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Race tech: Behind the glamour at Paris-Roubaix

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When the race is as flat as Paris - Roubaix, spectators will take advantage of any high spots!

When the race is as flat as Paris - Roubaix, spectators will take advantage of any high spots! (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Tom Boonen takes the applause as he rides his first lap of the Roubaix velodrome

Tom Boonen takes the applause as he rides his first lap of the Roubaix velodrome (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The group behind Boonen start the sprint for second place in the velodrome

The group behind Boonen start the sprint for second place in the velodrome (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Lars Boom finishes the race on his cyclo cross bike, totally spent in 6th place

Lars Boom finishes the race on his cyclo cross bike, totally spent in 6th place (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Tom Boonen, Sebastien Turgot and Alessandro Ballan on the podium

Tom Boonen, Sebastien Turgot and Alessandro Ballan on the podium (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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One of very few damaged team cars in this years race. Europcar obviously had a friendly tap from behind

One of very few damaged team cars in this years race. Europcar obviously had a friendly tap from behind (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Gregory Henderson of Lotto Belisol returns his jammed Ridley

Gregory Henderson of Lotto Belisol returns his jammed Ridley (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This Team Sky Jaguar X Type looked to have raised suspension for this race

This Team Sky Jaguar X Type looked to have raised suspension for this race (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This is a Team Sky Jaguar X-Type with normal ride height

This is a Team Sky Jaguar X-Type with normal ride height (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A pile of Saxo Bank Specialized Roubaix machines in need of a wash

A pile of Saxo Bank Specialized Roubaix machines in need of a wash (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This second placed Saur Sojasun rider is clearly comfortable cornering on the dirt as he lifts the front wheel mid corner to change direction!

This second placed Saur Sojasun rider is clearly comfortable cornering on the dirt as he lifts the front wheel mid corner to change direction! (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Some well prepared French fans

Some well prepared French fans (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Those at the rear of the peloton demonstrate their more cautious line choices

Those at the rear of the peloton demonstrate their more cautious line choices (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Main command vehicle for the Garde Républicaine on this race is a Land Rover Defender

Main command vehicle for the Garde Républicaine on this race is a Land Rover Defender (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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One of the Mavic neutral service motos with wheel rack and pillion mechanic holding spares

One of the Mavic neutral service motos with wheel rack and pillion mechanic holding spares (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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One of the Mavic neutral service cars in the gap between break and peloton

One of the Mavic neutral service cars in the gap between break and peloton (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Press motos spend all day in the clouds of dust, which gets in to everything

Press motos spend all day in the clouds of dust, which gets in to everything (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The blackboard motorbike in a hurry crossing the gap up to the leading group

The blackboard motorbike in a hurry crossing the gap up to the leading group (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The race organisation cars were unmodified Skoda Superbs

The race organisation cars were unmodified Skoda Superbs (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Can you imagine travelling along at 45kph while holding a heavy TV camera inches from the cobbles, right in front of the favourites, and not looking where you're going?

Can you imagine travelling along at 45kph while holding a heavy TV camera inches from the cobbles, right in front of the favourites, and not looking where you're going? (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Ricardo Garcia of Euskaltel suffered a broken seatpot clamp

Ricardo Garcia of Euskaltel suffered a broken seatpot clamp (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Euskaltel's Garcia gets pushed off on a new machine

Euskaltel's Garcia gets pushed off on a new machine (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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No matter how much they scrub, this Roubaix dust won't come out

No matter how much they scrub, this Roubaix dust won't come out (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Luke Roberts' Specialized with a flat tubular

Luke Roberts' Specialized with a flat tubular (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Luke Roberts had the only two part parcours details we saw

Luke Roberts had the only two part parcours details we saw (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Vacansoleil had three models at the race, the Impulso, Infinito and Oltre. We're not sure if the Oltre was raced or just there as a spare.

Vacansoleil had three models at the race, the Impulso, Infinito and Oltre. We're not sure if the Oltre was raced or just there as a spare. (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Chainslap marks on this Vacansoleil rider's Bianchi Impulso

Chainslap marks on this Vacansoleil rider's Bianchi Impulso (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A Bianchi having a well needed clean

A Bianchi having a well needed clean (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A Bianchi having a well needed clean

A Bianchi having a well needed clean (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A TRP calliper on a Saur Sojasun Time frame

A TRP calliper on a Saur Sojasun Time frame (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The Saur Sojasun mechanics set up shop in a bus stop

The Saur Sojasun mechanics set up shop in a bus stop (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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After the race, the Mavic staff visit all of the teams to swap over the many wheels which were loaned by neutral service during the race

After the race, the Mavic staff visit all of the teams to swap over the many wheels which were loaned by neutral service during the race (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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These Quickstep fans favour a 1970s theme

These Quickstep fans favour a 1970s theme (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Mavic transport their neutral service motorbikes in this neat trailer

Mavic transport their neutral service motorbikes in this neat trailer (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Some of the wheels used by Greenedge in the race

