On the weekend of the 7th and 8th June 2014, TSC completed the 120km route of the Paris-Roubaix Cyclo Sportive as organised by the Velo Club Roubaix CycloTourism. The ride started in Wallers-Arenberg, and cost €10 per entrant. We were lucky enough to have a support driver to allow us to sleep in the start village, but for those without this benefit a bus was organised to take competitors from the finish line in Roubaix to the two start lines (120km or 200km). 1700 people completed the event.
After a near-7 hour drive down to Dover on the Friday afternoon, the team based themselves in the local Eight Bells Wetherspoons before the Saturday morning Eurostar (1st class travel for this team) journey to Calais. On arrival the lads stocked up with bottles of €1,39 wine and headed for the start town of Wallers-Arenberg.
The van was parked up next to the Jean Stablinski monument at the entrance to the Trench of Arenberg and the bikes were checked over – cross bikes with 28C Gatorskins being the popular choice before the BBQ & bevvy session began and lasted until ‘late’.
7am next morning and the first entrants began to fly by the sleeping team, and it was off to the startline registration for 8am. The ride took in 34km of cobbled sections with the most brutal segment being the first 40km which included about 16km of cobbles. The route was marked by arrows on the road which were good enough for us not to miss a turn, while the odd marshal and photographer (as well as crowd) could be found around the course. The feed stations were evenly split after 40km and 85km of the ride and offered all riders a sandwich as well as stacks of waffles, cakes, chocolate, fruit and drinks. Toilets were also present and used!
The end of the Sportive saw entrants ride into the famous Velodrome at Roubaix and complete a lap before getting a free beer and showering in the famous showers! Music and frite stands as well as beer kept the party going, and souvenir cobbles were yours for €15 extra.
We still can’t work out how such a brilliant sportive can cost only €10! We’ll be back for the next one in 2016!
Photos can be found at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.638721002908202.1073741855.183834381730202&type=1
For information about the event please visit the clubs website at http://www.vc-roubaix-cyclo.fr/site/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=164&Itemid=34