What is this race and why should I care about it?
Whether or not Paris-Roubaix is the toughest one-day race in cycling remains a moot point, particularly if you are Belgian, but is is certainly one of the most evocative in the men's – and now women's – calendar.
Possibly one of the most unique races in cycling due to the extensive sections of pavé, or cobblestones, that pepper the course, The Hell of the North can be decided as much by luck and bravery as tactical acumen.
Moved from its original slot in the calendar due to the coronavirus crisis in northern France in April, Paris-Roubaix in 2021 will for the men be the fourth monument of their season following Milan-Sanremo, Tour of Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège and comes a week before Il Lombardia. This year will be the first running of the women's race.
Despite its title, the race has not departed from the French capital since 1967 after organisers moved the start line to around 60km north of Paris in Compiègne in 1968, while the women's race sets off from Denain.
Paris-Roubaix had been dominated by the Belgian riders who have won 57 of the 117 editions, including Philippe Gilbert who triumphed the last time the race took place in 2019 – last year's race was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. France has had 28 victories. No Briton has won the race, though three have stood on the third step of the podium – Barry Hoban (1972), Roger Hammond (2004) and Ian Stannard (2016).
When are the Paris-Roubaix races?
The women's race takes place on Saturday October 2, 2021, while the men compete the following day on Sunday October 3.
How long are this year's races?
The inaugural edition of the women's race starts in Denain at 12.35pm (BST) and concludes in the open-air Vélodrome André-Pétrieux in Roubaix after 116.4 kilometres of racing including 17 sectors of cobbles. Depending on how fast the riders go, the race should finish at around 3.30pm – give or take 20 minutes.
The 118th edition of the men's event, setting off from Compiègne at 10.15am (BST) and finishing in the same velodrome as the women the previous day, is 257.7km and will feature 30 cobbled sections of road. The scheduled finishing time is between 5.05pm and 5.40pm.
How can I watch the men's and women's race?
Those lucky enough to have subscriptions can watch the action on Eurosport or GCN+. If you cannot watch the race on television, or your smartphone, then you can follow the action from the men's race here, so bookmark this page and follow the action with us.
What's in it for the winner?
In addition to a mounted cobble on a plinth, a named plaque being attached to the famous old showers behind the Vélodrome André-Pétrieux and their name inscribed into cycling folklore in perpetuity, the winner of the men's race will also trouser a cheque to the value of €30,000 while the runner-up gets €22,000 and the rider on the third step of the podium €15,000. Each rider in the top 20 will take home something. The winner of the women's race, by contrast, will take home just €1,535.
With Paris-Roubaix being a WorldTour race, there will also be points on offer that will go towards a riders' overall rankings . . .
What does the men's startlist look like?
As with all WorldTour races, each of the 19 teams that make up the top-flight of professional cycling receive an invite and in the case of Paris-Roubaix each of them are contractually obliged to race.
In addition to the WorldTeams, Alpecin-Fenix qualified as the No 1 ranked ProTeam from 2020 while Arkéa-Samsic, B&B Hotels p/b KTM, Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB, Delko and TotalEnergies were handed wild card entries. In total 25 teams of seven will compete in a field of 175 riders.
Ag2r-Citroën (Fra): Stan Dewulf (Bel), Lawrence Naesen (Bel), Oliver Naesen (Bel), Michael Schär (Swi), Damien Touzé (Fra), Greg Van Avermaet (Bel), Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel).
Astana-Premier Tech (Kaz): Gleb Brussenskiy (Kaz, neo-pro), Yevgeniy Fedorov (Kaz, neo-pro), Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz), Hugo Houle (Can), Davide Martinelli (Ita), Ben Perry (Can).
Bahrain Victorious (Brn): Sonny Colbrelli (Ita), Marco Haller (Aut), Heinrich Haussler (Aus), Jonathan Milan (Ita, neo-pro), Matej Mohoric (Slo), Marcel Sieberg (Ger), Fred Wright (GB, neo-pro).
BikeExchange (Aus): Jack Bauer (NZ), Sam Bewley (NZ), Luke Durbridge (Aus), Amund Grondahl Jansen (Nor), Barnabas Peak (Hun, neo-pro), Robert Stannard (Aus).
Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger): Maciej Bodnar (Pol), Jordi Meeus (Bel, neo-pro), Daniel Oss (Ita), Nils Politt (Ger), Juraj Sagan (Svk), Peter Sagan (Svk), Maximilian Schachmann (Ger).
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra): Piet Allegaert (Bel), Tom Bohli (Swi), Andre Carvalho (Por), Jempy Drucker (Lux), Eddy Finé (Fra, neo-pro), Christophe Laporte (Fra), Szymon Sajnok (Pol).
