Paris-Roubaix 2020 offers cyclists gruelling new challenges
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    Paris-Roubaix 2020 offers cyclists gruelling new challenges

    © Belga

    The 118th edition of the Paris-Roubaix World Tour Classic cycling competition, to be held on Sunday 12 April, requires cyclists to tackle 55 kms of cobblestones in 30 sectors over its 259-km route, organisers announced on Monday.

    The 2019 edition of the race known as the ‘Hell of the North’ had included 54.5 kms of cobblestones in 29 sectors.

    This year’s modifications allow paths occasionally taken by the Paris-Roubaix to be revisited, and that could make the first cobblestone stints tougher, especially the uphill climb to the Hameau du Buat (Buat Hamlet), the organisers indicated.

    Unlike last year, the entire 2.2-km length of the first cobbled sector, Troisvilles (Sector 30), will be included in the race. Then again, the riders will be going uphill at Sector 25, Vertain, for the first time ever.

    Discovered in 2005, the Hameau du Buat Sector had not been included since 2016. After the cyclists complete its cobbled, uphill climb of over one kilometre, they will have another 30 kilometres to prepare for the Trouée d’Arenberg challenge at km 160. At that point, the selection generally becomes more radical, just as it does at the other “five-star” sectors, Mons-en-Pévèle (Km 209.5) and Carrefour de l’Arbre (Km 240.5).

    Germany’s John Degenkolb, winner of the 2015 edition, has joined the Belgian Lotto Soudal team this winter. This year’s race includes a sector bearing his name, No. 17, from Hornaing to Wandignies, starting at Km 175.5.

    The race begins at 11:00 AM on 12 April at Compiègne and ends at the Roubaix Velodrome, where the Belgian cyclist Philippe Gilbert won first place last year.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times