02 October 2021

Sébastien Hinault: "Wet cobbles are like going to war”

Paris-Roubaix is shaping up to be a wet race, a climatic factor that could change the characteristics of this unique classic.

Christophe Noppe

Pre-race

“Paris-Roubaix is the race that made me love cycling and made me want to practice this sport. It is the queen of the classics and my wish was to be able to race it one day. It will be the case for the first time this year. I don’t live very far from Roubaix and the French border and this classic makes me dream like many Belgian riders because it is part of the history of our sport, and few events in the North have this magnitude. Tomorrow’s race promises to be hard and complicated. It has rained, the wind is blowing, the cobbles are wet. The women’s race today will make the cobbles even greasier, the following cars will drive over them, and the same for the roads, which will make them dirty and bring mud on top of them ».

Sébastien Hinault, Sport-Director

The briefing

“This edition of Paris-Roubaix is going to be a big job. In this case, there is only one trajectory left to take: the top of the cobblestones! The sides of the road are no longer passable, and even on the top of the cobblestone it is still slippery. So you have to be very careful. This edition of Paris-Roubaix will be different from the others because of the weather conditions. It will be a race of “warriors”, you have to know that before you start. The risks are numerous, the weather is expected to be bad during the whole race. The riders are well aware that they are going to go to war, of course, but it will be a battle between them and their bikes all day long. It will be a real battle, it will be a special edition of Paris-Roubaix. As soon as a rider arrives in Roubaix, he is motivated. Whether it’s spring, April, October, spring or autumn. Paris-Roubaix will always remain Paris-Roubaix when you are involved in this event, all the feelings collide: the joy, the fear, the apprehension, the desire and the adrenaline rush before the race”.

Riders

Connor Swift
Clément Russo
Daniel McLay
Amaury Capiot
Bram Welten
Benjamin Declercq
Christophe Noppe