Welcome to Hell: The 2024 Paris-Roubaix Preview

The third Monument of the season, the Queen of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix takes place this Saturday for the women and Sunday for the men

Welcome to Hell: The 2024 Paris-Roubaix Preview

Bienvenue en enfer – welcome to hell! That’s the message that greets the riders when they line up for the start of this famous one-day classics race!

The third Monument of the season concludes the 'cobbled classics' of this spring, and will mark the 119th edtion of the men's race and the fourth for the women.

Reigning men's champion Mathieu van der Poel is considered the outright favourite following his stunning solo victory in Sunday's Tour of Flanders.

Last year, Canadian Alison Jackson stunned the big names with a spectacular win from a breakaway in the women's race.

The "Hell of the North" is one of the most iconic races of the season, tackling the brutal cobbled roads of northern France. With 29 sectors of bone-breaking cobbled sectors to navigate over the course of 260km in the men’s race and 17 sectors over the course of 148km in the women’s, it’s no wonder Paris-Roubaix has earned itself the "Queen of the Classics" reputation.

The rider’s heroism and bravery in the face of sheer adversity is death defying. From broken bikes to broken dreams, we’ve seen it all on the cobblestones that lead towards the famous finish in the Roubaix velodrome.

The men's race is 260km, including 56km of cobblestone sectors. The organisers have also added 3.2km of pavés as compared to last year. Compiègne will host the start of the race and, as always, it will finish in the iconic velodrome in Roubaix.

The three five-star sectors of pavé are at the Trouée d'Arenberg, Mons-en-Pévèle and the Carrefour de l'Arbre. They are often the most decisive in the race.

2024 Paris-Roubaix Cobbled Sectors

The stars below show the difficulty of the cobbled sectors. Five-star pavés are the most difficult. In the brackets are the distance to the finish line and the length of the sector.

29. (***) Troisvilles - Inchy (km 163.7 - 2.2km long)
28. (***) Viesly - Quiévy (km 157.2 - 1.8km long)
27. (****) Quiévy - Saint-Python (km 154.6 - 3,7km long)
26. (***) Viesly - Briastre (km 148.4 - 3km long)
25. (***) Vertain - Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon (km 137.1 - 2.3km long)
24. (***) Capelle - Ruesnes (km 130.4 - 1.7km long)
23. (**) Artres - Quérénaing (km 121.4 - 1.3km long)
22. (***) Quérénaing - Maing (km 119.6 - 2.5km long)
21. (***) Maing - Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (km 116.5 - 1.6km long)
20. (****) Haveluy - Wallers (km 103.5 - 2.5km long)
19. (*****) Trouée d'Arenberg (km 95.3 - 2.3km long)
18. (***) Wallers - Hélesmes (km 89.2 - 1.6km long)
17. (****) Hornaing - Wandignies (km 82.5 - 3.7km long)
16. (***) Warlaing - Brillon (km 75 - 2.4km long)
15. (****) Tilloy - Sars-et-Rosières (km 71.5 - 2.4km long)
14. (**) Beuvry-la-Forêt - Orchies (km 65.2 - 1.4km long)
13. (***) Orchies (km 60.1 - 1.7km long)
12. (****) Auchy-lez-Orchies - Bersée (km 54 - 2.7km long)
11. (*****) Mons-en-Pévèle (km 48.6 - 3km long)
10. (**) Mérignies - Avelin (km 42.6 - 0.7km long)
9. (***) Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin (km 39.2 - 1.4km long)
8. (*)Templeuve - L'Epinette (km 33.8 - 0.2km long)
8. (**) Templeuve - Moulin-de-Vertain (km 33.3 - 0.5km long)
7. (***) Cysoing - Bourghelles (km 26.8 - 1.3km long)
6. (***) Bourghelles - Wannehain (km 24.3 - 1.1km long)
5. (****) Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 19.9 - 1.8km long)
4. (*****) Carrefour de l'Arbre (km 17.1 - 2.1km long)
3. (**) Gruson (km 14.8 - 1.1km long)
2. (**) Willems - Hem (km 8.2 - 1.4km long)
1. (*) Roubaix - Espace Charles Crupelandt (km 1.4 - 0.3km long)

Men's Favorites

Mathieu van der Poel (NED/Alpecin Deceuninck): Can anyone beat the defending champion in his current shape? Fresh off his third Tour of Flanders title, there is no doubt that the Dutch superstar is the man to beat at the Paris-Roubaix 2024. If van der Poel manages to win "The Hell of the North" for the second time in his career, he will be in joint 10th place for most cycling Monument wins in history with six victories.

Jasper Philipsen (BEL/Alpecin Deceuninck): Van der Poel's Belgian teammate is one of the fastest sprinters on the planet. He proved that by winning the points classification at the Tour de France and more recently, the 'sprinter's classic' Milano-Sanremo last month. Philipsen was the runner-up in 2023 and knows how to ride the cobblestones in Northern France.

Mads Pedersen (DEN/Lidl-Trek): The Dane beat van der Poel at the Gent-Wevelgem in a two-man sprint finish and by that showed that the big favourite is beatable. Pedersen was one of the victims of a mass crash during the Dwars door Vlaanderen last week, but the 2019 road race world champion seems to have recovered, as he tried to anticipate van der Poel in the Tour of Flanders with an early attack. Unfortunately for the Lidl-Trek rider, he ran out of juice and finished the race in 22nd place.

Nils Politt (GER/UAE Team Emirates): The UAE Team Emirates rode a solid Tour of Flanders and used their numbers to get Politt on the podium - and three riders in the top five. In 2019, the German finished second behind Philippe Gilbert. He will be eager to improve that result.

Women's Favorites

The women's route is 148.5km long and features 29.2km of pavé. Just like the men's race, the finish will be in the velodrome in Roubaix. However, the women will begin in Denain. After two laps around Denain, the women's peloton will merge with the men's route.

Alison Jackson (CAN/EF Education-Cannondale): It was a big suprise when the Canadian upset the stars of the women's peloton last year and claimed the biggest victory of her career. The reigning champion has struggled to find her form from last spring, however, having a tenth place as her best result this season. Jackson will be an outsider for this year's race.

Lotte Kopecky (BEL/Team SD Worx-Protime): The road race world champion has started the year brilliantly by winning the UAE Tour overall, Strade Bianche Donne and Danilith Nokere Koerse. In Sunday's Tour of Flanders, the Belgian was suffering on the cobbled climbs and missed out on the podium spots. Nevertheless, Kopecky has previously taken a second place in Paris-Roubaix and is one of top contenders.

Elisa Longo Borghini (ITA/Lidl-Trek): The 2022 winner of Paris-Roubaix was back on the top step of the podium in the 2024 Tour of Flanders. Consistency is what characterises the 32-year-old Italian cyclist who always features in the final of the big one-day races.

Marianne Vos (NED/Team Visma|Lease a Bike): The 36-year-old cycling veteran added a 250th professional win to her palmares as she clinched the Dwars door Vlaanderen last week. Paris-Roubaix is still missing on her impressive list of victories though and the two-time Olympic champion can cement herself as one of the greatest of all time if she wins the prestigious cobbled classic.

Saturday, April 6th

13:45 - Start women's race (Denain)
17:33 - Estimated women's race finish with an average speed of 39km/h (Roubaix)

Sunday, April 7th

11:25 - Start men's race (Compiègne)
17:19 - Estimated men's race finish with an average speed of 44km/h (Roubaix)

Tag: classics
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