Paris-Roubaix offers some of the most challenging terrain in cycling.
The Trouée d’Arenberg, Mons-en-Pévèle, the Carrefour de l’Arbre, for 364 days, unprepossessing stretches of cobbled road, take on the grandeur of the Passo dello Stelvio or l’Alpe d’Huez one Sunday each year.
Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Leopard), a man who spoke of a ‘strange love’ for the cobbles after winning the Tour of Flanders for a second time last Sunday, was, inevitably, among the riders training on the pavé this week.
Our man with the camera, Stefano Sirotti, was on hand to capture the sights of these all-important reconnaissance rides.
The Trouée d’Arenberg, 2.4km of dead straight road, presents an unremitting challenge
Where else would you expect to find ‘cobbled Classics specialist’ Juan Antonio Flecha?
Fabian Cancellara, twice a victor in Roubaix, has his own claims to mastery of the cobbles
The pavé at Orchies awaits the riders after 193km of racing
Punctures are a frequent occurrence on the cobbles. The Lotto Belisol boys are taking no chances