To win Paris-Roubaix, according to 2004 victor Magnus Backstedt, you need to know every section of the route – pavé or tarmac – inside out.
And with the prestigious race just two days away, it is little surprise to see pro cycling’s elite out on a recce of the course.
Defending champion and pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara was among the riders who wasted little time in familiarising himself with the cobbles
And photographer Stefano Sirotti was on hand to snap the riders out on some of the race’s most iconic sections of pavé.
Take a look at the full-width gallery below.
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The course is ready for the 112th edition of the famous race (pic: Sirotti)
Man on a mission
Garmin-Sharp's Johan van Summeren, winner in 2011, crashed with a spectator in last week's Ronde van Vlaanderen, and will race in Roubaix as she battles to recover from critical injuries pic: Sirotti)
Topsport-Vlaanderen Baloise will hope to give their sponsors plenty to cheer on Sunday (pic: Sirotti)
Caught in the act
Pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara is filmed (pic: Sirotti) making final preparations to defend his title in a race he won for the second time last year. pic: ©Sirotti
Belkin line out at Orchies. The Dutch team will be looking to set Sep Vanmarcke up on Sunday (pic: Sirotti)
Lotto hard work
Lotto-Belisol will hope to recapture their early-season form, which brought victories for German champion, Andre Greipel, at the Tour Down Under, Tour of Qatar and Tour of Oman (pic: Sirotti)
Spelling it out
Orchies, according to Britain's Roger Hammond, third in the 2004 race and fourth in 2010, is one of the toughest sections as some riders bid to set up a long-range attack (pic: Sirotti)
The uneven cobbles of the Arenberg are among the most famous in the race (pic: Sirotti)
Leading the way
Sep Vanmarcke ensures he can see plenty of the road before him - a necessity according to 2004 champion Magnus Backstedt (pic: Sirotti)
Forest of fear
The Arenberg is not where the race is won, but the imposing trench can undo many a pre-race plan (pic: Sirotti)
The cobbled stage five of the Tour de France promises to be a spectacular occassion too (pic: Sirotti)