A Rest Day Tomorrow, Only if You Can Clear the Cobblestones
Stage 9 includes the Paris-Roubaix, a classic contest before a rest day that precedes a grueling course through the Alps. The Paris-Roubaix is also known as “Sunday in Hell” and the “Hell of the North.” Riders will traverse more than 20 km of cobblestone streets, where maintaining a grip on the handlebars is horribly difficult. We can expect all sorts of drama here.
On the Paris-Roubaix, we’ll see special bicycles designed specifically for the cobblestones. Even so, there will be punctures and gear shift problems aplenty. Normally, the team car would immediately rush to the scene to offer aide, but the narrow roads make it fairly difficult to arrive. To compensate, local fans will bring wheels before the race and offer them to riders out of reach of assistance. That’s one of the special things spectators get to see in this stage.
Peter Sagan Seeks a Long-Sought Victory on the Paris-Roubaix in 2018
Racing on the Paris-Roubaix goes back to 1896, predating the Tour de France.
This year a race there on April 8th resulted in a victory by Peter Sagan, who has won the UCI Road World Championship three years running. He performs wheelies for vocal fans, and evades crashes that happen right in front of him by jumping over. He is not only humorous, but his handling of the bicycle is simply incredible. As the winner of the Road World Championship, Sagan has won the right to wear the maillot arc-en-ciel, a jersey with five rainbow stripes representing five continents. He gets to keep it until the next champion is determined.
Sagan was disqualified in last year’s Tour de France when judges determined his protruding elbow caused a crash during a sprint. We can certainly expect the man in the maillot arc-en-ciel to spin up another whirlwind this year.