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Pre-Race Scenes From Northern France


Where it's not at all quiet on the western... er, Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. There's plenty of training and chatter going on. Heck, by now the riders are probably tucking into a bowl of pasta. Join us on the flip for training and presser stuff... and another Patrick Verhoest Special!

Arenberg gets all the headlines and front pages, but to me this view of the Orchies stones is as typical Paris-Roubaix as it gets: big open skies, cobblestones in the middle of a field, and pretty much nothing else.


Now just throw in a few riders out training, and presto!


And they say Pippo never attacks... here he's putting the wood to the entire Vacansoleil team! Other guys were out training too.


Story of his life. Here's Tommeke earlier in the day:


Redacted: Boonen being filmed while eating breakfast. Our man Patrick Verhoest made it to the press conference, where he set out to meet the real star:


Yep, that's Tom Boonen's bike, having its own media availability. Here's the bike with one of its handlers:


I'm told the guy handles the bike pretty darn well. We will find out for sure Sunday. Meanwhile, I can die in peace now:


And so too can Albertina:


That's all for now. Isn't it great having photographers?

Pictures on the course © Fotoreporter Sirotti

Boonen Photos by Patrick Verhoest