Paris-Roubaix Challenge date change sets up cobbled sportive clash with Flanders
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paris-Roubaix Challenge date change sets up cobbled sportive clash with Flanders

by Ben Atkins at 12:34 PM EST   comments
Categories: Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders
Second edition of ASO event to take place the day after established Ronde van Vlaanderen ride

paris-roubaix challengeWith its first edition having been declared a resounding success last year, the Paris-Roubaix Challenge is set to return in 2012. The event, organised by Tour de France owner ASO – which also runs the Paris-Roubaix WorldTour race – is to move forward almost a week though, setting up a potential clash with the well-established cycle tourist version of the nearby Ronde van Vlaanderen.

This year’s event was run on Saturday April 9th, the day before Paris-Roubaix, while the 2012 edition will take place on Sunday April 1st, the day after the Flemish event, and the same day as the WorldTour Ronde van Vlaanderen race.

The reason for the Paris-Roubaix event’s date change is one of logistics; the first edition of the event – which was largely regarded as a test run – was not able to be run over completely closed roads, due to the Saturday traffic. Also, because of the busy roads around Roubaix, which is a part of the greater metropolitan area of the city of Lille, the event ended at the Carrefour de l’Arbre, the last serious cobbled sector on the course.

The move to April 1st, a Sunday, will mean that it will be possible to close roads throughout the 130-140km route, meaning that it will be able to run as a genuine cyclosportive. It will also mean that riders will be able to continue all the way to the iconic Roubaix vélodrome, to finish on the famous concrete track where the WorldTour race ends.

How much of a conflict with the Ronde van Vlaanderen voor wielertoeristen en mtb’ers the new date would create is unclear at this point. The course of the Ronde ride might well be complicated by the race route change, which tackles the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg three times each; but the Belgian event, which has been running on the day before the WorldTour race since 1999, typically has more than 20,000 riders taking part over a variety of distances.

Entries to the Paris-Roubaix challenge were limited to 3,000 last year and, while this might well rise on the new Sunday date, it will still be eclipsed by its Flemish neighbour. Many riders will likely take up the challenge of riding both events although, for many riders, the experience of the Flanders event is completed by watching the professionals race the following day.

Registrations for the Paris-Roubaix Challenge open on November 17th, either on the event’s website ( or via a number of approved sports travel agencies.


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