The sun was shining at the start of Paris-Roubaix in Compiegne for the start of l'enfer du nord, although it was the likely headwind on the exposed roads and sections of cobbles that was causing most of the debate.
As the riders signed on and gathered for the start, most predicted the headwind would create a more tactical race and perhaps favour an outsider, rather than one of the big favourites.
Cyclingnews talked to James Murdoch before he jumped into a VIP with Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford and French cycling legend Bernard Hinault.
Just before the flag was dropped and the riders rolled out, a minute's silence was held in memory of two-time winner Franco Ballerini, who died in a car rally accident on February 7. A special cobblestone prize will be awarded to the first Italian rider at he finish in the Roubaix velodrome.
195 riders rolled out from the start, with Belgium's Wilfried Cretskens (Omega Pharma-Lotto) the only none starter.
The 259km race is scheduled to finish at around 5:00pm local time in France. If you want to know more, Cyclingnews' live coverage started the moment race left Compiegne.