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06 Apr 18 11:20
Date Joined: 05 Apr 05
| Topic/replies: 28,704 | Blogger: marychain1's blog
116th Paris-Roubaix (1.UWT) One Day Race (Compiègne  ›  Roubaix  257km)

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Recent Winners
2017 | VAN AVERMAET Greg
2016 | HAYMAN Mathew
2015 | DEGENKOLB John
2014 | TERPSTRA Niki
2013 | CANCELLARA Fabian
2012 | BOONEN Tom
2011 | VANSUMMEREN Johan
2010 | CANCELLARA Fabian
2009 | BOONEN Tom
2008 | BOONEN Tom

Top-10 previous edition
1. VAN AVERMAET Greg 5:41:07
2. STYBAR Zdenek same time
3. LANGEVELD Sebastian st
4. STUYVEN Jasper st
5. MOSCON Gianni st
6. DÉMARE Arnaud at 0:12
7. GREIPEL André same time
8. THEUNS Edward st
9. PETIT Adrien st
10. DEGENKOLB John st

Another superb Sunday in store here. Belgians might not agree, but Paris-Roubaix is probably the hardest one-day race on the calendar. Known as "l'Enfer du Nord" or Hell of the North, Paris-Roubaix is characterised by its many sections of pavé, or cobblestones, that make up much of the distance, in fact more than one fifth. Like the other monuments, this race is always a challenging 250km+ which just on distance alone puts everyone apart from the elite into the red. Unlike the other monuments though, Paris Roubaix is virtually flat but has 55km of cobblestones sections. The cobbled sections will always elongate the peloton, which means they fight for position in the run-in to the cobbled sections to avoid losing position and wasting valuable energy catching back up, so they always hit the cobbles fast. Hitting these cobblestones at 60km/hr on a racing bike requires incredible bike handling skills. As per usual, the race finishes with a lap of the Vélodrome André-Pétrieux in Roubaix, but it rarely ends in a sprint, and 60 kilo climbers or Grand Tour contenders need not apply here. The last time Paris-Roubaix was taken by a Tour de France winner was when Bernard Hinault, the hardest of all the Tour winners, did it in 1981 before describing it as "race for idiots" and never coming back. This is a race for the road captains. The big boys. The hard men of the peloton.

They don't hit the first cobbles until 93km into the race but from there on the pavé comes thick and fast as they head up from Compiegne, just North of Paris, up through France towards Lille and then finish with the traditional lap of the Roubaix velodrome. There are 29 sections of pavé in total. Some of the sections of cobbles are reasonably even and well maintained. Others are uneven and dangerous, requiring riders to look for the best lines, which might be on the centre or crown of the road, or might be on the edge or the grass verge. When it is dry the cobbles throw up clouds of dust. When they are wet, the cobbles are lethally slippy. Punctures are commonplace. Crashes are inevitable. The 29 paved sections are rated by the organisers of the race based on their length, the unevenness of the cobbles, the overall condition of the sectors and their location. The toughest sections are the *5 star rated La Trouée d'Arenberg (km 162), Mons-en-Pévèle (km 208.5) and the Carrefour de l'Arbre (km 240).

The 29 cobbled sections of 2018 Paris Roubaix
29: Troisvilles (km 93.5 — 2.2 km) ***
28: Briastre (km 100 — 3 km) ***
27: Saint-Python (km 109 — 1.5 km) ***
26: Quiévy (km 111.5 — 3.7 km) ****
25: Saint-Vaast (km 119 — 1.5 km) ***
24: Verchain-Maugré (km 130 — 1.2 km) **
23: Quérénaing (km 134.5 — 1.6 km) ***
22: Maing (km 137.5 — 2.5 km) ***
21: Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (km 140.5 — 1.6 km) ***
20: Haveluy (km 153.5 — 2.5 km) ****
19: Trouée d'Arenberg (km 162 — 2.4 km) *****
18: Hélesmes (km 168 — 1.6 km) ***
17: Wandignies (km 174.5 — 3.7 km) ****
16: Brillon (km 182 — 2.4 km) ***
15: Sars-et-Rosières (km 185.5 — 2.4 km) ****
14: Beuvry-la-Forêt (km 189 — 1.4 km) ***
13: Orchies (km 197 — 1.7 km) ***
12: Bersée (km 203 — 2.7 km) ****
11: Mons-en-Pévèle (km 208.5 — 3 km) *****
10: Avelin (km 214.5 — 0.7 km) **
9: Ennevelin (km 218 — 1.4 km) ***
8: Templeuve — L'Épinette (km 223.5 — 0.2 km) *
8: Templeuve — Moulin-de-Vertain (km 224 — 0.5 km) **
7: Cysoing (km 230.5 — 1.3 km) ***
6: Bourghelles (km 233 — 1.1 km) ***
5: Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 237.5 — 1.8 km) ****
4: Carrefour de l'Arbre (km 240 — 2.1 km) *****
3: Gruson (km 242.5 — 1.1 km) **
2: Hem (km 249 — 1.4 km) ***
1: Roubaix (km 256 - 0.3 km) *

