New and old sections of cobbles for Roubaix

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Millonfosse

In total there are 27 cobbled sections in the Paris-Roubaix parcours. Of these three are new. Well, sort of.

The new
The first two sections at Aulnoy and then Famars have been used before but dropped off the race in recent times. Now the sections have been repaired and are included again in the race. Although that doesn’t mean they have been made easy. The section from Aulnoy is 2,600 metres long and is only one of four sections to get a rating of five stars by ASO for its difficulty.

Millonfosse

The third section is a first. From Millonfosse to Bousiginies there is a 1400m stretch and it is relevant to the race as it comes 4km after the terrible Arenberg stretch, meaning the riders have less chance to regroup and chase if they lose out in Arenberg forest. Having checked the route, race directeur Jean-François Pescheux says this stretch will be crucial to the race, especially as there’s no room to ride on the side of the road, you have to take the cobbles. You can see this on the photo above, they are the Millonfosse cobbles.

The old
A quick look at the Arenberg forest. It’s a name that makes many a pro racer nervous but ask a local about the Arenberg forest and they might shrug. The local name for the woodland is the Fôret de Raismes, although the official name is La Forêt Domaniale de Raismes-Saint-Amand-Wallers. The nearby town of Wallers is known as Wallers-Arenberg so that’s where the race organisers get the term Arenberg from, only nobody else actually uses the term.

Drève des Boules d'Hérin

As for the stretch of cobbles within the forest, this is actually known as Drève des Boules d’Hérin. Drève is an old local word for lane or alley, boules means “balls” and Hérin is a nearby town. There are mine shafts right under the cobbles and in years past the route was closed due to collapsing mine shafts below. It means the surface is constantly changing, a safe passage one year might not be repeatable the next.

One more detail is that race organisers put crowd barriers on the section to hold people back but this forces riders to stick to the cobbles. ASO apparently take care to place the barriers in the middle of the night because if they were put up the day before Pescheux says they’d be knocked over by the rampaging wild boar that live in the forest. As if things weren’t dangerous enough.

Here are all the cobbled sections with their ratings:

27. Troisvilles (km 98 – 2200 m) +++
26. Viesly (km 104,5 – 1800 m) +++
25. Quievy (km 107 – 3700 m) ++++
24. Saint-Python (km 115,5 – 1500 m) ++
23. Vertain (km 119,5 – 2300 m) +++
22. Capelle-sur-Ecaillon – Le Buat (km 126,5 – 1700 m) +++
21. Aulnoy-lez-Valenciennes – Famars (km 142,5 – 2600 m) +++++
20. Famars – Quérénaing (km 146 – 1200 m) ++
19. Quérénaing – Maing (km 149 – 2500 m) +++
18. Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (km 152 – 1600 m) +++
17. Haveluy (km 164 – 2500 m) ++++
16. Trouée d’Arenberg (km 172 – 2400 m) +++++
15. Millonfosse – Bousiginies (km 178,5 – 1400 m) +++
14. Brillon à Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes (km 183,5 – 1100 m) ++
Tilloy – Sars-et-Rosières (km 186 – 2400 m) +++
13. Beuvry-la-Forêt – Orchies (km 192,5 – 1400m) +++
12. Orchies (km 197,5 – 1700 m) +++
11. Auchy-lez-Orchies – Bersée (km 203,5 – 2600 m) +++
10. Mons-en-Pévèle (km 209 – 3000 m) +++++
9. Mérignies – Avelin (km 215 – 700 m) ++
8. Pont-Thibaut (km 218,5 – 1400 m) +++
7. Templeuve l’Epinette (km 224 – 200 m) +
Le Moulin de Vertain (km 224,5 – 500 m) ++
6. Cysoing – Bourghelles (km 231 – 1300 m) ++++
Bourghelles – Wannehain (km 233,5 – 1100 m) +++
5. Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 238 – 1800 m) ++++
4. Le Carrefour de l’Arbre (km 241 – 2100 m) +++++
3. Gruson (km 243 – 1100 m) ++
2. Hem (km 250 – 1400 m) ++
1. Roubaix (km 258 – 300 m) +

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{ 6 comments }

Starr April 7, 2011 at 8:12 pm

The Arenberg (or whatever the locals call it) is now followed by a new section just 4k after coming out the forest? Yikes, this is almost ridiculous.

We literally could have the final selection made with 80k to go and could even see the final break established. That’s almost too cruel, even for the heartiest of them.

Irv April 7, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Starr: I hadn’t picked up on that. There’s only one person I can think of who could hammer to the finish for 80k.

Inrng: Stunning content every single time. Thank you.

Rick Chasey April 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm

Recon TV coverage will be up by the time the riders hit Pave #21 Famars?

TdF Lanterne Rouge April 8, 2011 at 12:00 am

You had me at “rampaging wild boar”.

Marcus Burghardt is getting nervous already about critters on the road.

benDE April 8, 2011 at 10:00 am

‘rampaging wild boar’?? Is that the polite way the northern French indicate their often too drunk neighbors to the north?

JDL April 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm

The race so difficult it is almost comical. Can’t wait for this weekend.

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