Cycling gets back to basics this Sunday (April 11) for the Queen of the Classics: Paris-Roubaix. After the cobbled bergs of Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, Roubaix sits in a league of its own.

No other one-day race on the calendar comes close to the sheer unpredictability, the brutality and the visceral danger of what makes Paris-Roubaix so special.

Fabian Cancellara and his Saxo Bank gave Tom Boonen a trouncing in the Tour of Flanders last weekend and Quick Step will be out baying for blood come Sunday.

The masters of the cobbles, the odds are stacked firmly in Boonen and Quick Step’s favour. The Belgian has won the race three times – consecutively for the last two years – and has the opportunity to equal the great Roger de Vlaeminck as a four-time winner.

Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere has also directed no less than ten Paris-Roubaix winners from behind the wheel since the late Franco Ballerini won in 1995.

Quick Step will not have the race sewn up, however. Their tactical weakness showed in Flanders as the team overestimated the strength of Boonen and was left to his own devices with the team refusing to bridge riders to the break.

The beauty of Paris-Roubaix lies in its unpredictability. Threats to Boonen’s supremacy will come from every direction. Cancellara, of course, is an obvious candidate as the winner in Flanders and a former Roubaix winner to boot, he is currently in top shape.

The likes of Thor Hushovd, Juan Antonio Flecha, Philippe Gilbert and Filippo Pozzato will all be on Boonen’s radar on the 259km slog to Roubaix.

27 cobbled sectors, totalling some 52km of pavé, separates the hopefuls for glory in the Roubaix velodrome. For others, the names will be enough to make their legs tremble. The infamous Trouée d’Arenberg, Mons-en-Pévèle and the Carrefour de l’Arbre all feature highly as potential race-defining moments.

As if to make the race that bit more capricious, the weather can wreak havoc on the pavé. The race is hard enough as it is, but throw in some rain, making the cobbles treacherously slippery, and the race begins to really live up to its moniker of the ‘Hell of the North’.

Paris-Roubaix 2010: Route

The riders face 259km of racing, starting in Compiegne to the north-east of the French capital, and running north to Roubaix. What makes the race special are the cobbled sections of the route that present the riders with an obstacle as tough as any climb. There are 27 cobbled sectors in all, starting with Troisvilles à Inchy after 97.5km of racing. The race finishes in the legendary Roubaix velodrome.

Cobbled sectors

Sector/Point in race/Name/Length of sector

Start: 0km, Compiegne

27, 97.5km, Troisvilles à Inchy, 2.2km

26, 104km, Viesly à Quiévy, 1.8km

25, 106.5km, Quiévy à Saint-Python, 3.7km

24, 115.5km, Saint-Python, 1.5km

23, 119km, Vertain à Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon, 2.3km

22, 126km, Capelle-sur-Écaillon – Le-Buat, 1.7km

21, 138km, Verchain-Maugré à Quérénaing, 1.6km

20, 141km, Quérénaing à Maing, 2.5km

19, 144km, Maing à Monchaux-sur-Écaillon, 1.6km

18, 155.5km, Haveluy à Wallers, 2.5km

17, 164km, Trouée d’Arenberg, 2.4km

16, 176km, Hornaing à Wandignies-Hamage, 3.7km

15, 183.5km, Warlaing à Brillon, 2.4km

14, 187km, Tilloy à Sars-et-Rosières, 2.4km

13, 193.5km, Beuvry-la-forêt à Orchies, 1.4km

12, 198.5km, Orchies, 1.7km

11, 204.5km, Auchy-lez-Orchies à Bersée, 2.6km

10, 210km, Mons-en-Pévèle, 3km

9, 216km, Mérignies à Le Prez, 0.7km

8, 219.5km, Pont-Thibaut à Ennevelin, 1.4km

7, 225km, Templeuve – L’Épinette, 0.2km

7, 225.5km, Templeuve – Moulin-de-Vertain, 0.5km

6, 232km, Cysoing à Bourghelles, 1.3km

6, 234.5km, Bourghelles à Wannehain, 1.1km

5, 239km, Camphin-en-Pévèle, 1.8km

4, 241.5km, Carrefour de l’Arbre, 2.1km

3, 244km, Gruson, 1.1km

2, 250.5km, Willems à Hem, 1.4km

1, 257.5km, Roubaix, 0.3km

Finish: 259km, Roubaix velodrome

Paris-Roubaix 2010 map

Click on the map to enlarge in new window. Map: ASO

Paris-Roubaix 2010: Teams

Acqua & Sapone

Ag2r-La Mondiale

Androni Giocattoli

BBox-Bouygues Telecom

BMC Racing Team

Caisse d’Epargne

Cervelo Test Team



Francaise des Jeux







Omega Pharma-Lotto

Quick Step




Saxo Bank


Team Sky


Paris-Roubaix 2010: British riders

Final start list to be confirmed

Roger Hammond (Cervelo)

