Gallery: On the start line at Paris-Roubaix

Boonen, Cancellara and Vanmarcke line up

The cobbled classics end today with Paris-Roubaix, the third monument of the season. It was a cloudy start to the day and the riders came to sign-on dressed in their warmer clothing. To the delight of most, however, it was dry and it’s expected to get warmer throughout the day.

There were plenty of fans packed into the small Place du Général de Gaulle, as the riders filed through to the main stage. Fresh from his recent Tour of Flanders victory, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) is the favourite to do the double this year. However, there are a number of strong riders who are looking to stop him from doing just that.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep has fielded yet another impressive team. They want to put the disappointment of failing to podium at Flanders behind them and get someone onto the top step. Four-time winner of the race Tom Boonen isn’t in top form, but he is flanked by Niki Terpstra and Zdenek Stybar at the head of the team.

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) is only riding his third Paris-Roubaix. He was upset to not feature on the podium last week and is hoping to rectify that, but his inexperience could hamper him. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is also returning to the race with ambitions for the podium.

The dry weather could make for a very dusty and fast race, and the anticipated slight headwind could also be a factor.

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