Paris-Roubaix’s Arenberg Trench 100m shorter than previously thought, organisers discover

Not that it makes it any easier….

The Arenberg Trench is actually 100 metres shorter than previously though (Photo: Yuzuru SUNADA)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Organisers of Paris-Roubaix have discovered that one of the most decisive cobblestone stretches is actually 100 metres shorter than previously thought.

The iconic Arenberg Trench, the first five-star pave sector in the race, is long thought to have stretched to 2,400m.

But while announcing the route for the 2019 edition of the ‘Queen of the Classics’, the race organisers revealed that the Trouée d’Arenberg is in fact 2,300m.

More accurate measurements taking during the recce for this year’s edition found the discrepancy, although its not going to make the stretch any more welcoming to the peloton.

>>> Paris-Roubaix 2019 start list 

The trench is decisive each year, playing a significant role in stringing out the race and whittling down the number of potential winners.

Despite it’s positioning around 90km from the finish, the severity of the road surface and the narrow width make it one of the most memorable moments of each Paris-Roubaix.

Taking place on April 14, the 2019 edition will roll out of Compiègne and tackle a 257km route – the same distance as 2018.

The total cobbled distance also remains the same at 54.5km.

This year’s first sector, Troisvilles, will be considerably shorter than 2018, with 900m of cobbles compared with 2.2km last year.

>>> Quiz: How many monument winners of last 10 years can you name?

Then the peloton will be given the chance to honour the memory of Beligan pro Michael Goolaerts, who died of cardiac arrest at the Briastre to Viesly sector last year.

After that, the race tackles the Quiévy, Saint-Pythong, and Vertain in the opposite direction to the 2018 edition. Vertain will make its return after last appearing in 2017.

From the Valenciennes sector, the race then follows an unchanged route to the Roubaix Velodrome – although the official map has changed due to the more accurate distances measured.

The 117th edition of the race will then come to a head on the famous Mons-en-Pévèle and Carrefour de l’Arbre sectors.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.