April 23, 2024

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To avoid a new battlefield: The Paris-Roubaix organization is considering creating hooks for Bos van Wallers

To avoid a new battlefield: The Paris-Roubaix organization is considering creating hooks for Bos van Wallers

There appears to be a notable change in course in the works just days before the Inferno of the North. Paris-Roubaix is ​​considering installing barriers in front of the Wallers Forest. Traditionally, riders arrive at high speeds, which last year led to a battleground for Dylan van Baarle and Casper Asgren, among others.

Sleeps another 5 people and then the strongest classic riders tackle the cobblestones of northern France again.

Several teams – including the unlucky Wout van Aert – had done their homework beforehand by reconnaissance of the course. However, it looks like the 2024 Paris-Roubaix will have a change.

For the 2.3 kilometers of the Trouée d'Arenberg, or Wallers Forest, the organization is considering installing barriers to reduce the speed of the oncoming peloton.

Traditionally, it is quite high, because the approach slopes slightly. Last year, Casper Asgren and Dylan van Baarle – who broke his hand and shoulder – were victims of a serious fall.

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The safety choice raises questions

Scenes that the organization no longer wants to see. At the request of the cyclists' union Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), the option of “constructing turns” is on the table.

“The principle follows that of the motor circuit, where we want to slow down the peloton before it enters the cobbles,” General Manager Thierry Jouvino explains the plan at L'Equipe.

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“Riders are now reaching Waller Forest at around 60km/h, while at 30km/h it would be less dangerous.”

The riders preferred to brake hard and fall onto the asphalt rather than enter the forest at 60 km/h.

Thierry Jovino

There is a but. The proposal raises questions among local authorities, who have yet to approve the idea. They believe the danger simply shifted from above to in front of the legendary cobblestone section.

“When I put it to the riders, they preferred to brake hard at the risk of falling on the asphalt, rather than riding in the forest at 60 km/h,” Jovino disputes this line of thinking.

“We just want to provide more safety when entering the cobblestone section. But maybe we should also think about how to avoid falling as much as possible in the long term.”

On social media, cycling fans have already expressed doubts about the detailing and timing of the idea, just before Paris-Roubaix. “I think this is a good idea,” says racing journalist Theis Zonneveld.

Will Al-Shikani happen or not? The grazing goats who have to leave Waller Forest in perfect condition for Sunday don't seem to care much about it.

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