Haveluy: in a spin… (3/7)


martin (tony) - (all) - - boonen (tom) - (bel) - ©

On tackling the last 100 kilometres, the riders have “only” covered 17 kilometres of cobbles. The number of punctures and falls is already starting to mount and the Arenberg section, deadly to many a rider's hopes, is approaching. However, sometimes the battle may well start as soon as Haveluy, which is very conducive to winning moves.

On the tracks of the cobbles…
Each week, letour.fr will be taking a detailed look at a place that has marked the history of Paris-Roubaix. The series continues in Haveluy, around one hundred kilometres from the finish... at a point where the cull of pretenders for victory becomes much more vicious.
Modern washing machines allow their users to carefully adjust the speed of spin required. The same principle can be applied to the cobbled sections on Paris-Roubaix, with the level of difficulty giving an idea of just what sort of a spin the riders will find themselves in. At the end of the 1990's, the route on the Queen of the Classics included a stretch of tarmac that was considered to be too comfortable and especially conducive to regrouping, between the passage through Valenciennes and the Trouée d'Arenberg section, separated by twenty kilometres. The detour required to take in Haveluy, where a 2.5-kilometre cobbled lane is located, made it possible to put the riders in even more of a spin and to kick off a cull which only becomes even more formidable.
On entering the Haveluy section, a headstone pays tribute to Jean Donain, a very knowledgeable connoisseur of the area through his position as organiser of the Denain Grand Prix. It was Mr. Donain who suggested to Jean-François Pescheux, in charge of drawing up the route at the time, to incorporate this cobbled section that was capable of slimming down the pack. This malicious stretch of route was adopted from the 2001 edition onwards and the best strategists soon grasped the opportunities thrown up by these disjointed and sometimes flooded cobbles, even if they were still 100 kilometres from the finish. Moves made in Haveluy are not always successful, but last year, it was precisely at this point when Tony Martin and Tom Boonen, then team-mates and in pursuit of the breakaway, put in an acceleration that left Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara in their wake. Thereafter, the World Champion and the foremost future retiree in the pack were not able to regain contact with the race leaders…

The race in pictures


Martin (tony) - (all) - - boonen (tom) - (bel) - ©

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