Paris-Roubaix Cobbles Are in an Unusually Good Condition

By Monica Buck

The race director of Paris-Roubaix Thierry Gouvenou went on his traditional reconnaissance ahead of the famed Classic. To his surprise, he found the rough cobblestone farm roads in surprisingly good condition. ASO even went on to strip one star of difficulty from the 2022 Paris-Roubaix.

The lost star comes from the penultimate sector – Willems to Hem – a 1.4-km stretch of pavé that comes with 8.2 km to go and which has been recently rehabilitated. 

“I don’t remember the cobblestones ever being so dry and so good before,” Gouvenou said to Sporza as reported by “They are exceptionally dry. Normally, you have to do some fine-tuning after such a reconnaissance but that’s not the case now.”

Tour de France race director Thierry Gouvenou (L) waits prior to the start of the 10th stage of the 107th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, 170 km between Le Chateau d’Oleron and Saint Martin de Re, on September 8, 2020. © Profimedia

The dryness is in stark contrast to last year’s conditions. The pavé was covered with thick, heavy mud and made for one of the most epic editions of the race in history. However, this week it looks altogether different.

“It will be dry on Sunday. We also begged for rain at the organization for a long time and we were at our beck and call in 2021. Now we are happy that the sun is back. It makes for much less stress,” Gouvenou said.

“I don’t remember that the cobblestones have been so dry and well placed,” Gouvenou said, according to Sporza. “We’ve benefitted from the work we did in October.” Giving the section at Wallers as an example, the Frenchman said: “Last autumn, it was mossy and swampy but we are now reaping the benefits of the cleaning work in autumn.”

However, the race will still be far from easy. There are a total of 94 stars for men (30 sectors) and 57 for women (17 sectors). Three of the sectors earned themselves 5 stars.

Can’t wait as well, can you?