All hands on deck - The brutal knock-on effect of a cobbled Tour de France stage

ROUBAIX, FRANCE - JULY 15: Philippe Gilbert of Belgium and Team Quick-Step Floors / Peter Sagan of Slovakia and Team Bora Hansgrohe Green Sprint Jersey / Cobbles / Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium Yellow Leader Jersey and BMC Racing Team / Pave / Dust / during the 105th Tour de France 2018, Stage 9 a 156,5 stage from Arras Citadelle to Roubaix on July 15, 2018 in Roubaix, France. (Photo by SM - Pool/Getty Images)
The last time the cobbles were in the Tour de France on stage 9 of 2018, with Philippe Gilbert on the right and Peter Sagan following in green as Greg Van Avermaet sits in the pack in yellowThe last time the cobbles were in the Tour de France on stage 9 of 2019 (Image credit: SM - Pool/Getty Images)

Very soon now, the much-anticipated Paris-Roubaix-style stage of the Tour de France will have been completed, and even if this year's peloton is 'only' riding 19. 4 kilometres of pavé, compared to 54.8 kilometres in a regular Hell of the North, the effects could be just as telling.

That's partly because, even if uninjured, after Paris-Roubaix, it can take riders a few days or longer to recover from the physical effects of riding over kilometres of bone-jarring cobbles. However, the Tour de France peloton's form of 'switching off' from their incursion on the pavé will be rather different: a 219-kilometre, five-hour stage on Thursday that is, as it happens, the longest of the entire 2022 Tour.

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.