Paris-Roubaix: Napoleon's Trench


Paris-Roubaix is an exquisitely ancient race. The Forest of Arenberg contain pave dating as far back as Napoleon.

Remarkable. Notorious. Historical. Real.


A huge landmark and it's closed off except for that one Sunday in April. Two point five kms long, it's narrow trench can provide the perfect escape for a single or a small group of riders. For the unlucky, too many try to fit in the small corridor where falls are inevitable amongst the deafening cauldron of noise and jagged sharp pave.

The idea is to be first in and the first out. That's easy to say. Many are propelled by the sheer speed of the rider in front. Stopping is not an option. There's a saying that Paris-Roubaix is not won in Arenberg but can easily be lost there.

If the riders survive here... there's still some 100 kms left to Roubaix.