Twenty-five teams have been selected to take part of Paris-Roubaix 2013, which will take place on April the seventh.
The following nineteen teams have been selected in compliance with International Cycling Union rules :
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
Blanco Pro Cycling Team (Ned)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Cannondale Pro Cycling (Ita)
Euskaltel Euskadi (Esp)
Garmin - Sharp (USA)
Katusha Team (Rus)
Lampre - Merida (Ita)
Lotto Belisol (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Omega Pharma - Quick Step Cycling Team (Bel)
Orica - GreenEDGE (Aus)
RadioShack - Leopard (Lux)
Sky Procycling (Gbr)
Team Argos - Shimano (Ned)
Team Saxo - Tinkoff (Den)
Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team (Ned)
Six other teams, invited by the organizers, will make up the field for the 111th edition of Paris-Roubaix :
Bretagne - Séché Environnement (Fra)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra)
IAM Cycling (Sui)
Team Europcar (Fra)
Team Netapp - Endura (Ger)
A bit shorter (254 km), but with more cobblestones (52.6 km). The route of the 2013 edition will feature the usual challenges of the Queen of Classics, but with a few tweaks to accommodate the return of the Pont Gibus sector.
The 2013 season is underway and the first winners have already uncorked the champagne under the southern sun. Some of those racing in Adelaide, Argentina and, above all, next week in Qatar, already have a clear goal in mind: the spring classics. Work on Paris–Roubaix continues behind the scenes with the official design of the route of the 111th edition, which will take place on Sunday, April 7, 2013. The course will be a teeny bit shorter (254 km vs 257.5 km), but the main effect of the changes will be to alter the order in which the bunch will tackle the toughest parts, which could affect race strategies. In the last few editions, the peloton took a detour in the area south of Valenciennes, which took the riders through the Le Buat cobbled sector. This section has been replaced with another detour through the town of Wallers. The bunch will come up against a cobbled sector which has not featured in the race since 2008: following renovation works by the town of Wallers and the Nord Pas-de-Calais region, the 1,600 m section from Wallers to Hélesmes has been rechristened "Pont Gibus" as a tribute to Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle. It will be sector number 17 this year and will come just after the Trouée d'Arenberg, which the peloton will exit in bits and pieces (or not) with still 94 kilometres to go. Next up will be the Hornaing–Wandignies sector, which rounds off this new sequence and will leave the riders a mere 83 kilometres from Roubaix Velodrome.
The cobbled sector linking Wallers to Hélesmes should make its return to the Paris-Roubaix route after a 5-year absence. The renovation work was officially launched yesterday.
The riders skilled in the Flanders classics who will be battling for victory on the 111th edition of Paris-Roubaix are probably not yet concentrating on the matter, but the preparations for the Queen of the Classics are well underway behind the scenes and even on the very stage where a major act of the race could be played out. After initial reconnoitring, Jean-François Pescheux and Thierry Gouvenou invited Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle to launch the renovation work on a section which is dear to his heart, in the town of Wallers. Indeed, the two times winner of Paris-Roubaix built his two successes on this 1,600-metre stretch of cobbles that the race has not visited since the 2008 edition. At the time, this level 4 classed difficulty was located at the 170-km point, just 4 kilometres after leaving the famous Trouée d’Arenberg. Whilst the race organisers have assured the Friends of Paris-Roubaix association, the Wallers town authorities and the Nord Pas-de-Calais regional authorities that the section will be making a return to the route in 2013, its exact location in the race will only be decided upon in December. In the meantime, several engraved cobbles were symbolically laid down and the section was officially christened “Pont Gibus”, in homage to the nickname given to Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle during his career.
