The organisers of Paris-Roubaix, ASO, have revealed details of the 2018 race, confirming that the 257km route will include 29 cobblestone sectors between Compiègne and the finish line in the Roubaix Velodrome. This year marks the 116th edition of the race and it will be held on April 8.
There will be a total of 54.5km of pave this year, slightly fewer than last year's 55km, but still higher than the average of 52.58km of pavé, which is calculated over the previous 10 editions. Organisers have added two new pavé sectors through Cambresis, and then 1.5km between Saint-Hilaire and Saint-Vaast.
The first cobbled sectors once again start after reaching Troisvilles, which is located at roughly 100 kilometres into the race, and the following 30km will include some course changes. For example, organisers have brought back the Saint-Python sector, which was not used last year, however the riders will cross it in the reverse direction to past years. That sector will be followed by the new segment in Cambresis, and between Saint-Hilaire and Sant-Vaast.
In an official press release, organisers have said that these changes are not expected to play a big role in the outcome of the event.
The route retains its traditional and decisive cobblestone sections along the Trouée d'Arenberg, the Mons-en-Pévèle sector and the Carrefour de l'Arbre before the finish in Roubaix.
In January, ASO announced the seven wild card teams invited to compete in this year's race alongside the 18 WorldTour teams that are automatically invited. Those teams include returning Professional Continental outfits Veranda's Willems-Crelan, Cofidis, Delko Marseille Provence KTM, Direct Energie and Team Fortuneo-Siamsic, while teams WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic and Vital Concept Cycling Club will make their debuts at Paris-Roubaix.
Last year's race was the fastest on record as Greg Van Avermaet won the race in a velodrome-sprint ahead of Zdenek Stybar, Sebastian Langeveld, Jasper Stuyven and Gianni Moscon. It was the first Monument victory of Van Avermaet's career. He went into the race as the obvious favourite having already won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and he was second at the Tour of Flanders.
In a recent interview with Cyclingnews, Van Avermaet said there are 10-15 riders who could win Paris-Roubaix this year, pointing to Peter Sagan as one of them. He also tipped his former BMC teammate Philippe Gilbert as a possible winner this year.
Organisers noted that this year's race will pass through the Glade of the Armistice, where the armistice that ended World War I was signed on November 11, 1918.
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