Paris – Roubaix 2017: The Route

Paris-Roubaix 2017Sunday, 9 April 2017 – Totalling at 257 kilometres, the 2017 edition of Paris-Roubaix takes in 55 kilometres on cobbles. Compared to last year's edition, the race brings 2.2 extra kilometres of pavé to the table. A perfect blend of positioning, power and tactical nous is required if a rider is to lift the famous cobble-stone trophy awarded to the victor, not too mention a large slice of luck.

After leaving Compiègne the route of Paris-Roubaix is similar to recent editions with some minor adjustments. Briastre and Solesmes are stretches that haven’t been in the race for thirty tears. They appear after 112.5 kilometres and 116 kilometres. Briastre is 3 kilometres, while Solesmes is much shorter yet runs slightly uphill.

Chances are zero Briastre and Solesmes will play a crucial role in Paris-Roubaix 2017. That early in the race the jouncing and bouncing has only just begun.

Just like in recent editions, the 3,713 metres Wandignies-Hamage accounts for the longest stretch of pavé. It is not the toughest cobbled sector though, as the antique pavement is in a condition that’s as good as it gets. Wandignies-Hamage is tackled at kilometre 174.5.

Every cycling fan will feel a rush when hearing the illustrious names of Trouée d’Arenberg, Mons-en-Pévèle, and Carrefour de l’Arbre. Those are the stretches of pavé that lie at the heart of the Hell of the North. Last year, this year, next year…

Tension will start to rise when approaching Trouée d’Arenberg, after 161,5 kilometres. The 2,284 metres section heads straight on through the woods and because it descends slightly speeds are high and crashes lurk. If you aspire to win the race, you have no choice – you have to spend energy at the front at this point. Otherwise, you risk getting caught up behind or in crashes.

Obviously, the renowned pavé of Mons-en-Pévèle is in the route of Paris-Roubaix too, after 208,5 kilometres. The combination of the length of 2,985 metres and the sorry state of the cobbles account for hardship in the peloton. Besides, the riders are far from fresh when racing these rocks.

At Carrefour de l’Arbre the finale is well underway. At 2,086 metres, this stretch of pavé is most feared for the cobble stones from hell and the sloped corners. After 1,200 metres a tricky left-hand bend leads to a slight ascent. If specialists want to strike on their beloved pavé, the Carrefour de l’Arbre is their last opportunity. At the end the riders turn right at Restaurant l’Arbre Gruson and only 15 kilometres and two harmless sectors, Gruson and Willems à Hem, lead the way to the Velodrome in Roubaix.

The cobbles in Roubaix itself are just for show.

Paris-Roubaix 2017 is the last WorldTour race of record holder Tom Boonen. Is the four-time winner going to pull it off once more?

Read also: results/race report 2017 Paris-Roubaix.

Paris-Roubaix 2017: Route maps, and more

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