Paris-Roubaix 2023, tomorrow Italy focuses on Ganna

Third classic monument of the season after Milano-Sanremo and Flanders

Tomorrow the Paris-Roubaix takes place, the third classic monument of the season after the Milan-Sanremo (won by Van der Poel) and the Tour of Flanders (success by Pogacar). The race is 256.6km long from Compiègne, north-northeast of Paris, to the Roubaix Velodrome. Compiègne has hosted the start of the race every year since 1977, except in 2020, when it was not held due to Covid. The race has ended at the Roubaix Vélodrome since 1943, except for three years, from 1986 to 1988. This year the race will include 29 cobbled sectors, which will start as usual in Troisvilles, around 100km from the start of the course, and the last right in front of the Roubaix Vélodrome.

The three five-star paved sectors – the most difficult – are located at the Trouée d’Arenberg, about 95km from the finish, in Mons-en-Pévèle, 48km from the finish, and at the Carrefour de l’Arbre, just 17 km from the finish. Two teams, Jumbo-Visma and DSM, plan to use a revolutionary tool that allows tire pressure to be adjusted at full speed. With a command on the handlebar, the cyclist can slightly deflate the tires via Bluetooth when crossing the cobblestones. To then inflate them on the sections where there is bitumen thanks to tanks placed in the hubs and mechanical valves. Since 1980 the winner is given the trophy, which represents a cube of pavé. An idea from Francesco Moser, three times Roubaix king: “For the first two victories they gave me a medal, which was insignificant. I said: but give away something that identifies a unique race in the world, I don’t know, a piece of pavé. I said it as a joke, the following year they gave me a piece of pavé as a trophy, which mind you, they are not stones but real blocks of almost 20 centimeters by 20”.

After a week of rain and mud, a shy sun should appear on the French roads to accompany the race. Rather mild temperatures (12-15 degrees) and not consistent wind. Italian cycling enthusiasts still have in their eyes the extraordinary feat of Sonny Colbrelli, king of Roubaix on 3 October 2021: the Brescian – making his debut in the queen of the Classics – won in the sprint by beating Vermeersch and Van der Poel in the sprint, bringing Italy back to the triumph in the Hell of the North more than 20 years after Andrea Tafi’s victory. Among the favourites, the Belgian Wout Va Aert, the Dutch Van der Poel, the Danish Mads Pedersen. After the 2nd place at Sanremo, Italy relies on Filippo Ganna of the Ineos-Grenadier team. “People say that Paris-Roubaix is ​​a fantastic race, but it’s not like that – the blue told L’Equipe -. It’s fun for people who watch it on television. But the runners can’t say that the You have to be a little crazy to love Roubaix.” Ganna, who dreams of repeating the success of 2016 at youth level, finished 35th last year.