Paris-Roubaix in danger of losing Carrefour de l'Arbre
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paris-Roubaix in danger of losing Carrefour de l'Arbre

by VeloNation Press at 4:33 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix

The Carrefour de l'Arbre, an integral part in the finale of Paris-Roubaix, is in danger of being taken out of this year's edition of the race. The 2.1 kilometer section of pavé has helped define the "The Hell of the North". The riders leave the difficult sector of cobblestones with less than 15 kilometers to race, with it providing the last big opportunity for a decisive race winning attack.

However, in 2009 the Carrefour de l'Arbre's atmosphere hit an all-time low, with unruly crowds throwing beer, spitting on riders and flagrantly interrupting the progress of the cyclists. Following the 2009 edition, Baisieux Mayor Francis Delrue passed a bylaw prohibiting the riders from using 500 meters of the section of cobbles. This was done from the combined result of litter left behind, trampled crops and the aggressiveness from some of the onlookers.

The order is still in place and threatens the use of Carrefour de l'Arbre for the 2010 edition of the race if the issues from last year are not addressed.

"I do not choose to block a race as popular as Paris-Roubaix without cause," Delrue explained to La Voix du Nord. He said that the situation last year was unsafe and he wants some assurance from organizers that the issues will be addressed. "I will lift the ban after receiving all the guarantees [for security and safety] in this area."

His requests include prohibiting alcohol, restrictions for fans who traditionally have camped to save their place along the route, and a significantly increased police presence in the area. The two parties are expected to meet soon and will hopefully come to a resolution.


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