Tom Boonen rewrote the history books as planned but with even more style than expected to win his fourth Paris-Roubaix in a textbook 110th edition of the Queen of Classics.It was widely forecast that the Belgian would equal Roger De Vlaeminck’s record but the way he did it, by breaking clear with 55 kilometres to go and remaining on his own for more than an hour, was a fantastic display of sheer class. Boonen timed his move perfectly, launching a first attack after his unlucky team-mate Sylvain Chavanel punctured on the 200-kms mark. The first blow did not finish off his two leading rivals, Alessandro Ballan (BMC) and Filippo Pozzato (FAR) but the two Italians bowed when the Tour of Flanders winner struck again with Dutch team-mate Niki Terpstra two kilometers further. At the finish, Boonen raised a cobble for the fourth time, with a special smile on his face. After two years of struggle, the 31-year-old Belgian also became the first man to win the Ronde and the Hell of the North in the same year twice. He is now arguably the strongest man in history in the Flanders classics with 21 wins in the region.
The official start list includes four former winners, seven former winners of the under-23 race and one former winner of the junior event.Former winners:
On the 110th edition of Paris-Roubaix, Tom Boonen will be on a hunt for records. By starting his last professional race, Frédéric Guesdon is already ensured to equal one. What’s more, the resources deployed for the TV broadcast will also be reaching excellent standards…
BOONEN ON THE HUNT FOR RECORDS
The challenge is a considerable one for Tom Boonen, who starts as the major favourite for Paris-Roubaix, battling for a fourth title after his triumphs in 2005, 2008 and 2009. If he wins, he will equal the record held by the “Gypsy”, Roger De Vlaeminck, master of the cobbles in the 1970’s. To add to his statistical supremacy, in this case he would also become the first rider to twice win the Tour of Flanders/Paris-Roubaix double, which he already achieved in 2005. His temperament probably will not let him be satisfied with anything less than first place. However, if he manages a podium finish next Sunday, he will be one of the rare riders to climb “onto the box” ten years after his first finish on the top three steps, since he already accomplished this feat in 2002. To date, only Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle (1980-1993), Roger De Vlaeminck (1970-1981), Gaston Rebry (1926-1936) and Eugène Christophe (1910-1920) have managed such an achievement. In this case, the sixth podium finish of his career on this race would place him at the top of this category, alongside Johan Museeuw, Francesco Moser and Roger De Vlaeminck.
GUESDON SIGNING OFF ON A HIGH NOTE
After fracturing his hip in a fall during the Tour Down Under, Frédéric Guesdon has been faced with a race against time to get fit in order to bid farewell to road racing on Paris-Roubaix. On Sunday, the Frenchman will be starting the race for the 17th time, just like George Hincapie, but with a significant advantage on his roll of honour: in addition to the record for participation (which he will hold with Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle), Guesdon has experienced the joy of victory at the cycling arena, on the 1997 edition. In order to pay homage to the career of the rider from Brittany, who was again the best placed Frenchman in 2011 (11th), the organisers of Paris-Roubaix have decided, when the teams are presented in Compiègne, to offer him a commemorative copy of the front page of sports daily newspaper l’Equipe published the day after his victory. The newspaper’s headline that day was “Guesdon forever”.
TV: EXCEPTIONAL RESOURCES FOR AN EXCEPTIONAL RACE
For the Queen of the Classics, production resources fit for a King will be deployed in order to provide images to the 22 channels that will be broadcasting the race live on the world’s continents. Apart from some stages of the Tour de France that are broadcast in their entirety and the world championships, Paris-Roubaix is the only race of the season that boasts a live broadcast more than four hours long. In order to follow the scattering of the riders over the cobbles right down to the finest detail, the filming facilities are in keeping with the highest of standards: 4 cameramen on motorbikes, 2 Wescam helicopters and 12 cameras at the cycling arena for the finish. Viewers will be able to watch the race from 1 PM onwards (the programmes starts at 12.52 PM on French TV channel France 3). At that point in time, the riders will have just got to grips with the day’s first cobbles.
Thor Hushovd© Presse Sports
The absence of Fabian Cancellara, who suffered a quadruple fracture of his collar bone on the Tour of Flanders, has taken a weight of the mind of Thor Hushovd, who was stuck between a rock and a hard place last year, between his team-mates who lead an early break-away and the Swiss rider to whom he had to stick like glue in order watch his every move. The former world champion is awaiting his moment on Paris-Roubaix, his race of preference.
