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April 12, 2022
As a go-to destination for creatives and cyclists alike, acknowledging the remarkable origins and history of the sport that we adore can be inspiring. While it is difficult to pick a favorite race, we wanted to highlight some inspiration behind a few of our favorite spring classic tees.
As we continue into April, we are excited for Paris Roubaix to take place on Sunday, April, 17th, starting in Compiègne. This years' Hell of The North follows a canceled race in 2020 due to the pandemic and a rescheduled October 2021 race.
Paris- Roubaix, stamped as the 'Hell of the North', is a murderous one-day race from Compiègne to Roubaix, near the Belgium border. Paris-Roubaix is one of the oldest races on the Monuments calendar and was first run in 1896, created by two Roubaix textile designers Théodore Vienne and Maurice Perez. Over a hundred years later, only brief pauses took place during both world wars and then in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This rendition of the race follows the traditional 257.2km route, including 30 sectors of pavé or 54.5km of cobblestone -- roughly a fifth of the entire race. Compared to the Tour of Flanders and Ghent-Wevelgem, Paris Roubaix cobblestones may be the most unforgiving of them all. They add an increased level of difficulty and intensity, especially when unpredictable weather conditions arise.
Like many Spring Classics, technical stretches of the race often make or break a rider's day. First, is the Arenberg Forest -- a section of cobblestone road under large overstretching trees that riders enter at upwards of 60k/m speeds. Just ask Philippe Gaumont, who in 2001, broke his femur at the entrance of the forest while leading the peloton.
If you're lucky enough to get through the Arenberg Forest in a decent position, you’ll meet Mons-en-Pévèle and Carrefour de l'Arbre -- two 5/5 star difficulty sections. These often determine the leading group or sole leader riding to the finish.
In true Paris-Roubaix fashion, the last stretch of the race pushes the riders straight into the town Velodrome, where they complete one and a half laps of the track in front of a cheering crowd. Taking home a win at Paris-Roubaix demands a perfect balance of skill, finesse, luck, and perseverance, among other things.
While there is a likely group of favorites in the mix to win this year’s Hell of the North, 6 hours of grueling riding through tight roads and over large cobblestones always shuffles the deck. As always, Mathieu van der Poel is a strong contender, especially after his strong show of skill at the recent Tour de Flanders. With a big question mark around the Covid status of superstar Wout van Aert and the physical heath of defending champion Sonny Colbrelli, the door is open for Van der Poel and other riders and teams by the like Tom Pidcock and Ineos Grenadiers riders Dylan van Baarle and Amstel champion Michal Kwiatkowski to push for victory.
On the women’s side, the 2nd ever Paris-Roubaix should be one of the books. Last year, Lizzie Degan slipped away during the opening sector of the pavé and stayed there to the end despite the muddy and slippery conditions. Like other races, getting ahead early at Paris Roubaix can make a world of difference when picking your own lines and avoiding crashes with other riders. This year, a cloudy forecast means that a Degan-like repeat may be more difficult than expected. With Deigan out pregnant with her second child, watch out for European champion Ellen van Dijk and Lucinda Brand, competing in her debut race and skipping last year to race cyclocross. Beyond that, don’t count out Elisa Balsamo ad Audrey Cordon-Ragot to make a push for victory.
Whatever the result may be, we are excited for one of the most coveted cycling races in history to begin. As the 17th of April quickly approaches, don’t hide your excitement, wear it! Explore our Spring Classic Collection which, includes a variety of stylish Paris-Roubaix apparel.
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Road bikes and gravel bikes are two popular types of bicycles that are designed for different purposes. Road bikes are specifically designed for speed and efficiency on the tarmac, while gravel bikes are built for versatility and durability on unpaved roads and mixed terrain. In this article, we will compare and contrast road bikes and gravel bikes to help you decide which one is right for you.