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Old 01-02-14, 12:23 PM   #1
josullivan
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Paris-Roubaix

I have watched this classic since the early eighties when my compatriot Sean Kelly won it twice.
I have recently watched some of the editions again on Youtube and the thought crossed my mind about what kind of advantage do the riders get by riding at the side of the cobbled sections where the track seems quite a bit smoother than on the cobbles themselves?
Of course the danger here is of being clipped by a spectator , as Stybar and Van den Berg found out to their cost in the 2013 edition.
Does anybody out there have any first hand experience of riding the cobbles and could offer an opinion on this.

thanks in advance

Brendan O'Sullivan
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Old 01-02-14, 12:31 PM   #2
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.... what kind of advantage do the riders get by riding at the side of the cobbled sections where the track seems quite a bit smoother than on the cobbles themselves?...
Discounting the reduced traction from polished cobbles, you generally want to ride the most worn track possible. This is where you'll get the minimum vibration and lost speed due to the bumps. It's also the most comfortable, which is a real factor on long stretches of rough roads.

As I said, there's the downside of reduced traction, which becomes paramount if it rains.

If you keep in mind that every bump involves lost speed and more effort to maintain speed, you'll understand why experienced riders seek the smoothest track possible.
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Old 01-02-14, 12:44 PM   #3
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If you keep in mind that every bump involves lost speed and more effort to maintain speed, you'll understand why experienced riders seek the smoothest track possible.
Exactly, the worn strip along the head sized pave' is the fast track if no spectators are standing on it .
Here's some pics of how the Hell of the North was ridden back when.

Glad pave' sections are added to the '14TdF, should be interesting to see the grand tour specialists try to deal w/ classics conditions.
Wiggins, Froome & Contador the cobbles? Have fun boyos.....it's going to be manly time!

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Old 01-02-14, 01:22 PM   #4
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Discounting the reduced traction from polished cobbles, you generally want to ride the most worn track possible. This is where you'll get the minimum vibration and lost speed due to the bumps. It's also the most comfortable, which is a real factor on long stretches of rough roads...

If you keep in mind that every bump involves lost speed and more effort to maintain speed, you'll understand why experienced riders seek the smoothest track possible.
Yep.
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Old 01-02-14, 02:13 PM   #5
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If you time it right there is a way you can experience this firsthand. If a street near you is being repaved in the manner where they strip off the top 4 inches of so try riding it when stripped but not repaved, then try the new pavement.

With really good timing you might even to ride one section stripped and another repaved on the same ride.

Faster and easier and the small irregularity on this is nothing compared to cobbles.

EDIT: Decades ago I had the 'pleasure' of hitting a long section of stripped pavement, as in 5 miles long with no reasonable alternate route. Again much easier than cobbles and slightly downhill to boot. No real danger of a fall, but the shaking took a toll. I have the utmost respect for guys who RACE cobles. It sucked to just endure less at even moderate speed.

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Old 01-02-14, 02:24 PM   #6
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If you time it right there is a way you can experience this firsthand. If a street near you is being repaved in the manner where they strip off the top 4 inches of so try riding it when stripped but not repaved, then try the new pavement.

With really good timing you might even to ride one section stripped and another repaved on the same ride.

Faster and easier and the small irregularity on this is nothing compared to cobbles.

EDIT: Decades ago I had the 'pleasure' of hitting a long section of stripped pavement, as in 5 miles long with no reasonable alternate route. Again much easier than cobbles and slightly downhill to boot. No real danger of a fall, but the shaking took a toll. I have the utmost respect for guys who RACE cobles. It sucked to just endure less at even moderate speed.
I was just about to say: not even close. But your edit beat me to it.

I rode some of the Flemish cobbled 'bergs. I was astounded that my bike didn't break in two! My son then rode most of the Paris-Roubaix cobbled sections (last 100km's of the 2012 race route) while I drove support behind the group. That was bad enough! I thought the van was going to fall apart!
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Old 01-02-14, 02:48 PM   #7
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Riding down in the gutter like that also increases the chances of getting a flat, as that is where all the detritus accumulates. It is a risk/reward decision...smoother faster conditions, but you might get taken down by a spectator or a flat.
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Old 01-02-14, 05:53 PM   #8
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Glad pave' sections are added to the '14TdF, should be interesting to see the grand tour specialists try to deal w/ classics conditions.
Wiggins, Froome & Contador the cobbles? Have fun boyos.....it's going to be manly time!
The Pave has featured in the Tour before, they throw it in every 10 years or so. It rarely makes a significant difference. As Kelly himself has said, the thing that really makes Paris-Roubaix the race it is, is that you're riding the cobbles in wet spring weather (hence all the pictures of mud-caked winners), rather than the dry dusty July of Le Tour.

Plus it's one day. You'll see big time gaps in P-R because riders who know they've missed the cut will ease off. There's no team defending a Maillot Jaune to keep the breakaways in line.

