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Gallery: Team Sky and QuickStep recon Tour de France cobbles

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Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in a black version of his national champion kit

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in a black version of his national champion kit
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) getting ready for the Tour's cobbles

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) getting ready for the Tour's cobbles
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) knows how to ride the cobbles

Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) knows how to ride the cobbles
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma QuickStep) in action

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma QuickStep) in action
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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A solitary fan watches Tony Martin ride by

A solitary fan watches Tony Martin ride by
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Omega Pharma QuickStep were out in force over the cobbles

Omega Pharma QuickStep were out in force over the cobbles
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Both Team Sky and Omega Pharma were out together

Both Team Sky and Omega Pharma were out together
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Jan Bakelants and Niki Terpstra ride through the Arenberg Forest

Jan Bakelants and Niki Terpstra ride through the Arenberg Forest
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky)

2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Chris Froome (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Richie Porte (Team Sky)

Richie Porte (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Geraint Thomas came close to winning a Tour de France stage on the cobbles in 2010

Geraint Thomas came close to winning a Tour de France stage on the cobbles in 2010
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Team Sky's leader, Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Team Sky's leader, Chris Froome (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) will need to keep out of trouble on the cobbles at the Tour de France

Chris Froome (Team Sky) will need to keep out of trouble on the cobbles at the Tour de France
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, and Chris Froome

Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas, and Chris Froome
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Team Sky have a former Paris-Roubaix winner in Servais Knaven

Team Sky have a former Paris-Roubaix winner in Servais Knaven
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) takes questions from the local press

Chris Froome (Team Sky) takes questions from the local press
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) takes questions from the local press

Chris Froome (Team Sky) takes questions from the local press
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome in action

Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome in action
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome find the best line

Chris Froome find the best line
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Defending Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky)

Defending Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome (Team Sky) hasn't raced on the cobbles during a Tour de France

Chris Froome (Team Sky) hasn't raced on the cobbles during a Tour de France
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Riche Porte (Team Sky) takes in the cobbles

Riche Porte (Team Sky) takes in the cobbles
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Roughly a month to go until the start of the Tour de France

Roughly a month to go until the start of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michal Kwiatkowski in white

Michal Kwiatkowski in white
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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The Arenberg in summer is different place to the one the world sees during the spring classics

The Arenberg in summer is different place to the one the world sees during the spring classics
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma QuickStep) leads his teammates

Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma QuickStep) leads his teammates
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma QuickStep)

Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma QuickStep)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma QuickStep)

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma QuickStep)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma QuickStep)

Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma QuickStep)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Omega Pharma QuickStep train over the cobbles that will be used during this year's Tour de France

Omega Pharma QuickStep train over the cobbles that will be used during this year's Tour de France
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Omega Pharma QuickStep train over the cobbles that will be used during this year's Tour de France

Omega Pharma QuickStep train over the cobbles that will be used during this year's Tour de France
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma QuickStep)

Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma QuickStep)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome and Gert Steegmans

Chris Froome and Gert Steegmans
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michal Kwiatkowski and Mark Renshaw

Michal Kwiatkowski and Mark Renshaw
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma QuickStep) looks for the best line

Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma QuickStep) looks for the best line
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma) will be a protected ride at the Tour de France

Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma) will be a protected ride at the Tour de France
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish in a new version of the national road title kit

Mark Cavendish in a new version of the national road title kit
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Renshaw and his teammate Mark Cavendish

Mark Renshaw and his teammate Mark Cavendish
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Terpstra leads his tired lookings teammates over the cobbles

Terpstra leads his tired lookings teammates over the cobbles
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma QuickStep)

Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma QuickStep)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) is experienced on the cobbles

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) is experienced on the cobbles
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

It's just over a month until the start of the 2014 Tour de France and teams are busily putting their final touches to their preparation. While Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali train at altitude Team Sky's Chris Froome and Omega Pharma QuickStep's Mark Cavendish have camped out in North Europe as they ride reconnaissance over the cobbles that will feature in this year's Tour.

There are nine sectors of cobbles, all of which feature in Paris-Roubaix, that have been crambed into stage 5 of this year's Tour and the stage could be as crucial as any of the mountain stages in this year's race.

Both Team Sky and Omega Pharma QuickStep enjoyed fine weather as they trained. Omega took nine riders on recon, including Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terptra, Cavendish and their GC hope for the Tour, Michal Kwiatkowski.

"I think Kwiatkowski is, out of the GC contenders, one of the most capable of riding on the cobbles," Rolf Aldag said on the team's website. 

"He did it last year with a spectacular Tour of Flanders, and races like E3 Harelbeke, and so on. I think he's used to it, so it won't be shocking. It's more about the tactical situation for him at the Tour de France rather than getting used to the feel."

"The thing during the Tour is you have different interests. You have a limited number of riders who go for the stage wins, because they still have captains for the GC they have to protect. So, it's going to be a slightly different race that isn't as clear as a Paris-Roubaix where you have a Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara, or Sep Vanmarcke and all the teams will support their guys to clearly win that one-day race. At the Tour it's a little more complicated. You may see teams that maybe will chase, not because they want a stage win, but maybe in that group there may be a GC contender who will try to get away before the cobbles."

The last time the Tour de France included cobbles of such magnitude was in 2010, when Thor Hushovd won an action-packed stage that saw Frank Shleck crash out and Lance Armstrong lose time. Second on that day was Geraint Thomas and the Sky rider was back again today, leading Richie Porte and Chris Froome through the nine sectors.