Three days prior to the start of Paris Roubaix the team drove to the Arenberg forest to ride the course. From Arenberg it is roughly 100 km to the finish. Each of the 17 remaining cobbled sectors is separated by less than 10 km of tarmac. In Arenberg the race becomes relentlessly difficult—the 100 km that follow the forest are perhaps the hardest 100 km in professional cycling. The vibrations beat the cyclist’s body, his muscles are torn from the effort and his eyes burn from the dust.

The cobbles were relatively dry when we rode them although there were a few muddy sections where puddles had formed or tractors muddied the road. In the video, you can see the riders slipping and sliding on the slick sections. The crowds were already gathering in anticipation for Sunday’s race and the media was out to photograph the protagonists testing their legs and their equipment on the cobbles.

The countryside the course crosses is grim but comes alive for on race day. The video captures the fields that are open to the wind. The grey clouds which blow in from the North Sea look ominous. The spring air in northern France is damp and cold.

In an ironic twist we ended up finishing our ride with Saxo Bank, as we were both out on the parcours at the same time. There are few sports where rival teams will chat in training three days prior to the big event. In cycling, rivals are friends and there is a shared respect that somehow transcends the race. And, despite those friendships we will battle with them until the bitter end on Sunday.

23 thoughts on “Paris-Roubaix Pre-Ride Video

  1. What a phantastic sight!

    so often I saw the broadcast from belgium tv, but to see the entering of “Wallers” from a racing point of view is thrilling!

    good luck to you all on sunday!

  2. Awesome !
    So many spectators days prior to the event ! Looks promising, believe we could see wet conditions ……

  3. Feel dizzy just watching that. How you guys do that for so long so hard. upmost respect

  4. rock the pave michael. you can then come on back to MKE and let us know how the roads here compare!

  5. And I complain about a few bloody pot holes – keep it up guys – some good work in Basque this week, sure the wins will come big and fast soon, enjoy the mud dust and cobbles!

  6. Are you sure this video wasn’t shot around the Toronto, Ontario area? We had a similar day-grey, bleak, and cold, yesterday and the landscape look eerily familiar…
    Perfect choice for accompanying soundtrack!
    Good luck on Sunday, and all the best from your fans in T.O.

  7. Cool man! Congrats on your 26th place, and Flecha 3rd, alright! Rick, your fan from Holland

  8. Congrats on a great race. That wind obviously made it very tough but your guy still managed 3rd. By the way, what was Flecha clapping for at the finish….not happy with Thor for some reason?

  9. I thought the music was great, but the lyrics too repetitive. Excellent camera work and awesome scenery. Great job and thanks for posting!

  10. Superb video clip. Thanks for making this available. All the best for the coming season.

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