No Joke: Mathieu van der Poel not happy with 180 degree Arenberg Trench Chicane ahead of Paris-Roubaix

Race organisers and the CPA have introduced a chicane at the last minute in the run up to the toughest and most famous cobbled sector in Paris-Roubaix, the Trouée d'Arenberg in the Arenberg Forest

No Joke: van der Poel not happy with Arenberg Chicane

It is the first five-star sector of the men's race, which can be crucial to the outcome of the race, the 2.3km long cobbled road through the forest is one of the most brutal sectors in Paris-Roubaix and has seen some spectacular crashes throughout the years.

The favorites have to be at the front of the race in order to stay in contention, hence the peloton will normally hit the trench at speeds in excess of 60km/h, with high-speed crashes a real risk, especially if it's wet and muddy.

It was announced on Wednesday evening by the race organisers that the entrance to the Trouée d'Arenberg is to include a right hand to 180 degree left hand very narrow chicane in order to reduce the speed in which the peloton enters the cobblestones for safety reasons. 

Matthieu Van der Poel, came out on social media saying "Is this a joke?" with many cycling fans asking whether riders had even been consulted on the decision by the CPA.

His post has been trending across social media, with over 1.8 million views on X (aka Twitter) alone.

Van der Poel said the the press "I think it's good that they're trying something. But in my opinion, the chicane is not the right solution and also to do it in the week before the race is not the best option either. Obviously, it's one of the most dangerous places of the season, so it's good that they're thinking about change, but for me change isn't always the best thing to do. "f you go into Arenberg in 20th position, it's pretty good, you're still in the race, but if you go into the chicane in 20th position, I think everyone who is after positions 5 to 10 will get stuck and then you easily lose 30 seconds."

"However, the new chicane won't see him change his tactics for the race as he pursues his sixth Monument title and defend his Roubaix title, "Like I said, the riders are the main issue, but I'm also joining the party, if you want to win, you have to be where everyone wants to be at the crucial moments."

On the flip-side Visma-Lease a Bike's Matteo Jorgenson said on social media "Is this what fans want to see?" with a photo of ex-professional Mitch Docker who crashed badly on this tough stretch of pave "Riders completely covered in blood after sliding face-first at 50mph/80kph on sharp rocks in a forest? I’ll take a couple of turns and some guys sliding out on pavement any day"

CPA President Adam Hansen defended the new Paris-Roubaix chicane, stating "Now Arenberg is safer". 

However, Belgian sports journalist Jonas Creteur thinks it will make thing even more hectic "The chicane at the entrance of Trouée d´Arenberg in #ParisRoubaix2024? If so, is this safer, sprinting for that bottle neck? Maybe a bit (no crash on cobbles), but the chaos will remain."

Tag: classics
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