THE COBBLES RETURN: PARIS-ROUBAIX PREVIEW
WHAT TO EXPECT AT PARIS ROUBAIX 2022
In 2022, Paris-Roubaix returns to its traditional springtime date, with the start of the 119th edition on Sunday 17 April in Compiègne. The riders will battle on an essentially unchanged course of 257.2 km, including 54.8 km of cobbles. Of the 30 sectors, three will be of particular interest to the future riders of the Tour de France, who will take them on, once again, on stage 5.
After their maiden race on the cobbles in October 2021, the women’s peloton will kick off the action with edition two of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift on Saturday, 16 April. The 124.7 km course between Denain and Roubaix will include 29.2km of cobbles
Three years after Philippe Gilbert’s victory, the Paris-Roubaix peloton will return to the cobbles in April, on a slightly unusual date with the Amstel Gold Race having been requested to switch calendar slots due to the impossibility of disrupting road traffic on the day of the first round of the presidential election. Nevertheless, in a return to tradition, the Queen of the Classics will, once again, take place on Easter Sunday. It is also on a course in keeping with the spirit of the event where cycling’s best acrobats will battle, with the first cobbled sector immediately after the village of Troisvilles.
The slight changes from the October 2021 route concern the Cambrésis cobbled sectors, but they shouldn’t change their impact on the race. After the peloton thins, the first battle of the contenders for victory begins with the Trouée d’Arenberg, which is a monster, whatever the weather conditions. This year, the immediate aftermath of Arenberg will also serve as a preview of stage 5 of the Tour de France, when it will encounter the sectors of Hornaing-Wandignies (#17), Warlaing-Brillon (#16) and Tilloy-Sars-et-Rosières (#15). From there, nearly 70 kilometres to the Roubaix velodrome, with some cruel portions like the passages through Mons-en-Pévèle and the Carrefour de l’Arbre. There will be no shortage of moments of truth!
After a slippery and muddy version of Paris-Roubaix last October, the women’s peloton will become familiar with its traditional springtime atmosphere on Saturday, 16 April. While the total distance of the cobbled sectors will not change, this year’s race is 8 kilometres longer. This will be felt in the legs during the final push for victory.
The 29.2 kilometres of cobbles, over 17 sectors, proved to be very selective in the first-ever women’s race. It will be more of the same for 2022, with the last 85 kilometres of the course being modelled on the men’s race, starting in the town of Hornaing. And the riders must not forget that a breakaway is a bonafide possibility. Geat Britain’s Liz Deignan won the inaugural race with a solo ride of more than 80 kilometres. The element of surprise is no longer.