Peter Sagan 10/3
The 3-time World Champion and winning machine is not happy. Despite taking a stage of the Tour Down Under and Gent-Wevelgem he's not had things all his own way this spring. His domination and his ability to win in such a wide variety of ways has meant that his opponents have refused to work with him for fear of handing him a win, and he's often been the one who has needed to chase down Quickstep. Last weekend at The Ronde he probably made a rare tactical mistake burning his dependable super-domestique Daniel Oss chasing down the four escapees, which set things up for Quickstep and Terpstra to pounce. I don't expect him to make the same mistake again here and a change of tactics and an early attack should not be a surprise in the race he hasn't won yet and wants on his palmares most of all. In a race that you'd think would suit more than any other, it is astonishing that he only has one top ten finish and his best finishing position in this race is only 6th.

Greg Van Avermaet
Like Sagan, GVA has an issue. Quickstep are so dominant and they have so many cards to play that GVA and Sagan can be caught between a rock and a hard place. If they attack too early they burn a match and Quickstep can chase it down. If they let one of the Quickstep contenders up the road then they are forced to chase, and it sets things up for one of the other men in blue. However, there's no getting away from the fact that GVA is probably the strongest and most consistent rider over the cobbles. After all, unlike Sagan, GVA has been there and done that in this race. He has raced 8 times here and never not finished. As well as his win in this last year he has a 3rd and a 4th to his name. If he can nail the tactics he'll be right on the premises.

Sep Vanmarcke 12/1
Despite being unquestionably one of the strongest riders in the peloton, and one of the most skilled riders on the pavé, and continually being on the premises at the sharp end of these races Vanmarcke only has an Omloop in 2013 on his palmares. He's ridden Paris-Roubaix 6 times and finished 6 times, and has a 2nd and two 4ths to his name. His form this spring has been typical Sep, a 3rd in Dwards Doors Vlaanderen and Omloop are scant consolation for a rider of his undoubted ability. At 29 it's not too late for Vanmarcke to start winning, and there wouldn't be a dry eye in the velodrome if he was able to avoid the typical punctures, mechanicals, badly-timed attacks and other hard luck stories, and finally picked up the cobblestone trophy but the price is surely too skinny for a man who threatens but so far at least doesn't deliver.

Phil Gilbert 12/1
One of several options for Quickstep, but in my eyes their best option. At Ronde, Terpstra went first and his attack stayed out. Gilbert proved how good his legs were by winning from the group in behind to take third on the day. His palmares is superb, this has been his stated target all year, and he's looked mega strong in the cobbled races so far. He won Ronde last year with a long range attack that was never brought back, and I think he'll try and get out in front again in this and make the other contenders chase him, safe in the knowledge that even if he is brought back it will set things up for his Quickstep team mates. Big Phil has a fantastic chance.

The Others
As well as Gilbert, Quickstep have several other cards to play in Terpstra 10/1 who won this race in 2014 and has already won Le Samyn, E3 Harelbeke and Ronde this year. He will obviously have his share of fans, and be well marked. They also have Zdenek Stybar 14/1 who has been runner-up twice in three years and Yves Lampaert 50/1 who won Dwars Doors Vlaanderen 10 days before this. Any of those four are potential winners. Quickstep are so dominant this season that all the other sides have to find a way of beating them first then winning the race second. Jon Degenkolb 14/1 won this race in 2015 but looks short based on what he's shown since his return from missing the following season after being taken out by a car in a training accident, and he will only share co-leadership  of Trek with Jesper Stuyven 22/1 who at the prices may be a better bet. Alexander Kristoff 25/1 hasn't had a great couple of years, he's seemed to have declined from the superstar sprinter and classics specialist from a couple of years ago, but there have been signs that he's coming back to form and he's dangerous to discount. Gianni Moscon 25/1, Oli Naesen 25/1 and Mads Pedersen 33/1 are the young, improving cobbled classic specialists, and while it would be a mild surprise to see them win this, it would shock no-one if they made the final selection, and a podium is a possibility for all three.  Sky actually have a strong squad for this, with Luke Rowe 66/1 and Ian Stannard 40/1 seemingly come back into form. Wout Van Aert 18/1 has continued to impress in his debut spring classics season but his price is surely too short given the quality of his rivals in this. Arnaud Demare 25/1 and Matteo Trentin 66/1 are sprinters that handle the cobbles well and could be contenders if they can follow the attacks. Demare especially has shown progressively improving results in this race and could be a serious contender.

