Paris-Roubaix Challenge gets less challenging

Shorter course, no timing and no velodrome finish for revised event

by Mark Appleton   March 31, 2011  

Ghost Rider of the Paris-Roubaix by Diana Sudyka at poster cabaret

In business, as in life, it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver. Do it the other way round and you put your reputation on the line and open up the door to a world of grief, as the organisers of the Paris-Roubaix Challenge are finding out.

You might think an organisation with the scale, experience and resources of the Amaury Sport Organisation would have learned such basic lessons a long time ago, but judging by the reformatting of their Paris-Roubaix Challenge event, apparently not.

ASO had promised that the Challenge, on April 9, would offer virtually the full experience of the real event due to take place a day later. That would have meant 162km of timed, competitive riding, some of it on closed roads and with a finish at the fabled Roubaix velodrome.

But now the organisers have cited their inability to secure the services of the local police as the prime reason for shortening the course to 138km, removing the timing arrangements, and having the event finish not in the velodrome but instead about 10 miles short of Roubaix.

A press release from ASO states: “A few days before the event, a thorough study of the means of security having to be set up during the same weekend as the elite Paris-Roubaix race, has forced us to change the format of Paris-Roubaix Challenge.

"Despite the efforts of the authorities in charge, we do not have the possibility of validating the private use of the circulation paths.”

Participants have been offered either a full refund or a reduced entry rate of 40 euros.

A spokeswoman for sportswear maker Rapha, who have been involved in marketing the event, said: “We are commercial partners with ASO, it’s a really unfortunate set of circumstances especially so late in the day but we’re sure that it’s unavoidable.”

The ASO press release says that the organisation will run the Challenge again next year, but in the format that was originally promised, complete with timing facilities.

road.cc has contacted ASO to find out what response the organisation has had from Challenge entrants but so far we have had no response.
 

6 user comments

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This all seems a bit embarassing for ASO - surely they could have worked all this out more than 2 weeks before the event? Shame, as it looked like a good event in the initial format (albeit that it was pricey in comparison with the VC Roubaix event).

On a seperate note, awesome picture at the top - have ordered a print. Some other very good cycle related prints on that site too.

posted by step-hent [638 posts]
31st March 2011 - 15:29

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To remove the Velodrome finish takes away one of the highlights - the VC Roubaix event is a great experience and it's hard to understand what tripling the price and near-halving the course was going to make it more attractive, particularly in April where conditions are a lot less favourable.

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [346 posts]
31st March 2011 - 18:41

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Sounds a bit shit for the people who had hoped to ride the fabled course.

BTW, I have the print right here in my living room. The frame cost more than the print itself, it is a stunning work of art.

The Man In Black.

posted by gandberg [215 posts]
31st March 2011 - 20:05

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I agree monty dog, I suppose you are paying for the closed roads, but the VC Roubaix one isn't on closed roads and it hardly makes much difference - although when I did it there was the occasional old boy coming back from the papershop or wherever driving down the pave in the opposite direction, but it was no biggie Smile

The food stops on the VC Roubaix one are really good too

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4112 posts]
31st March 2011 - 22:16

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me and a couple of mates are doing it - ferry booked, time off work booked, nowt we can do really but go and do it.
It's a bit disappointing but we'll have a good laugh anyway. At the end of the touring ride or whatever it's called now we'll probably carry on into Belgium or something ;0)

Anyone want to join in?

posted by terrahawk [6 posts]
1st April 2011 - 19:10

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Yup - be keen to do that. Assuming the bike and I survive.

We can spend the money we saved on the entrance going large on belgian beer.

posted by wildside_malc [1 posts]
2nd April 2011 - 19:53

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