Part of the magic of Paris-Roubaix is the infinite detail in which teams prepare for this iconic race.
Much of that preparation came together in the days before the “Hell of the North” in the annual recon, where riders tested their equipment and felt out the cobbles.
It is a sort of dress rehearsal. For some, the focus is on the equipment, while for others the recon is about the ride. And for all: It is a rite of passage before one of the most challenging races of the year.
Seen from above, Dutch national champion Timo Rossen seemingly floated over the cobbles of the legendary Arenberg Forest, one of the most feared sectors in the race.
Approaching their second Paris-Roubaix, the women’s teams were equally visible on the cobbles again this year.
This red brick barn with its faded advertisement marked the entrance of the Orchies sector of cobbles for the Ineos Grenadiers team.
Recent Milan-San Remo winner Matej Mohorič tests out his legs on the cobbles. The Slovenian — and his dropper-post-equipped Merida bike — could well be one of the favorites in this year’s Roubaix as well.
The Uno-X women’s team cruised over the cobbles at Orchies.
This fan had been camping with his family for several days to make sure they saw all of the riders pass during the Roubaix recon.
This sector is named after French champion Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle. A teammate of Greg LeMond, Duclos-Lassalle twice won Roubaix, late in his career, in 1992 and 1993.
Although the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team was not doing recon until Friday, Danish champ Kasper Asgreen — did his own solo ride Wednesday.
The Team DSM women rode past the windmill that towers over the cobbles on the outskirts of Templeuve.
These Jasper Stuyven fans were busy painting his name on the road days before the race.
This junior rider cruises over the legendary Carrefour de l’Arbre sector.
Paris-Roubaix is now a triple event with the elite women racing on Saturday, and the juniors racing early, on Sunday morning.