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The cobblestones of the Arenberg Forest await the peloton.
Restored cobblestone sections still bound to be slippery
These last few years, conditions have always been warm and dry for the riders of Paris-Roubaix, but the 2012 edition could turn out quite different. The French weather forecast has predicted rain in Northern France as of Wednesday, and the wet weather could well continue over the weekend, including Sunday's race. Temperatures have been announced to range from 3-12°C on the day.
Of course, predictions will get more precise towards the end of the week, but teams may be up for some rain drops on their recon rides, starting Thursday. The 257.5km-course, unchanged from last year, will again include 27 cobblestone sectors on a total of 51.5km. Once again, several of these sectors have been subject to restoration. Local high school children have worked to renovate certain portions in Viesly (after 104 km), Aulnoy-lez-Valenciennes (after 142 km) and Millonfosse (after 178.5 km).
Furthermore, two of the decisive sections of Paris-Roubaix have been restored professionally: the famous Trouée d'Arenberg and the Mons-en-Pévèle section, where the instability of the cobbles could have been a threat to the riders' safety. The cost of the works have been reported to be 55,000 Euros per 100 meters of cobbles. Despite these efforts, Paris-Roubaix could still be a slippery race if the weather forecast turns out right.