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Article: Paris - Roubaix: L'Enfer du Nord

Paris - Roubaix: L'Enfer du Nord

“You get into the velodrome and go into the showers, and De Vlaeminck, Merckx, Hinault—all these legends have been in there before you, and you’re scrubbing mud out of your ears. It’s all part of the adventure.

—Stuart O’Grady

The 120th Paris–Roubaix will be held today, on a 256.6 km course stretching from Compiègne to Roubaix Velodrome and featuring 54.5 km of cobblestones.

One of the 29 sectors on the menu —Haspres— is returning to the race nearly two decades after its latest appearance.

Paris-Roubaix was inaugurated in 1896, making it one of the oldest bike races in the world.

However, it took until 2021 for a women’s race to be organized.

Born of a familiar story involving entrepreneurial types, newspapers and money-making schemes, over time Paris-Roubaix has come to adopt monikers like the ‘Queen of the Classics’ and ‘Hell of the North’, and remains one of the

most prestigious victories to take in pro bike racing.

The epicness of Paris-Roubaix has few equals in the world of cycling, and Easter Sunday for two-wheel enthusiasts can be summed up in one word: cobblestones. The queen of the classics brings with it legendary locations such as the Arenberg Forest and the Roubaix Velodrome, where riders compete for victory.

The route of the French Classic covers 256.6 kilometers, 54 of which are cobblestones. New for 2023 is the return of the Haspres section, after some 20 years of absence. There will be 29 pavé sections between the start in Compiegne, north of Paris, and the finish in the Roubaix velodrome. Forests, pavé and the nightmare mud, in case of rain, will make Roubaix as unpredictable as ever.

The winner gets his name engraved upon a plaque in the showers at the finish, so that those who wash the mud from their faces can see a name in the stall that one day could belong to them.

Who will be this year's winner?

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