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On the start of Paris-Roubaix - Gallery

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From one world champion to another Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish

From one world champion to another Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish
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The riders depart

The riders depart
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Photographers battling for a photo of world champion Peter Sagan

Photographers battling for a photo of world champion Peter Sagan
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Niki Terpstra and Mark Cavendish shake hands at sign on

Niki Terpstra and Mark Cavendish shake hands at sign on
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Fabian Cancellara rides to sign on

Fabian Cancellara rides to sign on
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Could Edvald Boasson Hagen be a dark horse for today?

Could Edvald Boasson Hagen be a dark horse for today?
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Tom Boonen talks to Sporza outside the team bus

Tom Boonen talks to Sporza outside the team bus
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Etixx-QuickStep come out of the bus to head to sign on

Etixx-QuickStep come out of the bus to head to sign on
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Tinkoff become the party bus as they play Shakira ahead of the start

Tinkoff become the party bus as they play Shakira ahead of the start
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Fabian Cancellara's custom Paris-Roubaix bike

Fabian Cancellara's custom Paris-Roubaix bike
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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BMC's Roubaix bikes all lined up

BMC's Roubaix bikes all lined up
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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FDJ will be without Arnaud Demare today

FDJ will be without Arnaud Demare today
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Tom Boonen on the start line

Tom Boonen on the start line
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Riders waiting for the start

Riders waiting for the start
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Lampre Merida are riding disc brakes

Lampre Merida are riding disc brakes
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Mark Cavendish at his second Paris-Roubaix

Mark Cavendish at his second Paris-Roubaix
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Fabian Cancellara looking to win his fourth Paris-Roubaix

Fabian Cancellara looking to win his fourth Paris-Roubaix
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The riders line up

The riders line up
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The riders head out for the nutral start

The riders head out for the nutral start
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Luke Rowe looks relaxed on the start line

Luke Rowe looks relaxed on the start line
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Fabian Cancellara trying to rid the pre-race nerves

Fabian Cancellara trying to rid the pre-race nerves
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Fabian Cancellara on the start line

Fabian Cancellara on the start line
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Alexander Kristoff talks to Norwegian press

Alexander Kristoff talks to Norwegian press
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Jens Keukeleire is Orica-GreenEdge's leader for ROubaix

Jens Keukeleire is Orica-GreenEdge's leader for ROubaix
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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LottoNL-Jumbo's Bianchi bikes

LottoNL-Jumbo's Bianchi bikes
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Peter Sagan will ride his Tarmac for the early part of the race before moving to the Roubaix for the cobbes

Peter Sagan will ride his Tarmac for the early part of the race before moving to the Roubaix for the cobbes
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Cannondale's bikes ready to

Cannondale's bikes ready to
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Katusha ride the Aeroad for Paris-Roubaix

Katusha ride the Aeroad for Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Fat Roubaix tyres for all ranging from 26mm to 30mm

Fat Roubaix tyres for all ranging from 26mm to 30mm
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Movistar's bikes prepped and ready to go

Movistar's bikes prepped and ready to go
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Tinkoff arrive at the start

Tinkoff arrive at the start
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Movistar were the first team to sign on

Movistar were the first team to sign on
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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There was some fog earlier in the day

There was some fog earlier in the day
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Primed and ready, Team Sky's bikes outside the team bus

Primed and ready, Team Sky's bikes outside the team bus
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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A long list of pave sectors

A long list of pave sectors
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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UCI checking Orica-GreenEdge's bikes

UCI checking Orica-GreenEdge's bikes
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Alan Marangoni at the start

Alan Marangoni at the start
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Crowds gather by the start line

Crowds gather by the start line
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Giant-Alpecin are without the defending champion

Giant-Alpecin are without the defending champion
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Giant-Alpecin's team car

Giant-Alpecin's team car
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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A mechanic checks the pressure of the tyres

A mechanic checks the pressure of the tyres
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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People surround the Etixx-QuickStep bus

People surround the Etixx-QuickStep bus
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Adam Blythe shares a few moments with his girlfriend ahead of the race

Adam Blythe shares a few moments with his girlfriend ahead of the race
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Roger Hammond puts the list of cobbled sectors onto the bikes of his riders

Roger Hammond puts the list of cobbled sectors onto the bikes of his riders
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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Luke Rowe's spare Pinarello K8 sits atop the team car

Luke Rowe's spare Pinarello K8 sits atop the team car
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)
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The start line ready for the riders

The start line ready for the riders
(Image credit: Cyclingnews)

Compiègne was shrouded in a thick, eerie mist this morning as it prepared to host the start of the 114th Paris-Roubaix. Rather symbolically, it started to lift as the team buses pulled into the main square in front of the Palace. The week-long build up, talk of favourites, weather, and tactics, was making way for the event itself.

With a tailwind forecast, the start time was put back by 10 minutes to 10:50am. Tom Boonen, who has sampled all sorts of conditions in the Hell of the North over the years, didn’t think the conditions would have too great an impact on the race.

“Fast is hard, and slow is hard,” said the four-time winner, who seemed in a cheerful and relaxed mood at the start line.

Fabian Cancellara, by contrast, was a picture of utter focus. The 35-year-old, well aware this was his last time at the start of Paris-Roubaix, was hunched over his handlebars, head down, completely in his own bubble.

Peter Sagan was his usual carefree self and had to be reminded by the podium announcer that every member of the Tinkoff team had signed on, except him.

“Good,” came the short reply when, having made his way through the mobs of fans and media, he was asked how he was feeling. Any nerves? “No.”

The world champion had his normal Specialized Tarmac, with the fancy custom paintjob out for the start of the race, as he plans to switch to the Roubaix model, with added shock absorption, ahead of the cobbles.

The Etixx-QuickStep team, by contrast, were all on Roubaix frames from the start. One thing all bikes had in common was the slice of paper taped to their stems, containing the details of the pavé sectors that await.

Chino and blazered men brandishing iPads has become a common sight at the start of races now, and the UCI were once again scanning for hidden motors or anything else that might constitute what it terms ‘technological fraud’.

All checks done, the riders gathered under the banner, in front of a packed crowd, as the sun came out to see them off. Rather fittingly, the square in Compiègne is cobbled – a little amuse-bouche ahead of the plat principal starting 100km later.

Quotes from the start line

Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep)

“We really have the strongest team, so we’ll use the guys we have, and don’t do anything stupid. You can talk as much as you want, but in the race the riders will look at the guys who are there and look good. All the talk before the race doesn’t change anything in the race.

I’m ready, my form’s good enough to win today. It’s not as good as 2012 but it’s good.

Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data)

“You’re always a bit, not nervous, but there’s a bit of tension. You need to be up front at the cobbles, and watch out for Cancellara and Sagan.”

Lars Boom (Astana)

“I showed I was good at Flanders, and for sure I will try to show it again today. You have a small group, Cancellara, Sagan, Vanmarcke, and a few other guys.”

Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal)

“I feel good, I improved every day this week, just my knees hurt a little, maybe on the cobbles everything will hurt again. But I feel confident, I’m just happy I was able to start today. It’s a case of surviving the day, not having crashes or punctures. If you have just good legs you can go very far here.”

Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep)

“I never been here so I still need experience but I’m looking forward to it, and hoping to do a good race. [Can you win?] Not this year…”

Daniel Oss (BMC)

“Without Greg all the team is pretty free. It will be a difficult race for us, maybe we have to anticipate maybe we wait, we’ll have to see in the race.”

Niki Terpstra (Etixx-QuickStep)

“I’m feeling good. It’s always special at the start of such a big race.”