Iconic Places: The “Arenberg”

Almost 100 km far from the finish line of Paris-Roubaix, the 2,5 km long five-star cobbled sector can easily determinate the outcome of the race. 

The Trouée d’Arenberg is a historical place on its own right, the cobbles were laid in the time of Napoleon I for military use.

Also, there was a coal mine nearby till 1990, which played a role in the history of the race accidentally, because Jean Stablinski worked there before he turned to be a professional cyclist. He suggested to the organizers, that the Forest of Arenberg might be able to solve the problem getting harder the race again. After ww2 more and more cobbled roads were asphalted, the original style of the cobbled races started to disappear slowly and the competition was getting easier. Finding new cobbled sectors to make the race more exciting was urgent.

The first Paris-Roubaix with Arenberg involved was held in 1968, this was also the last professional season of Stablinski. The famous road had the privilege to witness the first Paris-Roubaix victory of Eddy Merckx.

The sector was removed from the race between 1974 and 1983, but since then it’s one of the most important moments of the competition. Trouvée of Arenberg is usually considered being the turning point of the competition, although it is only the 19th one (it means, 18 are still left).  The most important task of the riders is trying to be connected to the goup(s) at the head of the race.

Despite including so-called “Roubaix-stages” in its program in recent years frequently, Tour de France never visited the 2,3 km long hellish road of Arenberg.

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