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Paris-Roubaix 2021

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Colbrelli wins in his Paris-Roubaix debut

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) celebrates his victory on the podium of the 2021 Paris-Roubaix

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) celebrates his victory on the podium of the 2021 Paris-Roubaix (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) capped off an incredible 2021 season that included the European and Italian national road race titles with an emphatic victory in his debut Paris-Roubaix.

In horrific conditions with heavy rain and deep mud on the cobbled sectors, the Italian showed no signs that this was his first trip through the farm tracts of Northern France.

Colbrelli made the race-winning move along with Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal), with the trio catching and dropping solo attacker Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers) on the final five-star sector, the Carrefour de l'Arbre.

The trio cooperated until 3km to go when Vermeersch attacked, forcing Colbrelli to chase him down. Vermeersch opened up the sprint on the velodrome but only Colbrelli could push through to snatch the win, with Van der Poel finishing a devastated third.

Read the full report.

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The 118th edition of Paris-Roubaix looks to be set for Sunday, October 3, 2021, after having moved from two dates in 2020 and then rescheduled from its April calendar slot earlier this year. The Monument, held in northern France, signals the culmination of the cobbled Classics season, especially now being in fall, and is arguably the most recognisable event in the sport after the Tour de France.

The route, one of the longest of the year at 257.7km, will run from south to north from Compiègne to Roubaix over the most brutal roads the peloton will experience all year. There are 30 cobbled sectors this year, which account for 55 kilometres of the route, the surviving riders make it to the smooth velodrome in Roubaix.

The 2019 edition of the race saw Philippe Gilbert of Deceuninck-QuickStep, now with Lotto Soudal, triumph after making an elite move in the final 50 kilometres, later outsprinting Nils Politt of Katusha-Alpecin, now with Bora-Hansgrohe, in Roubaix.

Favourites for this rescheduled October edition of Paris-Roubaix include Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep), 2019 road race World Champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), 2014 winner John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal), AG2R Citroën's Classics specialist Oliver Naesen and 2018 winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Paris-Roubaix history

Often described as the Queen of the Classics or the Hell of the North, Paris-Roubaix is the third Monument of the cycling season and arguably the most recognisable event in the sport after the Tour de France. The race dates back to 1896 and has taken place 117 times since then, with the last edition in 2019. For the first time ever, race organiser ASO will put on a women’s race on October 2, 2021.

Compiègne – around 80km outside of Paris – has hosted the race start since 1977, while Paris played host from the very start up to 1967.

Two Belgians share the accolade of taking the most wins at the race, with Roger De Vlaeminck winning four times in the 1970s and Tom Boonen completing his quadruple between 2005 and 2012. As you'd expect, the honour roll is replete with huge names from cycling history, from Eddy Merckx and Sean Kelly to Johan Museeuw and Fausto Coppi.

Of the current peloton, nobody has won the race more than once, with Gilbert, Sagan, Degenkolb, Niki Terpstra, and Greg Van Avermaet – who rode the fastest Paris-Roubaix ever in 2017 – the lucky quintet to have lifted the famous cobblestone trophy.

