Paris-Roubaix bumps up cobbled kilometers for 2017

Paris-Roubaix organizers have added two new cobblestone sectors to the early kilometers of the race, Briastre and Solesmes.

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Paris-Roubaix organizer ASO announced Wednesday that the 2017 route will add more cobblestones, increasing the total kilometers on pavé to 55 kilometers. The iconic classic, now 114 editions old, will take place April 9.

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To increase the race’s cobbled kilometers, ASO added two sectors: Briastre, which comes at kilometer 112.5, and Solesmes, shortly thereafter at kilometer 116 of the 257km route from Compiègne to the Roubaix velodrome. This season will be the first time those two sectors have been included since 1987, when Belgian Eric Vanderaerden won.

“The first is three kilometers long, it is actually being renovated but it is one of the difficult sectors,” route designer Thierry Gouvenou said of the newly added sectors. “The next is a lot shorter, however it is uphill! It is not our wish to make the race harder at this stage, but to find more diversity between the cobblestone sectors and make sure these areas continue to feed the legend.”

Australian Mathew Hayman won the 2016 Paris-Roubaix after taking part in a very early breakaway, a feat rarely seen in modern editions of the monument race. In 2016, “The Queen of the Classics” ran 257.5km and included 52.8km of cobbles.