This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
The 2018 edition of Paris-Roubaix was won by Peter Sagan's (Bora-Hansgrohe) powerful attack with 50 kilometres remaining was unmatched and ultimately unbeatable despite a heroic effort from Swiss national champion Silvan Dillier (AG2R La Mondiale), who finished second to Sagan in a sprint after surviving a full day in the breakaway.
The Paris-Roubaix 2018 podium bikes: Sagan's S-Works Roubaix, Dillier's Factor O2 and Terpstra's S-Works Tarmac
The race and day was overshadowed by the tragic death of 23-year-old Michael Goolaerts who suffered a cardiac arrest after around 100 kilometres of racing. The Belgian was racing his first Paris-Roubaix in his fourth season with the Verandas Willems-Crelan team.
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The season's third Monument has the reputation for the toughest one-day race on the calendar for good reason. Over 50 kilometres of brutal pavé litters 29 secteurs, with punctures more a probability than just bad luck during the race.
To combat the cobbles, almost every rider will switch to wider and more robust tyres for the race. French handmade tubular tyre specialists FMB have built the reputation as the most reliable offerings for the race, with several teams opting to pay extra for these rather than using their sponsors' offerings.
Continental and Specialized also have their own lines of rubber developed specifically to cope with the race and the general trend of the peloton is to use at least 27/28mm, with several riders opting for 30mm or more.
Supplementary brakes and discs
Unlike the Tour of Flanders, where not a single rider opted to race on disc brakes, several teams committed completely to racing disc brakes for Paris-Roubaix.
Team Sunweb, EF Education First-Drapac, Direct Energie and Trek-Segafredo all started the race with their riders on disc brake-equipped bikes, alongside several other teams who had disc brake bikes as spares on the team cars.
For those racing on regular rim brake bikes, additional brake levers for either one or both brakes on the handlebar tops was an option for riders on Quick-Step Floors, BMC Racing and Verandas Willems-Crelan.
Handlebar suspension and rear suspension
Used during last year's edition of the race, Specialized's 'Future Shock' handlebar suspension system made a return to the race with the Bora-Hansgrohe and Quick-Step Floors teams.
For this year's edition of the race, a lock-out knob at the top of the steerer allowed riders to switch between suspended bars for the cobbled sections and fixed bars for the asphalt, which accounts for around eighty-percent of the race.
Team Sky raced aboard updated versions of the Pinarello K10 frameset, which features a rear shock at the top of the seat stays in an effort to improve compliance and efficiency over the cobbles, while at the same time reducing fatigue.
Last year's version of the suspension system was controlled via a switch attached to the handlebars whereas this year's version is completely automatic and adapts to the road conditions.
Double-wrapped handlebars and taped wrists, knuckles and fingers
Despite new shock absorbing technologies coming to handlebar tape in recent years, the tradition of double wrapping handlebars for the race continues, with some teams clearly more versed in it than others.
In an attempt to support wrists and fingers over the cobbles, plenty of riders also taped up parts of their hands with bandages and kinesiology tape.
Shimano Ultegra everywhere and Dura-Ace 9000 makes a resurgence
Perhaps utilising older stock, or more likely cutting costs in a race that willingly destroys components, several teams used plenty of Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 components with LottoNL-Jumbo exclusively using the components including groupsets and wheels.
Shimano Ultegra components are also surprisingly common in the WorldTour with EF-Drapac, AG2R La Mondiale and Astana all opting to use chains or cassettes from Shimano's second-tier range. A rider from WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic took this a step further and raced the Monument on a full Shimano Ultegra 6800 series groupset.
Click or swipe through the extensive gallery above to see all of the tech on show at the Hell of the North.
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