2011 Paris – Roubaix preview – Part II

Tomorrow, the Paris-Roubaix runs for the 109th edition of the race with perhaps one of the most compelling set of storylines unfolding for the battle for King of the cobbles. Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen are at the forefront of the race. Boonen, who last won in 2009 is in search for his record tying fourth Roubaix win, and barring any lingering effects of two crashes in the Schjledelpris, he looks on good form to complete for that win. Fabian Cancellara, the favorite for the race, looks to be in as good of form as ever, and appears to have everything going in his favour as he’s healthy, strong and should be determined after a disappointing third in De Ronde.

Then you have the rest of the field, who by no means shouldn’t be discounted. I was having some fun earlier this week pumping the tires of Cancellara and Boonen, but this is by no means a two-trick pony. I mean no disrespect to Thor Hushovd, Alessandro Ballan, Fillipo Pozzato or Juan Antonio Flecha when I didn’t mention their names as favorites in my pervious post, because they certainly are. Additionally, their are a myriad of others who could win tomorrow and that strong field is what is going to make things interesting.

Last year, both Ballan and Pozzato missed the race and this year they are back. As well, Hushovd has staked everything this season on Paris-Roubaix, which could end up being his undoing, but he will likely never be more motivated than this year, wearing the World Champion colours, but his conditioning has raised some questions.

Note: I will not be able to show the Paris-Roubaix live this year unfortunately. I hope to have a better situation figured out for next year, and the Ardenees classics, but this year is not happening. Sorry.

The 2011 edition of the Paris – Roubaix is 258km and it will feature 52.9km of cobblestones. For decades the race has been decided on the cobblestones and the weather, when it is nasty, plays a significant role in determining the race as well and building the folklore of the race.

“A Paris–Roubaix without rain is not a true Paris–Roubaix.

Throw in a little snow as well, it’s not serious.” – Sean Kelly

However, this year, the weather seems to be on the side of the riders. There looks to be little chance of rain and it should be sunny and warm which favors, perhaps, some of the Italians and Spanish as guys like Cancellara have stated they prefer it when it is cooler.

The current weather forecast for Roubaix can be found here

“It’s a bollocks, this race! You’re working like an animal, you don’t have time to piss, you wet your pants. You’re riding in mud like this, you’re slipping … it’s a pile of shit.” said Theo de Rooj

When then asked if he would start the race again, de Rooij replied:

“Sure, it’s the most beautiful race in the world!”

The race schedule is to start at 10:35 CET (1:35 PST) and finish between 17:05-17:25 CET (8:05-8:25 PST)

For more information visit the official Paris-Roubaix site

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