At most, you might see a break gain a minute or 2, like Saxo-Tinkoff did in the crosswinds of stage 13 this year. But don't expect nearly the type of splintered peloton you get in the high mountains.
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Old 01-02-14, 06:11 PM   #9
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The Pave has featured in the Tour before, they throw it in every 10 years or so. It rarely makes a significant difference. As Kelly himself has said, the thing that really makes Paris-Roubaix the race it is, is that you're riding the cobbles in wet spring weather (hence all the pictures of mud-caked winners), rather than the dry dusty July of Le Tour.

Plus it's one day. You'll see big time gaps in P-R because riders who know they've missed the cut will ease off. There's no team defending a Maillot Jaune to keep the breakaways in line.

At most, you might see a break gain a minute or 2, like Saxo-Tinkoff did in the crosswinds of stage 13 this year. But don't expect nearly the type of splintered peloton you get in the high mountains.
Bingo.

All I would hope for from the inclusion is the possibility of a gap being created. Nothing more.

Now alternating sections of Pave and some short hard climbs might be fun to watch and hell to ride.
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Old 01-02-14, 08:19 PM   #10
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The Pave has featured in the Tour before, they throw it in every 10 years or so. It rarely makes a significant difference.
But it is the seasoning that makes a tasty soup.
Bringing Pave' back to the TdF adds a picquant flavor to season the dainty grand tour specialists properly.

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Old 01-03-14, 02:28 AM   #11
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The Cobbled Hill the KimmelBerg on the Belgian side of the border is like a stone rooftop/

the cobbles quite rounded on the top said to be "like the heads of Children"..
In the Ghent Wavelgem Race, 1st they sent the pack out to the coastal towns first,

to put a Hundred miles in their legs then loop them twice over the Hill at Kimmel.

Wevelgem is not far from Kortrijk. and the direct route, to Ghent, is following a Navigational canal
and I took a more casual pace.. on my Tour.
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Old 01-03-14, 11:02 AM   #12
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It just goes to show what a great all-round rider Greg Lemond was--my favourite rider all-time.
He rode Paris-Roubaix a few times--best finish was 4th.
I can't imagine most of the Grand Tour contenders of today even surviving----Rodriguez, Quintana, Valverde etc--forget it. Possibly Wiggins or Froome because of their time-trial power might do better.
I long for the great all-rounders of yesteryear like Lemond, Hinault, Kelly, Merkx sho could ride everything, but, those days are gone.
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Old 01-04-14, 04:24 PM   #13
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Lemond was one to shift over time to the one race Americans paid attention to..

Armstrong really peaked into a July Guy.


Remember they are old farm roads.. the stones are there
because they would be impossibly Muddy tracks
without them and so the surface water drains around them ..

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Old 01-10-14, 04:02 PM   #14
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If you look at his palmares, LeMond didn't win that many races, but the ones he won were really big ones. He was a big-race rider.

1983
1st World Road Race Champion
1st Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
1984
1985
1st Overall Coors Classic
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1st Overall Tour de France
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1st Overall Tour de France
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Old 01-12-14, 11:17 PM   #15
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If you look at his palmares, LeMond didn't win that many races, but the ones he won were really big ones. He was a big-race rider.

1983
1st World Road Race Champion
1st Overall Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré
1984
1985
1st Overall Coors Classic
1986
1st Overall Tour de France
1989
1st Overall Tour de France
1st World Road Race Champion
1990
1st Overall Tour de France
1992
1st Overall Tour DuPont

Lemond won the GC in the Coors classic in '81 as well. He was a pro already for Renault-Elf-Gitane that year.

In '79 he placed 4th as a 17 year old ! (Up until 1980 known as the "Red Zinger Classic" before Mo Siegel sold the race to Coors) The best American stage race even then. I was close to the start of the Manitou Springs to Hoosier Pass road race stage of the Red Zinger Classic in 1979, btw, but didn't even know who Lemond was then or remember seeing him go by.

In '84, btw, he was on the podium in 3rd place in his 1st TDF in support of Fignon. He got the white that year.

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Old 01-13-14, 01:00 PM   #16
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Fignon would definitely have won the "89 Tour if Lemond hadn't used aerobars in the final time-trial.
I still love the guy .
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Old 02-05-14, 02:16 PM   #17
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Going back to Paris-Roubaix: Does anybody if any rider has flatted on the Velodrome when in contnetion for the win?
On a more general note, are there any rules in place as to when, and who, should give a rider a psu after they have stopped either because o a mechanical or crash. Can anybody do it or does it have to be a team member?
Also, is it common for riders, such as some in the gruppetto, having to climb off and walk up particularly steep climbs. I know there was an example of this happening in last year's Tirreno adriaco?
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Old 02-05-14, 02:59 PM   #18
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Going back to Paris-Roubaix: Does anybody if any rider has flatted on the Velodrome when in contnetion for the win?
Don't know. But Vansummeren rode the final few km in 2011 with a flat to hold off Cancellara for the win.
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