Chances are zero Hameau du Buat will play a crucial role in Paris-Roubaix 2016. The sloping cobbled sector is on the menu with 127 kilometres done, when the jouncing and bouncing has only just started.
Yet it’s nice to have a cobbled climb in the Hell of the North. The cobbles are in good condition, albeit the first 500 metres go up at a 8% grade before it flattens out to a false flat. The sectors total at 1,700 metres with 1,100 metres (slightly) uphill. Mind you, it is not a new sector at all as Hameau du Buat was in Paris-Roubaix three times already. The last edition featuring the cobbled climb was raced in 2012.
Just like last year, at 3,713 metres Wandignies-Hamage is the longest stretch of pavé of the day. It is not the toughest, as the antique pavement is in a condition that’s as good as it gets.
As per usual the peloton will start to get nervous approaching Trouée d’Arenberg. The lineal 2.284 metres section descends slightly through the woods and so speeds will be high and crashes lurk. All favourites prefer to spend energy at the front rather than risk getting caught up behind or in crashes. Obviously, this is the reason the pack gets nervous…
Of course Mons-en-Pévèle is in the route in 2016. The combination of the length at 2,985 metres and the sorry state of the cobble stones account for hardship in the peloton. Besides, the riders are far from fresh and crispy when racing these rocks.
At Carrefour de l’Arbre the finale is well underway. At 2,086 metres, the stretch of pavé is feared for the cobble stones from hell and the sloped corners. At 1,200 metres a difficult left-hand bend leads to a slight ascent. The Carrefour de l’Arbre brings the last opportunity for the specialist to make a difference on their beloved pavé. After the right turn at L’Auberge de l’Arbre only two harmless sectors, Gruson and Willems à Hem, lead the way to the Velodrome. The cobbles in Roubaix itself are just for show.
Race results/race report Paris-Roubaix 2016.
Paris-Roubaix 2016: Route map, cobbled details, and more
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