Paris-Roubaix could move to autumn, UCI president says

David Lappartient says organisers are open to "possibilities and opportunities"

Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Paris-Roubaix could potentially move from its traditional April slot to the autumn, the UCI's president David Lappartient has said.

In an interview with Wielerlfits.nl (opens in new tab), Lappartient said that the WorldTour calendar was "open for discussion", and that last year's October edition made Roubaix's organisers feel "very differently" about the possibility for change.

Due to the Covid pandemic, in 2021 Roubaix was raced in October, towards the end of the season, and produced thrilling editions which were won by Sonny Colbrelli and Lizzie Deignan.

However, the race has returned to its traditional April dates this year, with the caveat that it has swapped places with the Amstel Gold Race due to the French presidential elections last week.

"That move to October 3 has not made the race any less attractive," Lappartient said. 

"On the contrary, this was one of the most heroic editions of 'l'Enfer du Nord' in history. I spoke about this with organizer ASO. They indicated that there would never have been any consideration before to change the Paris-Roubaix date. Now they feel very differently. In the future, that creates many more possibilities."

The concept of moving the race permanently would cause some controversy. 

On Thursday, at a Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl press conference, the team's boss Patrick Lefevere said that he would not change the calendar.

"Everyone knows I'm an old fashioned guy, so I wouldn't change it. Maybe the two Covid seasons were a bit special but if he does change things, Lappartient will have to cut the calendar first,” the Belgian said.

“There are so many races in August, September and the beginning of October. It is almost impossible to ride all of them. Everyone knows that the season starts more or less in January. From Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to Liège-Bastogne-Liège is the first part, then everyone works towards the Tour de France and the third part is beautiful, including the World Cup and the Tour of Lombardy.”

However, Lappartient said "why not" change the calendar around, and maybe even move the Tour of Flanders too.

"End the season with the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix? That's something we couldn't imagine in the past. Now I ask myself: why not? Wouldn't that open up possibilities in the calendar when we organise these two, perhaps the two largest, monuments at the end of the year?"

Lappartient said the UCI has awarded licenses for WorldTour races until 2025 but the calendar is not fully fixed yet.

"Most organisers now understand that a change of date can also offer possibilities and opportunities," he continued.

"We used to stick to certain dates because we had been planning the calendar in this way for years. How we will implement the reform is still unclear. But all parties in cycling have indicated to us that they are open to considering changes."

However, despite a possible revolution in the cycling calendar, the Grand Tours will remain where they are in the year.

"It may be that a Grand Tour might be postponed one or two weeks, but broadly it will remain the same," Lappartient said. "The Tour de France will be organized in July. The Giro d'Italia will continue to take place before the Tour de France, while the Vuelta a España will have its place after the Tour.

"We will not change the frame of the calendar regarding the Grand Tours. You cannot open the season with a Grand Tour, while at the end of October you cannot close the season with it due to the weather conditions in the high mountains."

With Roubaix back in the spring for the first time since 2019, Lefevere said he was "just happy" that the race was back in its usual slot.

"We are used to this, we train like crazy for the winter," he said. "Everyone plans altitude training courses and all teams have been calculating for years how they can best get their riders in shape during certain periods. That requires sacrifices.”

“Once the classic period is over, I think the whole peloton will be happy that they don't have any pressure for a while. Mentally, that rest is also welcome. I think everyone is happy that these two monuments are now back in the spring.”

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