Paris-Roubaix will definitely be raced over the infamous Arenberg cobbles in 2012, according to Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO). The news comes after it was deemed earlier this year that the 2.4 kilometre section of pavé have been heavily covered by moss and other plant growth making the passage unsafe for racing.
Speaking before the start of Stage 3 of Paris – Nice on Tuesday, Jean-Francois Pescheux, Paris – Roubaix sports director confirmed to news agency AFP that: "The cleaning work will be undertaken as soon as possible."
Last week, race organisers warned that another change may have to be made to the April 8 classic with the route taken on the CD 40, near the northern French town of Denain under threat. The road goes too close to the Valenciennes oil warehouses, a large fuel storage depot. Organisers said that rearranging the route would add too many kilometers to the race, pushing it above the 260 km allowed by the UCI.
Last summer the local government banned all gatherings, demonstrations and events near the oil warehouses, including sports events. Pescheux said that he hopes to be granted an exception.
"We will await the final position of the prefecture. It's not a comfortable situation two months before the race."
He said at the CD 40 is an important passage which would be difficult to replace.
"We studied many alternatives, but the entire route would be extended 7 km. And I cannot afford it." The race is currently 257.5km.
The Trouée d'Arenberg was left out of the 2005 edition of Paris-Roubaix after it was deemed that the pave had deteriorated beyond levels considered to be safe, after sections on top of the abandoned mines had subsided.
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