Muddy Paris-Roubaix cobbles get preview by contenders - Gallery

There are only three days until Paris-Roubaix finally returns after an 30-month absence due to the coronavirus pandemic, and riders previewed a very different course to what they normally experience in April.

Tall crops, weeds and green grass lined the sectors of pavé as favourites Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën) rode across mud-slicked cobbles.

The Arenberg forest pavé, which last week had almost disappeared beneath a blanket of weeds, has been carefully groomed, and recent rains brought out hues of red, brown and blue in the ancient stones.

After heavy rain on Wednesday, workers were busy clearing a deep section of mud from one sector but not before Van der Poel and his Alpecin-Fenix team had passed. Senne Leysen was an unfortunate victim of the slick conditions and emerged with his back covered in mud.

Riders will now review their tyre choices and pressures and dial in their equipment for Sunday's six-hour sufferfest.

Cyclingnews will have full live coverage of Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, October 3 from 11:00 a.m. CDT to the finish.

Click or swipe through the above gallery to see all the images.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Cyclingnews is the world's leader in English-language coverage of professional cycling. Started in 1995 by University of Newcastle professor Bill Mitchell, the site was one of the first to provide breaking news and results over the internet in English. The site was purchased by Knapp Communications in 1999, and owner Gerard Knapp built it into the definitive voice of pro cycling. Since then, major publishing house Future PLC has owned the site and expanded it to include top features, news, results, photos and tech reporting. The site continues to be the most comprehensive and authoritative English voice in professional cycling.