February 07, 2015 – With a total distance of 253 kilometres between Compiègne and the Roubaix velodrome, the 113th edition of the Queen of the Classics, which will take place on April 12, holds 52.7 km of cobbles in store for the riders (1.6 km more than in 2014). The cobbles will be spread over 27 sections, three of which will also be on the programme for the 4th stage of the Tour de France…
The start of the season never lasts very long. For the leading lights of the pack, the objectives are as lofty as they are rare. They are meticulously prepared, especially with great anticipation. Some of them have therefore set their focus on Paris-Roubaix, the route of which this year slightly differs from 2014, but which is identical to the one that the pack tackled in 2013. The changes concern the section around Valenciennes, located at the half-way distance of the race and more particularly just after the thrills of the day’s first cobbles, situated as always, at Troisvilles (after 97.5 km). Whatever happens there, the decisive charges for victory in the velodrome take place, more often than not, further north in the Nord-Pas de Calais, where the most perilous portions still await the riders: the Trouée d’Arenberg (after 158 km), Mons-en-Pévèle (after 205 km) and the Carrefour de l’Arbre (after 236.5 km).
However, the 2015 route also boasts certain characteristics that will not go unnoticed by the pretenders for a podium finish on the Tour de France. As everybody saw, Le Tour title holder Vincenzo Nibali stole a march on his competitors thanks to his robustness and agility over the kilometres of cobbles preceding the finish in Arenberg last summer. A similar scenario is by no means beyond the realms of possibility in Cambrai on 7th July. Even though the stage on Le Tour will make the riders tackle them the opposite way round, in April the most watchful competitors will seize the opportunity to carry out reconnoitring in racing conditions on the three sections that the Tour de France will share with Paris-Roubaix.
The cobble sections included in both Paris-Roubaix and the 4th stage of the Tour de France 2015:
Quiévy (after 107.5 km – 3,700 m)
Saint-Python (after 112.5 km – 1,500 m)
Verchain-Maugré (after 130 km – 1,600 m)