Preview: Who’s going to win the 2022 men’s Paris-Roubaix?

This weekend, for the first time since 2019, Paris-Roubaix will be held in its traditional spot on the calendar. As we gear up for Sunday’s race, here’s what you should know about the 119th edition of the men’s Paris-Roubaix.

We’ll update this preview once the startlist is confirmed later in the week. And be sure to stay posted for our preview of the women’s Paris-Roubaix in the coming days, too.


CyclingTips star ratings

Let’s get right to it. You can read more about the favorites and other contenders below, but if you’re looking for a quick snapshot, here’s how we miss the chances of various riders:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️: Van der Poel
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️: Küng, Laporte
⭐️⭐️⭐️: Turgis, Asgreen, Lampaert, Pedersen
⭐️⭐️: Stybar, Vermeesch, Kristoff, Ganna, Van Baarle
⭐️: Moscon, Trentino

The road

The 2022 men’s Paris-Roubaix spans 257.5 km from Compiegne, just north-east of Paris, to Roubaix in the far north of France. As the riders make their way north, they’ll visit a total of 30 sectors of the region’s infamous cobblestones.

The pavé starts with 160.9 km to go – roughly 100 km into the race – with sector #30, and the sectors count down from there, with a new stretch of pavé arriving every few kilometers or so.

Each sector is given a rating out of five, with one-star sectors being the most placid, and five-star being the most gnarly. As usual there are three, five-star sectors on course: the infamously brutal Trouee d’Arenberg, Mons-en-Pévèle, and the Carrefour de l’Arbre. These three are highlighted in the table below.

Sector # Km to go Sector name Length (km) stars
30 160.9 Troisvilles to Inchy 2.2 ***
29 154.4 Viesly to Quievy 1.8 ***
28 151.8 Quiévy to Saint-Python 3.7 ****
27 147.1 Saint Python 1.5 **
26 139.3 Vertain to Saint-Martin-sur-Ecaillon 2.3 ***
25 133.5 Haussy 0.8 **
24 126.6 Saulzoir to Verchain-Maugré 1.2 **
23 122.3 Verchain-Maugré to Quérénaing 1.6 ***
22 119.6 Quérénaing to Maing 2.5 ***
21 116.5 Main to Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon 1.6 ***
20 103.5 Haveluy to Wallers 2.5 ****
19 95.3 Gap of Arenberg 2.3 *****
18 89.3 Wallers to Hélesmes 1.6 ***
17 82.5 Horning to Wandignies 3.7 ****
16 75 Warling to Brillon 2.4 ***
15 71.6 Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosieres 2.4 ****
14 65.2 Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies 1.4 ***
13 60.2 orchids 1.7 ***
12 54.1 Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersee 2.7 ****
11 48.6 Mons-en-Pevele 3 *****
10 42.6 Merignies to Avelin 0.7 **
9 39.2 Pont-Thibaut to Ennevelin 1.4 ***
8 33.8 Templeuve (The Spruce) 0.2 *
8 33.3 Templeuve (Moulin-de-Vertain) 0.5 **
7 26.9 Cysoing to Bourghelles 1.3 **
6 24.4 Bourghelles to Wannehain 1.1 ***
5 19.9 Camphin-en-Pevele 1.8 ****
4 17.2 Crossroads of the Tree 2.1 *****
3 14.9 Gruson 1.1 **
2 8.2 Willems to Hem 1.4 **
1 1.4 Roubaix (Charles Crupelandt area) 0.3 *

The race

Paris-Roubaix is ​​a hard race to predict. It’s a race of so many variables; a race where success means both being phenomenally strong and avoiding any bad luck in the form of race-ending crashes or mechanical issues – no mean feat.

There’ll be an early breakaway that will lead through the cobble-free opening 100 km and into the early cobblestone sections. As the pavé sectors roll on, we can expect to see the lead group start to splinter, and for the strongest riders behind to start reaching out and eventually catching the frontrunners.

Unlike in most other races though, it wouldn’t be a shock to see a rider or two from the break make it deep into the final on Sunday. For whatever reason, the early break tends to have some success at Roubaix.

All in all this is an unpredictable race where strange things can happen. Sure, the big names tend to be prominent, but you can bet there’ll also be at least one surprise in the top 10 on Sunday, such is the unpredictable nature of this race.

