05/04/2017, CANYON Trinities, Part 2
The mere mention of the greatest sporting spectacles can raise the heart rates of competitors and fans. The 27 scarred pavé sectors that make Paris-Roubaix a race like no other are from a different era. Words do not come close to describing the brutality of the cobbles here. They have to be seen to be believed, and then tackled at full bore before you even begin to comprehend what it must take to make it to the finish line in Roubaix. The nickname, "The Hell of the North," has stuck with good reason.
Of the 27 "secteurs", only three are deemed worthy of a maximum five star rating, longer and rougher than all the rest. It's here, more than anywhere, that the race hangs in the balance. Mechanical mishaps can strike at any time, particulary when entering the Trouée d'Arenberg downhill at over 60 km/h. Water gathered in the troughs on Mons-en-Pévèle turns an already unpredictable surface into an ice rink. Then finally, when all is almost said and done, there come sections of Carrefour de l'Arbre that appear impassable. The only certainty regarding this iconic trinity of pavés is that the shape of the race will be very different when it emerges, to how it went in.