Mons-en-Pévèle and the Carrefour de l’Arbre are included, while the amount of cobbles adds up to 29.2 kilometres. So a quarter of the action takes place on the demanding surface before the finish in the Roubaix Velodrome.
While the start of the men’s race is in Compiègne, the women clip into their pedals in Denain, 50 kilometres south of Roubaix. The infamous Forest of Wallers, or Trouée d’Arenberg, is just 8 kilometres away, but the race does not start off with a bang. The first cobbles appear in Hornaing after roughly 30 kilometres. It’s a sector of 3.7 kilometres.
It is as if the women have no time to waste after all these years without their version of the Hell of the North, since 3 kilometres after sector 1 they enter the next one in Warlaing. No rest for the wicked and the cobbles come thick and fast. No Forest of Wallers, but Mons-en-Pévèle is definitely included with its 2,985 metres of hardship on a bunch of cobbles from hell.
Still eleven sectors remaining after leaving Mons-en-Pévèle. The riders tackle the pavé of Mérignies à Avelin (700 metres), Pont-Thibault à Ennevelin (1,400 metres), Templeuve – L’Epinette (200 metres), Templeuve-Moulin-de-Vertain (500 metres), Cysoing à Bourghelles (1,300 metres), Bourghelles à Wannehain (1,100 metres) and Camphin-en-Pévèle (1,800 metres).
The riders hit the iconic Carrefour de l’Arbre with 16.5 kilometres remaining. At 2,086 metres, this stretch of pavé is feared for 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 before they are treated with the heavenly feel of smooth asphalt almost all the way (15 kilometres) to the Velodrome in Roubaix.
Just two more harmless sectors, Gruson and Willems à Hem, lead the way to the last cobbled section, in Roubaix itself, which is a tribute to the race. The cobbles are neatly organised to avoid major discomfort. Riders go from here into the old Velodrome with one and a half laps to go.
Another interesting read: results/race report 2021 Paris-Roubaix Femmes.
Paris – Roubaix 2021: route, profile, more
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