Paris-Roubaix cobbled sectors

  • 30 : Troisvilles to Inchy (km 96,3 – 2,2 km) ***
  • 29 : Viesly to Quiévy (km 102,8 – 1,8 km) ***
  • 28 : Quiévy to Saint-Python (km 105,4 – 3,7 km) ****
  • 27 : Saint-Python (km 110,1 - 1,5 km) **
  • 26 : Haussy to Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon (km 116,6 - 0,8 km) **
  • 25 : Saint-Martin-sur-Ecaillon to Vertain (km 120,9 - 2,3 km) ***
  • 24 : Capelle to Ruesnes (km 127,3 - 1,7 km) ***
  • 23 : Artres to Quérénaing (km 136,3 - 1,3 km) **
  • 22 : Quérénaing to Maing (km 138,1 - 2,5 km) ***
  • 21 : Maing to Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (km 141,2 - 1,6 km) ***
  • 20 : Haveluy to Wallers (km 154,2 - 2,5 km) ****
  • 19 : Trouée d'Arenberg (km 162,4 - 2,3 km) *****
  • 18 : Wallers to Hélesmes (km 168,4 - 1,6 km) ***
  • 17 : Hornaing to Wandignies (km 175,2 - 3,7 km) ****
  • 16 : Warlaing to Brillon (km 182,7 - 2,4 km) ***
  • 15 : Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières (km 186,2 - 2,4 km) ****
  • 14 : Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies (km 192,5 - 1,4 km) ***
  • 13 : Orchies (km 197,5 - 1,7 km) ***
  • 12 : Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée (km 203,6 - 2,7 km) ****
  • 11 : Mons-en-Pévèle (km 209,1 - 3 km) *****
  • 10 : Mérignies to Avelin (km 215,1 - 0,7 km) **
  • 9 : Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin (km 218,5 - 1,4 km) ***
  • 8 : Templeuve - L'Epinette (km 223,9 - 0,2 km) *
  • 8 : Templeuve - Moulin-de-Vertain (km 224,4 - 0,5 km) **
  • 7 : Cysoing to Bourghelles (km 230,8 - 1,3 km) ***
  • 6 : Bourghelles to Wannehain (km 233,3 - 1,1 km) ***
  • 5 : Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 237,8 - 1,8 km) ****
  • 4 : Carrefour de l'Arbre (km 240,5 - 2,1 km) *****
  • 3 : Gruson (km 242,8 - 1,1 km) **
  • 2 : Willems to Hem (km 249,5 - 1,4 km) ***
  • 1 : Roubaix - Espace Charles Crupelandt (km 256,3 - 0,3 km) *

There have been slight adjustments to the route from the 2019 race, this year the peloton encountering 30 cobbled sectors, not 29, across 55 kilometres. 

After the start in Compiègne, the first pavé comes 96.3 kilometres later, but unlike in 2019, the Troisvilles section will be ridden for its full length of 2.2 kilometres. Sector 25, the Vertain, will be tackled in the opposite direction than past years. The next sector, in the area south of Valenciennes at the Hameau du Buat, returns after being last tackled in 2016. After leaving cobbled sector 24 that winds over more than a kilometre, there will be a 30-kilometre span to the next challenge of the Trouée d’Arenberg, at kilometre 162.4, then on to the other significant sectors at Mons-en-Pévèle (after 209.1 km) and the Carrefour de l’Arbre (after 240.5 km).

The key sectors of the Trouée d'Arenberg, Mons-en-Pévèle, and Carrefour de l'Arbre are three of the longest and roughest stretches of pavé the riders will encounter and are usually where the race is won and lost.

The weather can also play a huge part in the race but the last truly wet Paris-Roubaix came back in 2001. The finish in the old Roubaix velodrome gives the race yet another dynamic, with tactics coming to the fore when groups reach the finale together.

Paris-Roubaix most successful riders

Roger De Vlaeminck and Tom Boonen are the only men in history to have won the event four times, with both men battling famous rivalries with Merckx and Fabian Cancellara along the way.

Paris-Roubaix teams

  • AG2R Citroën
  • Alpecin-Fenix
  • Astana-Premier Tech
  • Bahrain Victorious
  • B&B Hotels p/b KTM
  • Bingoal Casino-Wallonie Bruxelles
  • Bora-Hansgrohe
  • Cofidis
  • Deceuninck-QuickStep
  • Delko
  • EF Eduction-Nippo
  • Groupama-FDJ
  • Ineos Grenadiers
  • Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
  • Israel Start-Up Nation
  • Lotto Soudal
  • Movistar Team
  • Qhubeka NextHash
  • Team Arkea-Samsic
  • Team BikeExchange
  • Team DSM
  • Team Jumbo-Visma
  • Team TotalEnergies
  • Trek-Segafredo
  • UAE Team Emirates

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