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Paris-Roubaix cobble sector buried under mud, may be removed

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Servais Knaven en-route to victory at the very muddy 2001 Paris-Roubaix

Servais Knaven en-route to victory at the very muddy 2001 Paris-Roubaix
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Paris-Roubaix race profile

Paris-Roubaix race profile (Image credit: ASO)
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Fans line the Troisvilles à Inchy as the peloton approaches

Fans line the Troisvilles à Inchy as the peloton approaches (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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The Arenberg Forest

The Arenberg Forest (Image credit: Tim de Waele/
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The 2015 Paris-Roubaix podium

The 2015 Paris-Roubaix podium (Image credit: Tim de Waele/

The organisers of Paris-Roubaix took a tour of the cobbled sectors of Sunday's course on Monday, and discovered to their surprise that the first section in Troisville was covered in mud and could be too dangerous to use. Thierry Gouvenou said they will wait until later in the week to make a decision whether to keep the sector in the race.

The 257.5km long 2016 Paris-Roubaix route from Compiegne to the Roubaix velodrome was due to have 27 sections of pavé for a total of 52.8 kilometres. Removing Troisville would reduce the sum to 50.6km.

“We’ll wait a few days before taking a definitive decision," Gouvenou said according to AFP. "If we had to race today we’d have to avoid that section. But there is still time, and experience shows that you have to be patient.”

“The problem is the switch between wet and dry areas, which is very dangerous. The riders pick up speed on the dry patches and can get caught out when they come to wet ones."

Gouvenou and his team toured all of the sectors, and rated them based on length and difficulty. There are three five-star sectors, the highest degree of difficulty: Trouée d’Arenberg (18 - 2.4km at km 162), the Mons-en-Pévèle (10 - 3km at km 209) and Le Carrefour de l’Arbre (4 - 2.1km at km 240.5).

The new uphill stretch, the Capelle-Ruesnes (22 - 1.7km at km. 127) was given a three-star rating, but the remaining sections kept their same ranking as last year, even though sectors 11, 10 and 6 were partially renovated.

Level crossing schedule adjustments possible

To avoid a repeat of last year's narrowly averted disaster, when riders dodged closing level crossing arms and crossed the tracks just moments before the arrival of a high speed train, the organisers are working with train operator SNCF to time the departure schedule so that the race will not encounter any trains.

"When we had confirmation of train schedule for Sunday in places used by the race, we decided to make some changes, Gouvenou said according to L'Equipe. "We were scheduled for departure at 10:20, while now we should leave at 10:40. All that remains re-adjusted depending on weather conditions. If the weather is bad the race will start at 10:30 and if it's nice it will start at 10:50.

"All of this will be definitively decided by Saturday at 17.30 at the end of the team managers' meeting."

Additionally, the organisers seek to avoid having any incidents between moving vehicles and riders like the one in Gent-Wevelgem that resulted in the death of Antoine Demoitie. They intend to prohibit VIP cars from passing the riders.

"We want to avoid having VIP cars too close to the race this year and encourage them take shortcuts, which is easy to do at Paris-Roubaix, so that there is no more overtaking of riders during the race."

27 cobbled sectors for the 2016 Paris-Roubaix

27Troisvilles (km 98.5 - 2200 m)3pts
26Viesly (km 105 - 1800 m)3
25Quievy (km 108 - 3700 m)4
24Saint-Python (km 112.5 - 1500 m)2
23Vertain (km 120.5 - 2300 m)3
22Capelle-Ruesnes (km 127 – 1700 m)3
21Quérénaing - Maing (km 133.5 - 2500 m)3
20Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (km 136.5 - 1600 m)3
19Haveluy (km 149.5 - 2500 m)4
18Trouée d’Arenberg (km 158 - 2400 m)5
17Wallers - Hélesmes. dit « Pont Gibus » (km 164 - 1600 m)3
16Hornaing (km 170.5 - 3700 m)4
15Warlaing - Brillon (km 178 - 2400 m)3
14Tilloy - Sars-et-Rosières (km 181.5 - 2400 m)4
13Beuvry-la-Forêt - Orchies (km 188 - 1400m)3
12Orchies (km 193 - 1700 m)3
11Auchy-lez-Orchies - Bersée (km 199 - 2700 m)4
10Mons-en-Pévèle (km 204.5 - 3000 m)5
9Mérignies - Avelin (km 210.5 - 700 m)2
8Pont-Thibaut (km 214 - 1400 m)3
7Templeuve - Moulin de Vertain (km 220 - 500 m)2
6aCysoing - Bourghelles (km 226.5 - 1300 m)3
6bBourghelles - Wannehain (km 229 - 1100 m)3
5Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 233.5 - 1800 m)4
4Le Carrefour de l’Arbre (km 236.5 - 2100 m)5
3Gruson (km 238.5 - 1100 m)2
2Hem (km 245.5 - 1400 m)2
1Roubaix (km 252 - 300 m)1


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