Some of the wheels used by Greenedge in the race (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The Green Edge mechanics cleaning their team bikes

The Green Edge mechanics cleaning their team bikes (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This MCipollini bike suffered some crash damage with a bent lever and unravelled tape

This MCipollini bike suffered some crash damage with a bent lever and unravelled tape (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The state of one of BMC's new GF01s after the race

The state of one of BMC's new GF01s after the race (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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One BMC team car showing the days dirt

One BMC team car showing the days dirt (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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It wasn't only the riders that suffered from punctures out on the course

It wasn't only the riders that suffered from punctures out on the course (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This Lotto Belisol rider has trimmed the right heel of his Pearl Izumi shoe

This Lotto Belisol rider has trimmed the right heel of his Pearl Izumi shoe (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The AG2R team's stack of wheels for service

The AG2R team's stack of wheels for service (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Cycling teams are masters at squeezing their vehicles in to the tightest spaces

Cycling teams are masters at squeezing their vehicles in to the tightest spaces (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A Katusha Canyon showing the effects of a dusty day

A Katusha Canyon showing the effects of a dusty day (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The Katusha mechanic's bus set up shop outside these houses. We hope the owners were cycling fans

The Katusha mechanic's bus set up shop outside these houses. We hope the owners were cycling fans (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This Bretagne-Schuller KTM rear Di2 mech has suffered some crash damage

This Bretagne-Schuller KTM rear Di2 mech has suffered some crash damage (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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At the end of a mammoth bike cleaning session, the brushes and sponges are packed away until the next day

At the end of a mammoth bike cleaning session, the brushes and sponges are packed away until the next day (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A Cofidis Fan Club member acts as an extra spare wheel man in a sector of pave. There are so many sectors that a team can not cover them all with personnel alone.

A Cofidis Fan Club member acts as an extra spare wheel man in a sector of pave. There are so many sectors that a team can not cover them all with personnel alone. (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The crowd at the start in Compiegne are a mixed bunch

The crowd at the start in Compiegne are a mixed bunch (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Skoda's Octvia Scout was also car of choice for Katusha

Skoda's Octvia Scout was also car of choice for Katusha (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The Garde Républicaine who protect French races rode their usual motorbikes until the first sector of pave at 97.5km then handed over to colleagues riding more suitable trail bikes

The Garde Républicaine who protect French races rode their usual motorbikes until the first sector of pave at 97.5km then handed over to colleagues riding more suitable trail bikes (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This marshal's motorbike seemed less suited to the conditions

This marshal's motorbike seemed less suited to the conditions (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Radioshack use their usual Nissan Qashqai team cars

Radioshack use their usual Nissan Qashqai team cars (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Radioshack parked their team cars around the bus like a wild west circle of wagons. We should've guessed Armstrong was in there!

Radioshack parked their team cars around the bus like a wild west circle of wagons. We should've guessed Armstrong was in there! (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Euskaltel's 4WD Skoda Octavia Scout is better suited to the cobbles ahead

Euskaltel's 4WD Skoda Octavia Scout is better suited to the cobbles ahead (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This Ridley had its parcours details on some white cloth tape

This Ridley had its parcours details on some white cloth tape (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The Helium fork didn't allow for great tyre clearance

The Helium fork didn't allow for great tyre clearance (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A closer look at Liquigas-Cannondale's disc equipped talking point. The Avid BB7 road calliper is very neatly mounted and has a relatively small disc rotor

A closer look at Liquigas-Cannondale's disc equipped talking point. The Avid BB7 road calliper is very neatly mounted and has a relatively small disc rotor (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A more suitable motorbike for the blackboard crew

A more suitable motorbike for the blackboard crew (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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One Cofodis rider at least was relishing the challenge to come

One Cofodis rider at least was relishing the challenge to come (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The same bike had a Campy Tech Lab rear mech too

The same bike had a Campy Tech Lab rear mech too (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Green Edge sponsor Subaru supply the team with 4WD Legacys

Green Edge sponsor Subaru supply the team with 4WD Legacys (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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AG2R's Lloyd Mondory's parcours notes were particularly detailed

AG2R's Lloyd Mondory's parcours notes were particularly detailed (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Movistar used Volvo XC70s to tame the cobbles

Movistar used Volvo XC70s to tame the cobbles (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Euskaltel were riding some prototype Vittoria tyres on their Ambrosio rims

Euskaltel were riding some prototype Vittoria tyres on their Ambrosio rims (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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An Astana mechanic makes final tyre pressure adjustments

An Astana mechanic makes final tyre pressure adjustments (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Astana's Assan Bazayev still favours a negative rise stem on his tiny Roubaix SL3, and fewer spokes than most

Astana's Assan Bazayev still favours a negative rise stem on his tiny Roubaix SL3, and fewer spokes than most (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Another beefed up press moto

Another beefed up press moto (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This trusty photographer's moto has seen many races

