Cycling News

Look who’s hard at work preparing the cobbles for Paris-Roubaix

Look who’s hard at work preparing the cobbles for Paris-Roubaix

Mathieu van der Poel may be vying to be the G.O.A.T at Paris – Roubaix but he has some stiff competition with…actual goats.

Preparing a course for the most famous one-day races in the world is a lot of work. Preparing the start and finish, setting up barriers, organizing volunteers…there’s a huge list of things to accomplish before the big day.

A brutal section of “road”

The Trouée d’Arenberg section of the race is the most famous pavé sector. At 2.3 km long, it is lined with fans catching a glimpse of the best riders in the world tackling the very bumpy section. Riders will ride all over the road trying to find the smoothest part to save energy.

As part of the race’s “Les Biquettes de l’Espoir,” which translates to goats of hope, the organizers use a clever and eco-friendly way to clear any growth. The weeding is done by 40 goats and sheep. The animals are let loose and graze away, giving the section a nice little trim before the race.

Clean-up, sector 19

The hoofed workers were in action on Tuesday to weed the famous cobbled sector of the Hell of the North. The operation should prevent the section from looking like a baseball field. The cobbles are brutal as it is, but on a wet day, excess grass could make them even more dangerous.

In 2023, the section really needed a good trim. “We had realized during the COVID period, when the section had not been used for more than two years. Nature was rapidly regaining the upper hand. It had become almost a meadow,” Thierry Gouvenou of ASO told AFP. Since 1968, the Arenberg section has been strictly protected and prohibited to vehicles in order to prevent further damage to the pavé .

Derek Gee takes a flier in the forest

During the 2023 edition of Paris-Roubaix, Derek Gee embarked on a rollercoaster of emotions. It was his inaugural visit to the Queen of the Classics. Despite several attempts to break away early on, he couldn’t break free. However, his persistence paid off when, after 80 km , he managed to join a four-man breakaway. Momentum seemed to be on their side until they encountered the Arenberg forest.

The IPT rider said it was “probably one of the coolest moments of my…

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