Jeremy Hunt (Cervelo)

David Millar (Garmin-Transitions)

Ian Stannard (Team Sky)

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)

Adam Blythe (Omega Pharma-Lotto)

Related link: British riders line up for Paris-Roubaix

Paris-Roubaix 2010: TV guide

British Eurosport – available on cable and satellite systems

Sun April 11, 1.30-4.15pm, Paris-Roubaix live, British Eurosport

Sun April 11, 7.30-8.30pm, Paris-Roubaix highlights, British Eurosport

(Sun April 11, 8.30-9pm, Tour DoonHame highlights, British Eurosport)

Sun April 11, 11.45pm-12.45am, Paris-Roubaix highlights, British Eurosport

Paris-Roubaix: Recent winners

2009 Tom Boonen (Belgium) Quick Step

2008 Tom Boonen (Belgium) Quick Step

2007 Stuart O’Grady (Australia) CSC

2006 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) CSC

2005 Tom Boonen (Belgium) Quick Step

2004 Magnus Backstedt (Sweden) Alessio-Bianchi

2003 Peter Van Petegem (Belgium) Lotto-Domo

2002 Johan Museeuw (Belgium) Domo-Farm Frites

2001 Servais Knaven (Holland) Domo-Farm Frites

2000 Johan Museeuw (Belgium) Mapei-Quick Step

1999 Andrea Tafi (Italy) Mapei-Quick Step

Tom Boonen wins his third Paris Roubaix

Triple Paris-Roubaix winner Tom Boonen in 2009

Paris-Roubaix: Last year’s top ten (2009)

1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 6-15-53

2. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha at 0-47

3. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Cervélo Test Team

4. Leif Hoste (Bel) Silence-Lotto both at 1-17

5. Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Silence-Lotto at 1-22

6. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Rabobank at 2-14

7. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervélo Test Team at 3-13

8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step at 3-15

9. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas at 5-00

10. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo Bank at 5-29

British riders:

15. Roger Hammond (GBR) Cervélo Test Team at 6-15

19. Jeremy Hunt (GBR) Cervélo Test Team

25. Bradley Wiggins (GBR) Garmin both at 6-32

Paris-Roubaix: Best British results

Barry Hoban and Roger Hammond are the only British riders to make the podium at Paris-Roubaix.

Arthur Linton was fourth in the very first edition in 1896. Hoban was 2-13 behind winner Roger De Vlaeminck in 1972. Hammond contested the sprint at the finish in 2004 and was edged out by Magnus Backstedt and Tristan Hoffman. Here are the Brits who have made the top 20.


Barry Hoban 1972

Roger Hammond 2004


Arthur Linton 1896


Sean Yates 1994


Tom Simpson 1965


Roger Hammond 2007


Tom Simpson 1963

Sean Yates 1993


Tom Simpson 1960


Tom Simpson 1964

Barry Hoban 1969


Max Sciandri 2001


Michael Wright 1969


Paul Sherwen 1983

Roger Hammond 2009


Barry Hoban 1968

Barry Hoban 1971

Max Sciandri 2002


Roger Hammond 2003


Max Sciandri 1999


Jeremy Hunt 2005

Related links

Millar ready to confront the Hell of the North

Pressure is on Cancellara for Paris-Roubaix, says Boonen

Thomas recalls 2004 win ahead of pro debut in Paris-Roubaix

Ballan suspended by team, out of Roubaix

Flecha for Paris-Roubaix: ‘I am still strong’

Five British riders line up for Paris-Roubaix

Boasson Hagen out of Paris-Rouabix

Boonen aims to equal de Vlaeminck’s Roubaix record

Cycle Sport’s Classic Race: 1990 Paris-Roubaix

Spring Classics 2010: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

2009: Boonen wins Paris-Roubaix for third time