It is never a good idea to use the results of Thor Hushovd on the Tour of Flanders as a basis for predicting the outcome of Paris-Roubaix. On the biggest of the Belgian classics, the Norwegian colossus has never finished in a better position than 14th (in 2006) since his professional debut in 2000. Over the last three years, the contrast in his personal roll of honour is striking: withdrawal in Flanders and 3rd in Roubaix in 2009, 57th in Flanders and 2nd in Roubaix in 2010, 53rd in Flanders and 8th in Roubaix in 2011! As a result, his 55th place last Sunday in Audenarde is by no means a bad omen for a new performance, at 34 years old, at the famous cycling stadium of the northern French city.
Suffering from a virus, he had to watch Milan - San Remo on TV
“Paris-Roubaix is my obsession,” he often repeats. “It’s the race of my dreams, the one I want to win before I call a halt to my career”. Last year, he nurtured the ultimate dream of succeeding Bernard Hinault by winning in Roubaix dressed, like the badger, in the rainbow jersey, thirty years later, but there was a thorn in his side: Fabian Cancellara. The previous year’s winner was again very strong over the cobbles. Neither Hushovd nor any of his other rivals could allow him the slightest room for manoeuvre. So, the Garmin-Cervélo team sent ‘scouts’ out ahead, in the form of Johan Vansummeren, Sep Vanmarcke and Gabriel Rasch, with the aim of provoking the Swiss into reacting. The world champion logically slotted in just behind him, with the intention of overtaking him at the finish. However, they never got near to Vansummeren, the surprise winner. Hushovd, as a consummate professional, had no alternative but to content himself with his team-mate’s victory, but it is indeed his own name that he intends to write on the Paris-Roubaix roll of honour. He left Garmin and moved to BMC, which, at the end of February, sent its cobble specialists (Alessandro Ballan, Manuel Quinziato and Greg Van Avermaet) to reconnoitre the route which the classic of the north will take, also taking the opportunity to test new material.
Hushovd has not had an easy start to the season and his best finish has only been a 5th place on one of the stages of Paris-Nice. Afterwards, he was suffering from a virus and had to watch Milan-San Remo on TV, from his sofa in Monaco and also withdraw from the Tour of Catalonia. He then tackled three Belgian events on the World Tour: GP E3, Gand-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, which did not, however, totally restore his confidence in his capacities.
“I still believe that I have a chance”
“I was expecting to do better,” recognises the Norwegian, who, on the Tour of Flanders, revealed his hand rather early, acting as a springboard to the hopes of Ballan and Van Avermaet. “I didn’t have any strength in my legs. I felt empty”. In cycling, this sort of feeling sometimes precedes a state of grace. This is why Hushovd is not giving up as Paris-Roubaix draws closer. “It’s a race in which anything can happen,” he says. “I feel that I’m getting back on form. My training has been good and I still believe that I have a chance of winning in Roubaix. I don’t know how much the absence of Cancellara will change the race this year. Tom Boonen is in great form, so he is the favourite with a team that should be able to handle the toughness of the race. It’s a shame for Cancellara, he was in the right condition to win the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix again, but that’s cycling for you – it can happen to us all”.
Thor Hushovd started his professional career twelve years ago with Crédit Agricole. In this team, he heard much about Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, who brought a close to his career in 1995 and had had to wait until the age 38 (in 1992) to pick up the first of his two consecutive Paris-Roubaix triumphs. He learned his trade alongside Stuart O’Grady who made his debut on the cobbles of the North in his first year as a professional (in 1995) and who had to wait for twelve years before winning it, at the age of 34 years old (in 2007). “I know that experience is a massive factor on Paris-Roubaix,” points out Hushovd, whose ambition to win this race increases as the years pass by… until one day he wins it.
© Presse Sports
Based on reconnoitring of the route conducted on 2nd April by Christian Prudhomme and Jean-François Pescheux, the organisers have graded each of the 27 cobbled sections on the race according to their difficulty, evaluated in relation to their length, unevenness, the general condition of the section and their locations.