The contenders

First: a caveat. This article has been written early in the week of Paris-Roubaix and the startlist is yet to be finalised. We’ll update this once the full startlist has been confirmed, but based on the provisional startlist, the following are some of the riders we’d be keeping an eye on.

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) seems likely to start on Sunday as tea favorite. In recent weeks he’s taken wins at Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders, and he seems to be in typically imperious form.

Van der Poel was third on debut in last year’s mud-fest, and was beaten in the sprint by both Sonny Colbrelli and Florian Vermeersch. That one stung for Van der Poel and you can bet he’s desperate to win this one.

Van der Poel after last year’s race.

In the absence of a healthy Wout van Aert (who’s either not racing Sunday due to COVID, or will race in a support role), Christopher Laporte gets a terrific opportunity to lead Jumbo-Visma at the Queen of the Classics. In his first season with Jumbo-Visma, the Frenchman has been magnificent, with second at Gent-Wevelgem and E3 Saxo Bank Classic. He was sixth here last year with Cofidis too, so an even better result is a real possibility now that he’s with a much stronger squad.

Note that Laporte will have the support of Nathan Van Hooydonck who’s also had a great spring courtesy of a bunch of aggressive rides.

Laporte (right) finishing second behind teammate Wout van Aert at E3 earlier this spring.

In recent seasons Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) has turned himself into one of the peloton’s most consistent Classics riders. Just this season he’s been fifth at the Tour of Flanders, sixth at Dwars door Vlaanderen, third at E3, and eighth at Amstel Gold Race. Roubaix arguably suits the Swiss powerhouse even more than any of those races.

Küng’s best at Roubaix is ​​11th (2019) but with the way he’s riding, expect him to go deep into the final on Sunday.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl hasn’t had its best Classics season ever so a good result at Roubaix will be high on the priority list. Kasper Asgreen is perhaps the Belgian’s squad’s biggest hope. The Dane’s been sixth at Amstel and third at Strade Bianche this season and has generally been around the mark, without being exceptional.

Zdenek Stybar has the best record of anyone on the team with six top-10s and two runner-up finishes. But the Czech rider has had a middling season so far so he’s perhaps not the team’s #1 option.

And Yves Lampaert also deserves a mention. With seventh, third, and fifth at Roubaix he’s got the strength and racecraft to post another good result, if everything lines up for him.

Could Štybar wind back the clock on Sunday?

And finally for now, form world field Mads Pedersen will likely headline a strong Trek-Segafredo outfit that also includes Jasper Stuyven and Quinn Simmons. Pedersen comes to the race after two stage wins at Pays de la Loire (where he would have won the overall were it not for a crash with 4 km to go on the final stage), plus top-eight finishes at Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem , and Milan-San Remo.

We’ll have more on these and other contenders as we get closer to race day.

Weather

After last year’s wet edition, the 2022 men’s Paris-Roubaix looks set to be a considerably drier and more pleasant day for the riders. The long-range weather forecast suggests a sunny day of around 18 ºC (64 ºF) with only a little bit of breeze around. Perfect conditions for bike racing.

We won’t be seeing slop like this in the 2022 edition.

When to watch

The race is set to roll out from Compiegne at 11:00 am local time on Sunday (2 am PDT / 5 am EDT / 7 pm AEST), with the neutral zone ending 15 minutes later.

To catch every single cobblestone sector, you’ll want to tune in around 1:25 pm local time (4:25 am PDT / 7:25 am EDT / 9:25 pm AEST) – that’s when the peloton is expected to reach sector #30. There’s still 160 km to go at that point, but really, if there’s one race all season that you should watch a good chunk of, this is it.

If you’re a little more time-poor, you can probably leave it until the Trouée d’Arenberg to tune in. The riders should get there somewhere around 2:55 pm local time (5:55 am PDT / 8:55 am EDT / 10:55 pm AEST) but tune in a few minutes early to see the mad scramble for position ahead of the sector . There’s 95 km to go at that point.

If that’s still too far out from the finish for your liking, you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re watching by the time the riders hit the second five-star sector: the Mons-en-Pévèle with just under 50 km to go. That’ll happen around 3:55 pm local time (6:55am PDT / 9:55am EDT / 11:55pm AEST), and it’s all action from there on out.

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