Whoever gets to hold the Sett above his head in the Roubaix velodrome, is going to have to do something special when during the 2013 Paris-Roubaix. We’ll have live updates from 9.00pm AEST.
Not that winning a race like Paris-Roubaix isn’t special enough, after-all it’s the classic of the Classics, but because on current form they’ll have beaten two-time winner Fabian Cancellara.
Defending Champion Tom Boonen is one rider who could do exactly that and win a record fifth Roubaix, but he’s had a horrible year and a nasty crash in the Tour of Flanders finally ended his chances.
So it’s Cancellara’s race to lose. But if there’s one race where the best rider doesn’t always win, it’s the 254km Paris-Roubaix.
Twenty-seven sectors of bone-rattling mud-encrusted cobblestones, covering 52.5km, guarantees you need more than strength on the day, you need luck.
Luck, to not crash, too much. Luck, to not puncture, too much. Luck, to not be held up by others who crash, too much.
Easier said than done when most of the time, riding the cobbles is like racing on ice, and riders are so caked in dirt that they’re almost unrecognisable.
As always the 2.284km section of pave through the Trouee d’Arenberg (forest of Arenberg) promises to be decisive.
But there are two other five-star sectors (five stars represents the most difficult) the peloton must conquer after d’Arenberg before the suffering ends.
First raced in 1896, Stuart O’Grady (2007) is the only Aussie to have hoisted the Sett. Those who saw it will never forget. This is a race where legends are born.
The weather is always a factor in Paris-Roubaix, but it hasn’t been too bad in the past few years. Given the weather in Europe so far this season though, we could be set for another epic day of cycling.
Nine Australians are racing tonight’s 2013 Paris-Roubaix:
|Mathew Hayman||Sky Procycling||43|
|Jonathon Cantwell||Team Saxo-Tinkoff||143|
|Heinrich Haussler||IAM Cycling||151|
|Will Clarke||Team Argos-Shimano||162|
Team NetApp – Endura