This trusty photographer's moto has seen many races (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A Movistar Pinarello fitted with a Campy Tech Lab labelled front mech, neatly mounted battery and SRM measuring system

A Movistar Pinarello fitted with a Campy Tech Lab labelled front mech, neatly mounted battery and SRM measuring system (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The rear end of this bike looks almost unchanged from the cyclo cross frame with long chain stays and huge clearances

The rear end of this bike looks almost unchanged from the cyclo cross frame with long chain stays and huge clearances (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Although fitted with Mavic's 23mm rubber, the Super X road frame shows far more tyre clearance than any Paris-Roubaix tyres could ever need

Although fitted with Mavic's 23mm rubber, the Super X road frame shows far more tyre clearance than any Paris-Roubaix tyres could ever need (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The addition of the top tube disc cable is the only change from normal

The addition of the top tube disc cable is the only change from normal (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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AG2R employ helpers of all ages for this race

AG2R employ helpers of all ages for this race (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A Europcar team helper with spare wheels in sector 17

A Europcar team helper with spare wheels in sector 17 (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Saur Sojasun's four legged supporters

Saur Sojasun's four legged supporters (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A Katusha team helper with spare wheels in sector 24

A Katusha team helper with spare wheels in sector 24 (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A Farnese Vini helper waits with spare wheels just in case

A Farnese Vini helper waits with spare wheels just in case (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Once the cobbled sectors begin, the road based Garde Républicaine escort hand over to their trail bike riding colleagues

Once the cobbled sectors begin, the road based Garde Républicaine escort hand over to their trail bike riding colleagues (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Sky's Matthew Hayman shows nerves of steel by taking a drink during the pave

Sky's Matthew Hayman shows nerves of steel by taking a drink during the pave (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Watching the race out in the fields is quite unique

Watching the race out in the fields is quite unique (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Movistar's Imanol Erviti takes a rear wheel from a team mate after puncturing as it is much quicker than waiting for the team car

Movistar's Imanol Erviti takes a rear wheel from a team mate after puncturing as it is much quicker than waiting for the team car (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Maybe this team helper is also a paramedic

Maybe this team helper is also a paramedic (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A Belgian fan reverts to type with images of Duvel beer bottles and a packet of frites on his hat. We can only imagine what he'll be doing with that megaphone!

A Belgian fan reverts to type with images of Duvel beer bottles and a packet of frites on his hat. We can only imagine what he'll be doing with that megaphone! (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Argos Shimano team spare wheels out on the course

Argos Shimano team spare wheels out on the course (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This Wilier looks to be a modified Mortirolo carbon cyclo cross frame drilled for a calliper. The long reach Shimano calliper still has its delivery tape on.

This Wilier looks to be a modified Mortirolo carbon cyclo cross frame drilled for a calliper. The long reach Shimano calliper still has its delivery tape on. (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The Wilier uses the same long reach calliper up front, but with less clearance the pads are near the top of their adjustment slots

The Wilier uses the same long reach calliper up front, but with less clearance the pads are near the top of their adjustment slots (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Imanol Erviti of Movistar shows his taped fingers while sticking on his parcours crib sheet. Taping can help reduce the effects of vibration through the joints.

Imanol Erviti of Movistar shows his taped fingers while sticking on his parcours crib sheet. Taping can help reduce the effects of vibration through the joints. (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Some BMC riders await the race start in front of the signing on podium

Some BMC riders await the race start in front of the signing on podium (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Some local club cyclists assemble for the ceremonial race roll out

Some local club cyclists assemble for the ceremonial race roll out (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Most riders look more nervous than usual at the Compiegne start

Most riders look more nervous than usual at the Compiegne start (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The riders roll away from the start in Compiegne

The riders roll away from the start in Compiegne (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The two final vehicles in this race each have trailers to carry the bikes of abandoning riders

The two final vehicles in this race each have trailers to carry the bikes of abandoning riders (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Leaving nothing to chance, the Garde Républicaine take a spare motorbike

Leaving nothing to chance, the Garde Républicaine take a spare motorbike (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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After giving his team mate Erviti a wheel, this Movistar rider finally gets going again with a replacement, only for his chain to get caught up

After giving his team mate Erviti a wheel, this Movistar rider finally gets going again with a replacement, only for his chain to get caught up (Image credit: BikeRadar)

This article appeared on Bikeradar

We’ve shown you the level of support WorldTour teams require while preparing for the most brutal one-day race on the calendar, and now we take a look at what happens on race day. From final bike tweaks to vehicles that are brought in specially for this unique challenge, the race convoy at Paris-Roubaix resembles no other.

Rugged four-wheel-drive vehicles have mostly replaced the traditional fitting of sump guards to team cars, although typically, Sky seem to have found another solution. Out on the course are dozens of team personnel and helpers, ready to assist their riders in the tortuous pavé sectors, when a support vehicle could be some distance behind. Then after it’s all over, the team mechanics are faced with one of their biggest cleanup and repair tasks of the season.

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