to go, it will be the second 5-star secteur of the race and comes in a crucial time where decisive attacks are expectyed.
The final combination of secteurs is where any further attacks will be made is the Camphin-en-Pévèle and Carrefour de l’Abre. They are 4 and 5-star secteurs respectively, feature 1800 and 2100 meters in distance and come with 18 km and 15 km to go.
They aren’t the final secteurs, but with such a brutal race to that point and a very short distance to the finale, it’s the ideal place to make a move for anyone who has the legs, the Carrefour de l’Abre secteur is one of most technical, neding several accelerations, which is something not all the riders will be capable of at that point in the race.
There’s still the Willems to Hem secteur with 6 km to go, a 3-star secteur that’s been recently introduced into the race, but it’s not usual to see gaps opening up there, but who knows, with a group it can happen.
The final kilometers are well known, the entrance in Roubaix on flat roads, in case of a group coming into town it’s likely to see some final attacks, which will lead to the velodrome, the race’s symbol almost, where a deserving winner will emerge after a brutal 258 km race.
Last year Dylan van Baarle (NED), Ineos Grenadiers won the men's race and Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA), Trek-Segafredo won the women's race.
2023 Paris-Roubaix Cobbled Secteurs
|30||160.3||Troisvilles to Inchy||2.2||3/5|
|29||153.8||Viesly to Quiévy||1.8||3/5|
|28||151.2||Quiévy to Saint-Python||3.7||4/5|
|26||139.4||Vertain to Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon||2.3||3/5|
|25||129.4||Verchain-Maugré to Quérénaing||1.6||3/5|
|24||126.7||Quérénaing to Maing||2.5||3/5|
|23||123.6||Maing to Monchaux-sur-Écaillon||1.6||3/5|
|22||117||Haspres to Thiant||1.7||3/5|
|21||103.5||Haveluy to Wallers||2.5||4/5|
|19||89.2||Wallers to Hélesmes||1.6||3/5|
|18||82.5||Hornaing to Wandignies||3.7||4/5|
|17||75||Warlaing to Brillon||2.4||3/5|
|16||71.5||Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières||2.4||4/5|
|15||65.2||Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies||1.4||3/5|
|13||54||Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée||2.7||4/5|
|11||42.6||Mérignies to Avelin||0.7||2/5|
|10||39.2||Pont-Thibaut to Ennevelin||1.4||3/5|
|7||26.8||Cysoing to Bourghelles||1.3||3/5|
|6||24.3||Bourghelles to Wannehain||1.1||3/5|
|4||17.1||Carrefour de l’Arbre||2.1||5/5|
|2||8.2||Willems to Hem||1.4||3/5|
|1||1.4||Roubaix (Espace Charles Crupelandt)||0.3||1/5|