Chicanes to slow down riders at the entrance to the Arenberg Gap at Paris-Roubaix

A 2.3 km straight line covered with irregular cobblestones, the Erenberg Gap is terrifying. Thierry Gouvenou is well aware of this: “I ran here twelve times, and twelve times I reached the Erenberg Gap wondering how I would get out. » At the request of the Riders Union, the CPA (Cyclists Professionals Associations), director of Paris-Roubaix therefore thought of a solution to slow down the speed of the peloton at the entrance of this sector, this Sunday.

“The principle is to find turns to slow down the peloton and lengthen it, similar to the chicane system on an automobile circuit.Gouvenou explained this Tuesday during the official recognition of the race. Currently, they are approaching the Erenberg Gap at a speed of about 60 km/h, if they can slow down to 30-35 km/h, it will be less dangerous. And that will highlight the difficulty of the gap as runners come in without momentum. »

“They chose to brake hard at the risk of falling on the tar rather than entering the gap at 60 km/h. »

Thierry Gouvenou, director of Paris-Roubaix

Still in negotiations with local authorities, the addition of such a barrier raises questions. Seeing the entire peloton slow down quickly before a sector where placement will be essential risks causing damage. “ I wrote to the riders, warning them that there would be more braking before the gap, Refers to Gouvenou. They told me that they prefer to brake hard rather than enter the gap at 60 km/h at the risk of falling onto the tar. »

Long term security

If the details and formalities of this system must be announced in the coming days, Guveno still calls for more global reflection on the increase in the number of reductions, the result of the increase in speed in recent years. “The runners are a bit on edge and asking us for a bit more protection to get into the gap, this doesn’t seem unreasonable to us, It indicates. But it may be necessary to think long term, especially about the content that explains particular falls. »

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