My idea of the Winner
He's won the World Championships, Ronde Van Vlaaderen, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Lombardia twice and Amstel Gold four times. He's one of the strongest men in the peloton and has been targeting this race all season. It's time for Phil Gilbert to complete his Palmares by winning The Hell of the North, I've taken the 14 and 15 available here win only. Of the others, I like Stuyven and Kristoff as each way plays and I'll take them with one of the books who are paying each way bets to four places.
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Report SwingingPick April 6, 2018 4:02 PM BST
Lovely thread MC, thanks for inspiring the forum for another quality Sunday race with the HELL of the NORTH.

I was pretty-much ready to go too, and will, but I just want to pick up on a point in your Sagan analysis. I have had the advantage of reviewing RVV again and it was actually Nibali who set things up for Terpstra when he made the move off the front, not so much QST, although I can concede that they rode very astutely for the most part. In any case, I think Sagan was yo-yoing a bit throughout the race, and when he does that he doesn't seem to be on good sensations or his sensations are artifical in terms of him riding in a forced manner, which is a similar thing which could be observed in Kwiatkowski in the same race who I thought was initially over-racing, but what I am convinced in retrospect was an artifical impetus or forced pedle stroke.

On another point, I was wondering if your Gilbert call at the conclusion of your RVV thread by stating that you were all in on him was mere bravado or boldness from the excitement of getting a result with Terpstra, and that by now you might have cooled on him somewhat. I now see that you are still as strong on him as you were then, and I must say that I disagree with your analysis. He has a shockingly-poor strike-rate in this race, actually scratch that, he has no results at all, and that is as it should be, he simply does not have the characteristics to threaten riders who are born along these stretches and hard tracks. I am therefore putting my money where my mouth is, and laying Gilbert on here, admittedly not for much, but enough to stand behind my analysis against Gilbert's chances. I do not believe he has a chance to win. However, I do agree with your analysis in relation to QST tactics in putting him out in front from long range and forcing other teams to chase. That makes very good sense, but I believe it is different for him to have remained out in front on the hellingen of RVV as opposed to the open, flat stretches of rain-scoured cobbles and wind-affected plains, here. He tried this last year on a flat circuit some 20kms from the finish and never looked likely. He will never have an opportunity to come into his own in the race, in terms of concolidating any advantage he might have gained on the hellingen of Flanders, and as a result he'll be managed and claimed with little effort. Moreover, he is very poor value, should be 33/1 as a start and would have him go out to 49/1.

I tipped GVA to win this on this forum last year with excellent value, however I think I have uncovered four riders worthy of interest according to their respective star (*) rating.

**** Arnaud Demare 6th here last year when going to the line best from the 16-man second group. Best result here was a 4th-place finish in 2011 when riding in the under-23 race. 12th in 2014 was his best in the Elite race. Has a 2nd and 3rd on the cobbles and finished on the podium in MSR this season. Rode prominently last start in RVV, suggesting an improving arc to his condition. Opened at as high as 24/1 and best presently, however he has been as low as 17/1, where he belongs, so 24/1 is exceptional value on E/W terms, especially since a couple are going four places. Coming into this at the right time. Go very close. 

** Niki Terpstra DNF last year after crashing-out due to a mechanical failure. Won here in 2014 in splendid fashion when going solo late. Won last start RVV going deep and finshing-off well. Will be further improved on the back of such a strong performance, and his character dictates that he will be making claims as QST's principal for full and committed assistance on the road. Came in after his RVV win and was as high as 9/1 and as low as 5/1. I believe he should be just behind Sagan on the second line of betting and therefore believe he represents excellent value at 9/1 or better, W/O. Expecting a good go for him into 7/1 at the start line. One of the main contenders.

1/2* Jasper Stuyven 4th here last year when coming into the velodrome with the race-winning break. Initially, signalled his promise on the cobbles when winning KBK solo in 2016. Defended that race in 2017 in admirable fashion when getting beat into 2nd-place by non-other than Sagan. Has had a consistent season on the cobbles without getting any results and is proven over this way of going with an impressive engine to hurt the main contenders if given the right conditions. Priced flatly across the boards with some taking him on at 24/1, however his true price is 66/1. E/W, best. Knocking on the door of a breakthrough win. Treat warily.

