With Paris-Roubaix just days away, the preparations for the Hell of the North have begun in earnest. From the organisers checking the 28 sectors of pavé, to the riders testing themselves over the cobbles in the days leading up to the event.
Luckily, many of these events have been documented on Twitter for us all to enjoy. Here is a selection of the tweets to whet your appetite for the third monument of the year.
1. The work started early for this chap, who began tidying up the Arenberg sector on Easter Sunday before the riders started thundering along it.
2. Then come the fans, and this hardcore supporter has already bagged a prime viewing spot and decked it out splendidly.
3. Apparently Sir Bradley Wiggins is trying to win this race, so Team Sky got out on the roads early in the week to get a good, if muddy, look at what lies ahead.
4. Katusha are on a high at the moment, with Luca Paolini winning Ghent-Wevelgem, Alexander Kristoff taking the Tour of Flanders and Scheldeprijs and Joaquim Rodriguez taking a stage in the Basque Country. Here the Russian squad test themselves in northern France.
5. One of MTN-Qhubeka’s many wildcards this year enables them to taste the Hell of the North. Without Classics specialist Edvald Boasson Hagen, who broke his collarbone in Ghent-Wevelgem, the African team will be looking for a new leader to step up.
6. Lotto Soudal have played major roles in both Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders, but failed to make the podium on either occasion.
Star riders Andre Greipel and Jens Dubusschere will be looking to shake things up once more to give leaders Jurgen Roelandts, Lars Bak and Tiesj Benoot a chance in the final kilometres.
7. Then there’s the joker Julien Prétot who poked fun at Gert Steegmans’ little venture into a flooded roadside ditch at a blustery Ghent-Wevelgem. Hopefully the Trek Factory Racing rider will be able to stick to the roads this time.