Troisvilles: ready, steady… shake! (2/7)


Paris Roubaix 2014 - 13/05/2014 - Secteur pave N° 28 Troisvilles a Inchy ©

The most hardened of Paris-Roubaix enthusiasts start their day of reconnoitring the route by tasting an omelette in the only bistro in Troisvilles, Chez Françoise. On the day of the race, the riders in the pack will have their minds on something else as they cross through this village in northern France: the rapidly approaching first cobbled section.

On the tracks of the cobbles…
Each week, will be taking a detailed look at a place that has marked the history of Paris-Roubaix. The series continues in Troisvilles, where the first of the 29 cobbled sections is located.
The first cobbled section on Paris-Roubaix commences shortly after the ride along Rue de la Sucrerie, but, despite what the street's sugary name may suggest, there is nothing sweet about this introduction! After the start in Compiègne, the first 100 kilometres are generally covered at a swift pace by the pack, whilst a good handful of breakaway riders are under illusions of success as they pedal at the forefront. The race favourites will not have awaited the entrance to the village of Troisvilles to put their team-mates into action, going shoulder to shoulder with other riders and flirting with the road verges to reach the front. The tension that reigns over the race at this vital moment is best described by Stephen Roche: “There are some guys who would kill their mother to be among the first riders”.
The first encounter with the cobbles has taken place in Troisvilles since 1987, after 98 kilometres of racing. Of course, the hardest part of the race still awaits, but the test to overcome on the first two kilometres of cobbles (2,200 m to be precise, with a 3-star classification) offers a wealth of insights. The sensations rarely tell lies at this stage of the race: the leaders will know if they have the legs to win, but also whether they are mentally ready to throw themselves into the endless sequence of juddering that they will have to tackle to reach Roubaix.
The resilient riders will already be put through the mill on the route leading from Troisvilles to Inchy, even though the cull among the pack has only just started. Many twists in the tale still await, but sometimes the riders who go on the attack at this point meet with a glorious destiny at the end of the day. Such was the case for Australian Mathew Hayman, involved in the morning's breakaway last year, unaware that he was going to experience the finest day of his career, just like his countryman Stuart O'Grady ten years ago. In Troisvilles, anything can happen.

The race in pictures


CYCLISME - 2012 - - sortie du premier secteur pavé (Troisvilles) ©

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