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April 5th, 2023
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The Hell of the North is this Sunday 9 April! To get ready for the 120th edition of Paris-Roubaix, we have crafted a list of 5 essential things to know about this cycling monument.
The first edition of Paris-Roubaix took place in 1896. The race was created by Théodore Vienne, a great businessman and the founder of the Roubaix Velodrome. His idea? To create a one-day race which would start from Paris and finish in his velodrome.
This project, considered as crazy at the time, didn’t initially enjoy a great deal of success. The course was thought to be too dangerous and the timing was all wrong, since the race was planned on Easter day. Despite it all, the first race went ahead on 19 April 1896, with 51 racers lining up for the start.
Germany’s Josef Fischer, the winner of the first edition, completed 280 km in more than 9 hours. The winner of the 2022 edition, Dutchman Dylan van Baarle, finished the 257.2 km course in 5.37 hours. It’s of course crucial to take into account the evolution of the sport as well as that of the equipment and the course itself, but the comparison remains no less striking.
Once more, Belgium stands out as the most rewarded country in the history of Paris-Roubaix. It boasts 159 podiums to its name, including 57 victories. Belgium is in a league of its own and its closest rival, France, only has 83 podiums. The record for most victories is held by two Belgians, Roger De Vlaeminck and Tom Boonen, who both have 4 victories.
Paris-Roubaix is now a classic of the cycling world and is part of the UCI World Tour. The race is one the of the 5 cycling monuments, alongside Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro di Lombardia. It is particularly renowned for its cobblestone sections.
The cobbles not only add to the physical challenge, but can also constitute a technical challenge. Last year, the fans were able to witness, at the expense of the Jumbo-Visma team, just how ruthless the cobbles can be. The Dutch team saw a good deal of its bikes break down into pieces as the kilometers went by on the cobbles.
A race of this caliber requires some serious preparation! In order to provide the cyclists with the very best racing conditions, the organizers must look after the course with the greatest care. This involves weeding certain cobbled sectors in order to increase the grip of the course.
However, this year you won’t see any mowers, but what you will see is a flock of about 40 goats and sheep. This operation, called “the goats of hope”, is a more environmentally friendly way of weeding the cobbles. These goats have been nibbling grass on more than 2,300 meters in the Trouée d'Arenberg.
You can of course bet on Paris-Roubaix 2023! Circus has the best odds in store to give you a chance to win big on this legendary cycling race. Also bet on the other UCI World Tour races.
So, who from Wout Van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel come out on top? Will Dylan van Baarle be victorious for the second year in a row? Let’s not count out Tadej Pogacar, Matej Mohoric, Filippo Ganna and their thirst for victory. Ready, set, bet!