Always a game-changer, the vicious cobblestone streets Paris-Roubaix promise to be a pivotal point in the Tour de France.
With the help of the Tinkoff-Saxo team, rider Alberto Contador hopes for solace in the expected brutal conditions. And with projected weather forecasts including harsh rain and high winds, every rider will be looking for any edge-up they can get.
Rewind four years back to 2010 and the world saw Andy Shleck and Cadel Evans trounce Contador in a hard fought battle on the streets of Paris-Roubaix. This year, rivals of Contador such as Andrew Talansky and Michael Kwiatkowski have the aid of former Classics veterans. Contador has no such advantage.
However, he hopes that the defensive riding of his Tinkoff-Saxo teammates will be enough of an edge to lead him to victory en route to Arenberg.
Following a tortuous 155.5 kilometer route starting in Ypres to the Arenberg Forest, all the riders including Spain’s Contador fear the unavoidable wet conditions which will reduce traction on the pavement to that of ice. In addition to the treacherous rain, riders are cautious about the call for strong, fast winds.
“The weather forecast is very bad. Already without bad weather it will be a complicated stage but with rain it will be like ice-skating with bikes,” maligns Contador.
Yet despite the calls for hellish weather, Contador is hopeful for himself and his team. “But we are concentrated and we’ll ride the sections together as a team.”