This year, several sections have undergone works supervised by the association of the friends of Paris-Roubaix, who keep a beady eye on the condition of the race’s cobbles. The pupils of the horticultural schools in Raismes, Flandres and Douai have worked to renovate certain portions in Viesly (after 104 km), Aulnoy-lez-Valenciennes (after 142 km) and Millonfosse (after 178.5 km). Furthermore, two of the decisive sections on Paris-Roubaix have been the subject of special care in order to receive the elite riders next Sunday: the Nord General Council have commissioned a clean-up of the Trouée d’Arenberg and similarly, the Pays de Pévèle local authorities have taken the necessary steps to reverse the degradation of the Mons-en-Pévèle section, where the instability of the cobbles could have been a threat to the riders’ safety.
The 27 cobbled sections on Paris-Roubaix
27. Troisvilles (after 97.5 km - 2,200 m) +++
26. Viesly (after 104 km - 1,800 m) +++
25. Quievy (after 106.5 km - 3,700 m) ++++
24. Saint-Python (after 111.5 km - 1,500 m) ++
23. Vertain (after 119.5 km - 2,300 m) +++
22. Capelle-sur-Ecaillon - Le Buat (after 126 km - 1,700 m) +++
21. Aulnoy-lez-Valenciennes - Famars (after 142 km - 2,600 m) +++++
20. Famars - Quérénaing (after 145.5 km - 1,200 m) ++
19. Quérénaing – Maing (after 149 km - 2,500 m) +++
18. Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (after 152 km - 1,600 m) +++
17. Haveluy (after 163.5 km - 2,500 m) ++++
16. Trouée d’Arenberg (after 172 km - 2,400 m) +++++
15. Millonfosse - Bousiginies (after 178.5 km - 1,400 m) +++
14. Brillon to Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes (after 183 km - 1,100 m) ++
Tilloy - Sars-et-Rosières (after 185.5 km - 2,400 m) +++
13. Beuvry-la-Forêt - Orchies (after 192 km - 1,400m) +++
12. Orchies (after 197 km - 1,700 m) +++
11. Auchy-lez-Orchies - Bersée (after 203 km - 2,600 m) ++++
10. Mons-en-Pévèle (after 208.5 km - 3,000 m) +++++
9. Mérignies - Avelin (after 215 km - 700 m) ++
8. Pont-Thibaut (after 218 km - 1,400 m) +++
7. Templeuve l’Epinette (after 223.5 km - 200 m) +
Le Moulin de Vertain (after 224 km - 500 m) ++
6. Cysoing - Bourghelles (after 230,5 km - 1,300 m) ++++
Bourghelles - Wannehain (after 233 km - 1,100 m) +++
5. Camphin-en-Pévèle (after 237.5 km – 1,800 m) ++++
4. Le Carrefour de l’Arbre (after 240.5 km - 2,100 m) +++++
3. Gruson (after 242.5 km - 1,100 m) ++
2. Hem (after 249.5 km - 1,400 m) ++
1. Roubaix (after 256.5 km - 300 m) +
Tom Boonen© Presse Sports
"How delicate they are!" Just a few days from Paris-Roubaix, this is certainly not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the bookies' favourites to win the race.
Yet history shows that picking a winner is even harder at the Queen of Classics than elsewhere. After seeing Johan Vansummeren solo to the win last year, the top contenders –once again, a certain Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara and Thor Hushovd– can attest to the fact that virtually anything is possible in this race. The defending champion may be kept on a tighter leash come April 8, but he should certainly not be written off. Nevertheless, Tom Boonen's triumphant early season, with wins at the Tour of Qatar, Paris-Nice, the E3 Harelbeke and Ghent–Wevelgem, makes him the favourite of favourites... knowing that this is a heavy label to bear.
Although all eyes will be on the Boonen-Cancellara-Hushovd trio at the entrance to the Trouée d'Arenberg, they may still have to get rid of several perennial podium contenders in the Carrefour de l'Arbre section: Flecha, Ballan, Devolder, Pozzato, Leukemans, Bak and Bennati will all be hunting for a podium place. There is also a handful of rising stars who have the potential to turn the race on its head at this stage. At the tender age of 22 (just like Boonen when he first climbed onto the podium!) and with three victories under his belt this season, as well as a runner-up place at Ghent–Wevelgem, Peter Sagan has raised a lot of expectation. The slightly older John Degenkolb and Sep Vanmarcke managed to crack the Top 20 last year and have since made massive progress. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Matt Goss or Taylor Phinney could also bring winds of change.
