Liam and I have been talking about the cobble sections of what will be stage 3 of this year's Tour de France since we started to plan our journey to Rotterdam. In the spring each year, the one day, classic bike race Paris - Roubaix takes place on these very roads. The race's nick name is "the hell of the North." By riding these sections of cobble roads, in the baking heat, we found out first hand how the race got its name!
A section of Pave
These difficult sections, cobbled roads known as pave in French, are located in the very north of France in the industrial Nord region close to Belgium. This area is very flat, but it can be windy and the hot or cold depending on the season. All the people we met were very friendly, but when we told them that we were here to ride the pave on the way to Rotterdam they looked at us like we were a bit nuts.
Liam hanging tough on the cobble!
When we got on the route and on to the cobble we quickly found out the reason for the looks. They are extremely difficult to ride on a road bike! I knew it was difficult, but I did not appreciate the degree of difficulty. These sections could well impact the result of this year's Tour de France! I can't imagine hitting these roads at 20 or 30 miles an hour with 180 riders. Wow!
Liam and I put together a little video of the cobbles. This was an easy section. I could not safely film on the more difficult sections.
Live Strong, Train Safe and Live Well!!!
Bill and Liam