Terpstra crowns brilliant team
work to lift...

Monday, April 14th

Niki Terpstra might have been the third man on the list of the Omega Pharma Quick Step dream team at the start but the Dutchman ended up lifting the winner's cobble in the Roubaix Velodrome after... Read more

2 days to go updates


© J.Prevost

The 112th Paris-Roubaix looms: a Tour winner on the start line, another one commentating the race, 3,000 cyclotourists lead the charge...

While Bradley Wiggins may not be racing for the win, his mere presence is already a surprise, as Tour de France champions who take up the challenge of Paris–Roubaix are few and far between. The last one to do so was Greg LeMond, who tried his luck in 1994 but ended up dropping out of the race, which he had finished in fourth place in 1985. The 2012 winner, who is spellbound by the Queen of Classics, has less lofty ambitions. As he explains on his team's website, "Paris–Roubaix is one of the few races, like the Tour de France, that just to finish that race and come onto the velodrome is quite something. So I'm looking forward to being able to do that." To find the last man to win Paris–Roubaix after taking the Tour we have to go all the way back to 1981, when Bernard Hinault repeated an exploit that only Eddy Merckx (1970, 1973), Felice Gimondi (1966), Louison Bobet (1956), Fausto Coppi (1950) and Octave Lapize (1911) had managed to pull off before.
This will be the fourth year straight that Paris–Roubaix lovers also get to test their legs on the same cobbled sectors faced by the champions on the day before the elite race. The Paris–Roubaix Challenge received a major boost last year, when cyclotourists were allowed to finish on the Roubaix Velodrome, just like the champions, and three different courses were set up to cater to cyclists with different levels of sporting prowess. The formula has lost none of its attractiveness in 2014, as proven by the fact that over 3,000 people have registered so far. Almost 1,700 have signed up for the 166 km course, with all the cobbled sectors featuring in the professional race, whereas the other riders will tackle the easier 141 km course (with 32.6 km of cobblestones) or the 70 km one (with 9.3 km of cobblestones). The 2014 edition will be the first one with a timing system in the Quiévy, Trouée d'Arenberg and Carrefour de l'Arbre cobbled sectors.
Only one rider from Roubaix has ever tasted victory in Paris–Roubaix. This is none other than Charles Crupelandt, who kicked off his career in this race in 1904. His first big win came at the end of a 1910 Tour de France stage from Paris to… Roubaix, of course. He then went on to take the classic, then known as La Pasquale ("The Easter Race"), in 1912 and again in 1914. A century later, he will receive a tribute at the end of the course, with a cyclist clad in the same clothes riding an identical bicycle into the Velodrome around 3 pm.
186 countries will be broadcasting the Queen of Classics this year. This is just one more than in 2013, but enough to boost the potential viewership by 1.3 billion! China, which until now only broadcast the Tour de France via CCTV, will now be able to watch Paris–Roubaix live thanks to the Hysport Web TV. This will also be the first time that the race is shown live in Portugal (TVI) and on an English-speaking Canadian channel (Sportsnet). Finally, Greg LeMond is set to return to the classic… as a commentator for Eurosport.

The race in pictures


© J.Prevost

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