What can I expect from the Paris Roubaix Sportive?

Paris Roubaix Sportive 2018 Medal

The Paris Roubaix Sportive is a cycling event that takes place in Northern France each year. It is one of the most challenging and prestigious amateur cycling races in the world, attracting thousands of participants from all over the globe. The race is named after the famous Paris Roubaix professional cycling race, which is held a day after the sportive and is part of the UCI World Tour.

I’ve ridden the sportive in 2013 and also more successfully in 2019, before revisiting some of the sections in 2022. For me, it’s the single hardest sportive just from a mental point of view. The cobbles you shake you and take you to a deep dark place before the end of the ride. You certainly finish with a new respect for the pros!

The Paris Roubaix Sportive is known for its rough cobbled sections, which are a hallmark of the professional race. Participants in the sportive have the opportunity to ride on the same cobblestones as the pros, experiencing first-hand the challenges of the race. The cobbled sections are particularly demanding, as they require a high level of skill, strength, and endurance. The cobbles are uneven and can be treacherous when wet, making them a significant challenge for even the most experienced cyclists.

The Paris Roubaix Sportive is a mass-participation event, with participants able to choose from a range of distances and routes. The longest route covers over 170km and includes 29 cobbled sections, while the shortest route is 70km and includes 14 cobbled sections. Each route provides a unique challenge, with the longer routes requiring greater endurance and the shorter routes demanding greater speed and technical skill. The Arenberg is notable for its brutality.

Arenberg Paris Roubaix
The Arenberg is legendary for its brutal cobbles

The Paris Roubaix Sportive attracts a diverse range of participants, from amateur cyclists to seasoned pros. The event is open to cyclists of all abilities, with participants encouraged to set their own pace and ride at their own level. Many participants use the event as a personal challenge, pushing themselves to their limits and testing their skills and endurance.

The Paris Roubaix Sportive is not just a race, but also a celebration of cycling culture. The event is known for its lively and festive atmosphere, with participants and spectators alike coming together to celebrate the joy of cycling. The race passes through some of the most beautiful and historic towns in Northern France, providing participants with a unique cultural experience.

One of the most unique features of the Paris Roubaix Sportive is the opportunity to ride on the famous Velodrome in Roubaix. This iconic venue is the finishing point for the professional race and is steeped in cycling history. Participants in the sportive are able to experience the thrill of riding on the same track as some of the greatest cyclists in history, adding to the excitement and prestige of the event.

Elisa Longo Borghini Paris Roubaix Femmes 2022

The Paris Roubaix Sportive is not just a physical challenge, but also a mental one. The race requires participants to be focused, determined, and mentally tough, pushing through the pain and discomfort to achieve their goals. The cobbled sections, in particular, require a high level of mental strength, as participants must navigate the uneven terrain while maintaining their balance and speed.

The Paris Roubaix Sportive is also a test of equipment and preparation. The cobbled sections can be punishing on bikes, with many riders opting for specially designed bikes with wider tires and extra suspension. Participants must also be prepared for the weather, which can be unpredictable and changeable in Northern France. Proper clothing and equipment are essential to ensure a comfortable and safe ride.

The Paris Roubaix Sportive is an unforgettable experience for cyclists of all abilities. The race offers a unique opportunity to ride on the same cobbles as the pros and experience the thrill and challenge of one of the world’s most iconic cycling races. The event is a celebration of cycling culture, bringing together participants and spectators from all over the world to share in the joy and camaraderie of the sport.