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Video: Slow-motion footage shows how much of a pounding the pros get from the Paris-Roubaix pavé

Footage helps explain why manufacturers devise bikes and components specifically for the cobbles


Paris-Roubaix, the race nicknamed the Hell of the North, is held by many pros to be the hardest one-day race on the calendar – and this slow-motion video from organisers ASO shows the pounding their bodies take as they pedal over the pavé.

Given your average professional cyclist doesn’t have a spare ounce of fat on them – at least, once any excesses of the off-season have been ridden off – it’s quite a sight to see the way their flesh ripples as they take on the cobbles.

That also helps explain why manufacturers develop specific bikes and components to try and soak up the vibrations – although as we reported yesterday, that didn’t turn out too well for Quick Step Floors rider Niki Terpstra.

> Specialized admits Niki Terpstra Paris-Roubaix bike failure was due to pre-production part in new Roubaix bike

The 29 cobbled sectors covering 55 kilometres out of a total distance of 257 kilometres are what give a unique character to the race, won this year by BMC Racing’s Greg van Avermaet at a record average speed of 45.2 kilometres an hour.

> Paris-Roubaix 2017 video round-up - including on-bike footage

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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