25 teams, main contenders
Team NetApp: Schulze (GER)
GreenEDGE Cycling: Goss, O'Grady (AUS)
Lotto-Belisol: Bak (DEN), Greipel (GER), Henderson (NZL)
Omega Pharma-Quick Step: Boonen, Steegmans (BEL), Chavanel (FRA)
Team Saxo Bank: Roberts (AUS), Tosatto (ITA)
Euskaltel-Euskadi: Cazaux (FRA), Perez Moreno (SPA)
Movistar Team: Gutiérrez, Rojas (SPA)
BMC Racing Team: Ballan (ITA), Hushovd (NOR), Phinney (USA)
Garmin-Barracuda: Farrar (USA), Haussler (AUS), Vansummeren, Vanmarcke (BEL)
Ag2r-La Mondiale: Casper (FRA)
Cofidis, le Crédit en Ligne: Duque (COL), Petit (FRA)
FDJ-BigMat: Chainel, Guesdon (FRA)
Bretagne-Schuller: Le Bon, Vachon (FRA)
Saur-Sojasun: Engoulvent, Mangel (FRA)
Team Europcar: Gaudin, Haddou, Turgot (FRA)
Team Sky: Eisel (AUT), Flecha (SPA), Boasson Hagen (NOR)
Farnese – Selle Italia : Pozzato (ITA)
RadioShack-Nissan: Cancellara, Rast (SWI), Gallopin (FRA), Bennati (ITA)
Lampre-ISD: Hondo (GER)
Liquigas-Cannondale: Sagan (SVK), Oss (GER)
Astana: Bozic (SLO), Iglinskiy (KAZ)
Rabobank: Boom, Tjallingii (NET), Breschel (DEN)
Project 1t4i: Degenkolb, Kluge (GER)
Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team: Devolder, Leukemans (BEL), Larsson (SWE)
Katusha Team: Isaichev (RUS), Kuchynski (BLR)
Twenty-five teams have been selected to take part of the 110th edition of Paris-Roubaix, which will take place the 8th of April 2012.
The following eighteen teams have been selected in compliance with International Cycling Union rules :
AG2R – La Mondiale (Fra)
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
BMC Racing Team (Usa)
Euskaltel – Euskadi (Esp)
FDJ – Big Mat (Fra)
Garmin – Barracuda (USA)
Greenedge Cycling Team (Aus)
Katusha Team (Rus)
Lampre – ISD (Ita)
Liquigas – Cannondale (Ita)
Lotto Belisol Team (Bel)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Omega Pharma – Quickstep (Bel)
Rabobank Cycling Team (Ned)
Radioshack – Nissan (Lux)
Sky Procycling (GBR)
Team Saxo Bank (Den)
Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team (Ned)
Seven other teams, invited by the organisers, will make up the field for Paris-Roubaix 2012 :
Cofidis, le crédit en ligne (Fra)
Saur – Sojasun (Fra)
Bretagne - Schuller (Fra)
Team Europcar (Fra)
Team NetApp (Ger)
Project 1T4I (Ned)
Farnese Vini (Gbr)
After a period of uncertainty regarding the possibility to preserve the Arenberg Trench on the course of the 2012 edition of Paris-Roubaix, organisers confirmed that the last doubts had been cleared. Sufficient guarantees were given that the cobbled sector could be prepared in the best conditions of safety for the riders.
During checks a few weeks earlier, the deterioration of the Trench had raised questions over its withdrawal from the route because mud was covering the cobbles. After a meeting with officials from the Nord General Council, Jean-Francois Pescheux was reassured that the Trench could be open to the peloton on April 8.
"The cleaning work will be underway asap," race director Pescheux told AFP. As a result, the itinerary will be identical to the 2011 edition and the Arenberg Trench will play its usual part. It is often on that 2.4-km-long sector that the battle starts on Paris-Roubaix.