We are approaching the second sunday of april.
Since 1896 the second sunday of april means PARIS – ROUBAIX.
A ride on cobblestones. Perhaps the hardest ride on cobblestones.
There is a reason if they call it “the queen”.
Johan Museeuw has defined it as “a rodeo where everything trembles.”
Perhaps there is no more emblematic definition.
A rodeo, where there are no horses or other beasts to tame.
Only a bike. Only.
Cycling on the cobbles of Roubaix give a unique feeling.
The elements to compare the ride to the Divina Commedia’s Inferno.
Dust, mud, rain, cold, wind, total 259 km of the race, nearly 60 km of cobblestones.
But the cobbles of Roubaix are different from that one of the other classics.
Rough, tough, rough, and seasoned with holes and depressions. Unique.
And unique are the technical solutions adopted by rider and their mechanics.
The frame is reinforced on the rear and it reaches cyclocross features than road.
The bottlecages with increased torque to improve sealing of the bottles.
Some people put some foam under the handlebar tape or cover the bar twice
There is even who installs a brake lever on the handlebar grip horizontally.
There are all the ingredients for living a epic day of cycling.
With Fabian Cancellara out of the contention for the triple fracture to his collarbone remedied Flanders, the favorites are Tom Boonen (chasing his fourth Paris – Roubaix), a renewed Filippo Pozzato (who would like to dedicate his eventual victory to Franco Ballerini), and all the other: Ballan, Van Summeren, Chavanel, Sagan, Paolini.
But pay attention to outsiders. The last two Sanremo, the Roubaix and Flanders 2011 teach.
We will see.
We have only to wait Sunday.