Paris-Roubaix course inspection: ‘Cobbles are extremely dry’

A preview of the cobblestones reveals dry and fast conditions for this weekend's racing at the 'Hell of the North.'

Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

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After last fall’s mud-fest at Paris-Roubaix, it could be a dustbowl this weekend.

With Paris-Roubaix back in April after last fall’s rescheduled race that delivered the first wet and muddy edition in 20 years, organizers expect a fast and dry race this weekend.

A course inspection Tuesday revealed dry and dusty conditions for the 2022 edition of the “Hell of the North,” ahead of the women’s Paris-Roubaix Femmes race Saturday and the men’s edition Sunday.

“I don’t remember the cobblestones being so dry and in good condition,” said race director Thierry Gouvenou on Tuesday. “They are extremely dry.”

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Gouvenou and other race officials previewed the cobblestone sectors that the peloton will face this weekend. The second edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes on Saturday will tackle 29km of pavé and the men will rumble over 54.8km of cobblestone sectors in the 257.2km course in the 119th edition.

Crews did some repair work over the past several months, but Gouvenou said he’s never seen the cobbles in such pristine condition. Well, as good as cobblestone roads can be.

“Normally you have to fix something after such a preview, but that is not the case now,” he said Tuesday. “We benefit from the work we did in October. I took notice of the Wallers sector. Last fall, it was mossy and swampy, but now we’re seeing the benefit of the work last year.”

Forecasters are calling for dry and sunny conditions this weekend. There is a chance of showers overnight Wednesday, but everyone expects fast and dry races Saturday and Sunday.

Also read: Forecasters calling for dry, fast conditions this weekend

“We begged for rain at the organization for a long time and we saw it in 2021. Now we are happy that the sun is back. That ensures much less stress,” Gouvenou told journalists. “In rainy weather, you eliminate a lot of riders, especially psychologically.

“In dry weather, the cards are different. It will go faster and the work of the teams and team tactics will become much more important.”

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