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Paris-Roubaix Live!!

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At long last... the Queen of the Classics is here. Some critical info to keep handy during the race:

  • CN has finally come through with its breakdown of each sector of pave, including the ratings (one to five stars)that Le Tour left out of its media packet this year. An example:
Secteur 18 - Tranchée (ou Trouée) d'Arenberg
Length: 2.4 km
Rating: ***
Km from start: 164
Km from finish: 95.5
Because of the shelter given by the overhanging trees along its length, and because of the underground aquifer that is reputedly very close to the surface, the ground here never seems to fully dry out. Coupled with the subsidence that hundreds of years of mining can cause to the area, this is one of the most unbelievable roads in the world. In recent years there have been a number of serious incidents here that have put its use in jeopardy, most notably in 1998 when Johann Museeuw fell and smashed his kneecap just a week after his dominant third victory in the Tour of Flanders, causing the organisers to run the course from the opposite end so that they wouldn't hit it so fast. Until a few years ago, it was possible to ride along the mud at the sides, amongst and even behind the spectators, but the organisers have now put barriers along the length of the Trouée to prevent this. Now everybody gets to experience the seventh level of Hell!
  • Cycling.TV starts whenever French TV does, currently estimated around 7:15 EDT/ 4:15 PDT. Look for my first note concerning espresso around 4:45. Get up early, the action starts... well, anywhere. And definitely by the Arenberg forest section, probably around 5am Pacific.

Forecast is for pleasant weather, but headwinds should make it a long, difficult day. A great day for racing!