Deceuninck-Quick Step (Bel): Kasper Asgreen (Den), Davide Ballerini (Ita), Tim Declercq (Bel), Yves Lampaert (Bel), Florian Sénéchal (Fra), Zdenek Stybar (Cze), Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel).
DSM (Ger): Nikias Arndt (Ger), Cees Bol (Hol), Nils Eekhoff (Hol, neo-pro), Max Kanter (Ger), Soren Kragh Andersen (Den), Casper Pedersen (Den), Jasha Sütterlin (Ger).
EF Education-Nippo (US): Stefan Bissegger (Swi, neo-pro), Mitchell Docker (Aus), Sebastian Langeveld (Hol), Jonas Rutsch (Ger, neo-pro), Tom Scully (NZ), Michael Valgren (Den), Julius van den Berg (Hol).
Groupama-FDJ (Fra): Clément Davy (Fra), Arnaud Démare (Fra), Stefan Küng (Swi), Olivier Le Gac (Fra), Fabian Lienhard (Swi), Ramon Sinkeldam (Hol), Jake Stewart (GB, neo-pro).
Ineos Grenadiers (GB): Leonardo Basso (Ita), Owain Doull (GB), Michal Golas (Pol), Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol), Gianni Moscon (Ita), Luke Rowe (GB), Dylan van Baarle (Hol).
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux (Bel): Aimé De Gendt (Bel), Tom Devriendt (Bel), Wesley Kreder (Hol), Baptiste Planckaert (Bel), Taco van der Hoorn (Hol), Kevin Van Melsen (Bel), Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel).
Israel Start-up Nation (Isr): Rudy Barbier (Fra), Jenthe Biermans (Bel), Guillaume Boivin (Can), Hugo Hofstetter (Fra), Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Den), Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel), Sep Vanmarcke (Bel).
Jumbo-Visma (Hol): Edoardo Affini (Ita), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Hol), Dylan Groenewegen (Hol), Timo Roosen (Hol), Mike Teunissen (Hol), Wout van Aert (Bel), Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel).
Lotto-Soudal (Bel): John Degenkolb (Ger), Frederik Frison (Bel), Philippe Gilbert (Bel), Sébastien Grignard (Bel, neo-pro), Harry Sweeny (Aus, neo-pro), Tosh Van der Sande (Bel), Florian Vermeersch (Bel, neo-pro).
Movistar (Spa): Gabriel Cullaigh (GB, neo-pro), Imanol Erviti (Spa), Iván García Cortina (Spa), Juri Hollmann (Ger, neo-pro), Matteo Jorgenson (US, neo-pro), Lluís Mas (Spa), Mathias Norsgaard (Den).
Qhubeka-NextHash (SA): Victor Campenaerts (Bel), Dimitri Claeys (Bel), Simon Clarke (Aus), Michael Gogl (Aut), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (SA), Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita), Max Walscheid (Ger).
Trek-Segafredo (US): Alex Kirsch (Lux), Emils Liepins (Lat), Mads Pedersen (Den), Quinn Simmons (US, neo-pro), Toms Skujins (Lat), Jasper Stuyven (Bel), Edward Theuns (Bel).
UAE Team Emirates (UAE): Mikkel Bjerg (Den), Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor), Fernando Gaviria (Col), Alexander Kristoff (Nor), Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor), Rui Oliveira (Por), Matteo Trentin (Ita).
Alpecin-Fenix (Bel): Silvan Dillier (Swi), Senne Leysen (Bel), Tim Merlier (Bel), Jasper Philipsen (Bel), Jonas Rickaert (Bel), Mathieu van der Poel (Hol), Gianni Vermeersch (Bel).
Arkéa-Samsic (Fra): Amaury Capiot (Bel), Benjamin Declercq (Bel), Dan McLay (GB), Christophe Noppe (Bel), Clément Russo (Fra), Connor Swift (GB), Bram Welten (Hol).
B&B Hotels p/b KTM (Fra): Bert De Backer (Bel), Jens Debusschere (Bel), Quentin Jauregui (Fra), Jérémy Lecroq (Fra), Cyril Lemoine (Fra), Luca Mozzato (Fra), Jonas van Genechten (Bel).
Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB (Bel): Jonas Castrique (Bel), Timothy Dupont (Bel), Arjen Livyns (Bel), Tom Paquot (Bel), Laurenz Rex (Bel), Ludovic Robeet (Bel), Tom Wirtgen (Lux).
Delko (Fra): Pierre Barbier (Fra), Clément Carisey (Fra), Alexandre Delettre (Fra), August Jensen (Nor), Dusan Rajovic (Srb), Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu), Julien Trarieux (Fra).
TotalEnergies (Fra): Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor), Florian Maitre (Fra), Adrien Petit (Fra), Geoffrey Soupe (Fra), Niki Terpstra (Hol), Anthony Turgis (Fra), Dries Van Gestel (Bel).