This Sunday sees the cobbled Classics draw to a close, with Paris-Roubaix bringing down the curtain on what has been a gripping campaign thus far.
As ever, the Hell of the North is a race with a number of high profile characters and intriguing subplots that unfold as the 29 sectors of pave countdown.
It will be the last competitive outing for Tom Boonen (Quick-Step Floors), who will end his career on the Roubaix velodrome. The Belgian will be hoping to make history and become the first rider to win five titles. But Paris-Roubaix can be as cruel as it can be kind and a moment of bad luck can be detrimentally costly. Boonen has looked in fine form in recent weeks and has made no secret of the fact that the race has been his primary target but he is not the only rider on the start line with a strong set of credentials.
Former winners Johh Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo), Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step Floors) and Mat Hayman (Orica-Scott) are bound to have their say, while in-form world champion, Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) will be looking for revenge after his untimely crash in last weekend’s Tour of Flanders. The Slovak has never made it onto the podium in Paris-Roubaix but if he can remain in contention when the race hits the most important sectors of pave, few would bet against him being a major factor.
Another rider looking to make amends after missing out in Flanders is Greg Van Avermaet. The BMC leader has enjoyed his most successful spring to date but he will be desperate to land his first Monument on Sunday.
Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) make up Cyclingnews’ 10 riders to watch in Paris Roubaix.
Who is your favourite for victory? Post your predictions in the comments below.
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