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All Bikes Hand Checked & Assembled Before Shipping Free tracked delivery 90 day Returns 30-Day Test Ride Option Customer Care: 0330 555 0080 0% Finance

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We offer free, tracked UK delivery on orders over £10, with delivery starting from £1.99 for orders below this value. We also have a selection of premium shipping options available including timed slots, Saturday delivery and DPD Pick-up

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We want you to be 100% satisfied with your shopping experience at Rutland Cycling, so we offer a 90-day exchange or refund on any unused item (within the UK).

We've chosen to offer products at the very lowest prices, rather than provide a free returns service. If you do need to return an item, we provide printable postage labels and collection services at a small cost for all items - including bicycles.

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When you buy a new bike at full RRP from rutlandcycling.com, you can now benefit from the added reassurance of our Rutland 30-day test ride. Once your new bike arrives, you can ride it as your own for 30 days, and we're confident you'll love it! However, if it's not right for you, we'll exchange it for another model. (There's a nominal charge of £10 for us to collect your bike - just make sure you keep the box your bike arrived in.)

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The Rutland 30-day test ride is available on all full price, non-discounted bikes available for home delivery on rutlandcycling.com. It is not available on discounted or special offer bikes, click and collect bikes, bikes bought on finance, bikes bought through Cyclescheme, or bikes bought in store. This offer is only available on bikes delivered to mainland UK addresses.

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  • Back to Blog  

    Everything you need to know about Paris-Roubaix

       Words by David Hicks

       on 06/04/2018 08:48:44

    paris-roubaix

    L’Enfer du Nord. The Hell of the North. Paris-Roubaix is no ordinary bike race. In fact, it’s just about the toughest one-day race on the professional calendar and holds near mythical status with fans of road cycling around the world. Marking the close of the Cobbled Classics season, Paris-Roubaix comes one week after the Ronde Van Vlaanderen and what it lacks in elevation it makes up for in sheer unforgiving brutality. Running since the inaugural edition in 1896, Paris-Roubaix is one of the most prestigious victories a rider can claim and the third Monument of the season, with victory only within the grasp of a special type of rider that can excel on the roughest pavé and find luck on his side on that particular Sunday each April.

    The Route

    The 2018 edition of Paris-Roubaix takes place on Sunday 8th April and – despite the name – doesn’t actually start in Paris. Since 1977 that honour has instead been granted to the town of Compiégne, around 85km to the north east of Paris. From here, the riders begin a 257km journey across the north of France along a route which largely replicates the 2017 route before finishing in the famous Roubaix velodrome where the eventual victor will lift a cobblestone trophy and find his name emblazoned on one of the showers where the riders try to return to a normal human state post-race.

    roubaixcoursemap2018

    For the uninitiated, what is it that makes Paris-Roubaix so special? Taken in isolation the elevation profile looks mundane and despite the distance you might expect a routine bunch sprint at the end of the day. But that profile belies the devilish nature of Roubaix that is unveiled and begins to escalate after 93km of racing when the race reaches Troisvilles – here, the riders hit the first section of pavé; barely maintained cobbled farm roads which criss-cross the rural landscape. This is where the race really begins as riders bounce over 29 sectors of cobbles covering a total of 52 kilometres. All of the pavé sectors are rated on a five-star scale, with five stars awarded to the most difficult, treacherous roads.

    That highest five-star rating falls on just three sectors during the race. First up is the iconic Trouée d'Arenberg, or Arenberg Forest, with its jagged cobblestones shrouded by trees. With 95km still to ride at this point the race is rarely won at Arenberg but it can certainly be lost. The next key five-star sector is Mons-en-Pévèle which comes with 50km left to race and at 3km in length, is one of the longer sectors that the riders will tackle. Mons-en-Pévèle can provide a springboard for a long-range attack demonstrated by the likes of Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellera in recent history. If no attack has stuck, the race will certainly be thinned down by the time the race hits the final five-star sector, the Carrefour de l’Arbre, with 17km to ride and with only three somewhat nominal cobbled sections remaining before the finish this is typically where you’ll see a solo rider or final selection surge ahead in the race to the Roubaix velodrome.

    Bikes to tackle to cobbles

    Those incredibly rough cobbled sectors place a huge demand on both the riders and their equipment and it’s here where you’ll find many more endurance-oriented bikes than at any other race. Bikes like Specialized’s Roubaix and Trek Domane which feature ground-breaking technology aimed at smoothing rough roads were pioneered at this very race before making it on to the bikes of us mere mortals. Chances are you’ll also see a range of gear that you won’t see at any other professional race – double-wrapped bars, much wider tyres, and huge inner chainrings – all designed to ease the pain of riding 257km on terrible surfaces.

    See all Sportive & Endurance Bikes >>>

    Riders to watch

    The very nature of Paris-Roubaix makes it more attritional than almost any other race on the calendar and the race is typically won by either a solo rider or from a small group, with only the strongest making it to the front of the race. In addition to having immense strength on their side, those favourites will also need technical ability on the cobbles – look to those who ‘float’ over the cobbles – and a fair share of good luck with the rough terrain resulting in numerous crashes and mechanical issues.

    The riders that will be looking to take victory on Sunday will largely be the same riders who have been at the forefront of all of the cobbled classics so far this season – including pretty much any member of the Quick Step Floors team. Taking wins in a vast number of the spring classics over the past few weeks, Quick Step arguably don’t have an out-and-out leader but instead rely on their immense strength in depth and the tactical advantage which that creates. Among their ranks are 2018 Tour of Flanders winner Niki Terpstra who looks in terrifying form and already has the 2014 edition of Paris-Roubaix on his palmares, followed up by former world champion Philippe Gilbert who, while less familiar with the Roubaix cobbles, is looking to add to the three Monument victories he already has. If those two are marked effectively Zdenek Stybar could come to the fore with two second places at Roubaix under his belt, or look to Yves Lampaert who took to the top step at Dwaars Door Vlaanderen earlier this year.

    If anyone can break Quick Step’s dominance it could be triple World Champion Peter Sagan who has the strength to ride away from a group but the speed to win from a small group. He’s yet to hit the heights at Paris-Roubaix but with a strong BORA-Hansgrohe team, this could be his year. Greg Van Avermaet is a hot favourite off the back of his win here in 2017 and although he has had a quieter Spring campaign this year he still presents a sizeable threat. Another previous winner, John Degenkolb, could be in contention but his young team mate Mads Pedersen also stands out after a strong second place at the Ronde Van Vlaanderen. Such is the unpredictability of crashes and mechanicals at Paris-Roubaix, the list of outsiders for the win is lengthy with riders such as Sep Vanmarcke, cyclocross World Champion Wout Van Aert, and Tony Martin all in with a chance of victory. For British interest, look to Team Sky who, after a quiet Classics campaign so far, bring Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe to the startline.

    paris-roubaix-preview

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