1/8* Mike Teunissen 49th here last year. Best finish was a win in the Under-23 race in 2014. This season, has a nice 2nd-place finish in DDV prior to his 18th-place finish in RVV. 23rd in Scheldeprijs last start. Nowhere near any sort of value at 79/1, expect 150/1 considering place terms. Can give a good account of himself and is in a buoyant state of mind. Place claims best. Worthy of some consideration.
Report marychain1 April 7, 2018 2:03 AM BST
Hi SP, definitely think the four you've mentioned are live chances, although Teunissen would be a big shock despite his impressive spring. You're right to say Nibali lit things up and Terpstra attacked off the back of that but my point was that Oss was working before that when it should have been the responsibility of Quickstep to bring that foursome back. A race-ending tactical mistake because when Terpstra attacks, there is not the power to bring him back.

RE Gilbert, he was a muur rider for most of his career but now the explosiveness is gone and the skill on the pave remains, he is the man for this race I believe.
Report marychain1 April 7, 2018 2:12 AM BST
Also, I think Gilbert is the strongest man in the peloton, bar none, and basically, he wins what he wants to win these days. His goal is this, he is in the strongest team and it will take something extraordinary to stop him winning it, imo.
Report monarch April 7, 2018 7:03 PM BST
Would agree Gilbert looks the answer. See eight eight eight have him listed at 15s but that must be a mistake by oddschecker. Either way cant get a bet on with them !! Have availed of a bit of 12, 11 & 9 on here as think it looks great value. Good luck all !!
Report monarch April 7, 2018 7:18 PM BST
Top right up again both of you btw
Report marychain1 April 8, 2018 8:38 AM BST
Warm and Dry, not good news for Stybar or Van Aert.

My team
Report Cauthenmeister April 8, 2018 10:15 AM BST
Some interesting beers in this part of France too MC.

Disappointed with the dry weather, I backed Van Aert a few weeks ago and have been toying with Stybar. I backed him Win only last year when supposedly he was working for Boonen, expect him to be up the road again at some point this year even if Gilbert is team first choice.
Report charlatan April 8, 2018 12:49 PM BST
two haymen
Report marychain1 April 8, 2018 1:56 PM BST
Looks like that might be the end of Trentin
Report marychain1 April 8, 2018 1:57 PM BST
Sounds like the young Belgian rider Michael Goolaerts from Verandas Willems has suffered cardiac arrest. Hope he pulls through. Only 23.
Report SwingingPick April 8, 2018 5:38 PM BST
Well, thrilling stuff from the Boss of the peloton. I mean, very difficult to think that such a quality group were going to just let Sagan ride off the front without any concern whatsoever. I guess they expected to drill the pave sectors and keep him within range, but the only rider who looked likely doing that was Terpstra, however Sagan was drilling the sectors too, and by staying with the break and getting assistancefrom them, he put the writing on the wall very early on in the piece. GVA could've done more, but he looked to be struggling just prior to Sagan's attack, and whilst he regained some composure it seems like he is well behind from last year, and that's his season pretty much over now.

Amazing ride from Dillier, I always hold great respect for riders who do their fair share and for him to have worked with Sagan was very good to see, and whilst he was just hanging-on in the final sectors, he was very valiant in defeat, I think.

Didn't really see Terpstra's attack, but he confirmed his top condition to put big time into the chase group in short order. I mainly had him WIN ONLY, so no joy for me with his 3rd-place finish, but am glad he rode truly. Pity also about Stuyven, fair ride, he hurt his chances by attacking earlier, but would've been nice to have had him come into 4th for a place. Teunissen rode with courage to have attacked when he did, but obviously an inexperienced move and whilst he finished the race off nicely for an 11th-place, he has much to learn still.

Gilbert's move was amateurish and I think that can only confirm my analysis that he was only ever going to play a tactical role with Terpstra the big hope for QST, coming as it did after Stybar's hand in proceedings. I was never worried with my lay on him, and with the Ardennes coming up I think he has cracked his condition a little here. Very odd.

Saw Demare twice, I think. Once at the back, and once at the front, and then never saw him again. Very disappointed with that ride, he has really knocked-up there.

No news on Goolaerts as yet, hopefully he'll pull through -- prayers for him.
Report ekbalko April 8, 2018 11:22 PM BST
Michael Goolaerts died tonight,awful news.
Report marychain1 April 9, 2018 9:09 AM BST
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