Why Van der Poel set the fastest Paris-Roubaix in history

Road 10/04/23 16:00 Migue A.

Van der Poel continues to set new records. If a month ago he smashed the time to climb the Poggio di San Remo on his way to victory in the Italian classic, his victory in Paris-Roubaix has also brought as an extra prize that of the highest average speed in the history of this race, surpassing by 1 km/h the figure set in the last edition by Dylan van Baarle.

Mathieu van der Poel, the fastest ever on cobblestones

46.7 km/h for 257 kilometers, almost 5 and a half hours pedaling over the cobblestone sections of the Hell of the North, is the horrifying figure that Mathieu van der Poel's victory in this 2023 edition of Paris-Roubaix left for the archives.

A speed record that has barely lasted a season for its former holder, Dylan van Baarle, who set it last year at exactly 1 kilometer per hour less, a real barbarity.

If we review the 2022 race, we will remember that the start was marked by the strong favorable wind and from the side that caused the race to break practically from the first stages. A wind that remained favorable for much of the race although, its great intensity, made that in some sections it was an opponent for the cyclists, on a route that winds through the countryside of northern France to go looking for the various stretches of pavé.

In this 2023 the wind was much less intense, just a gentle spring breeze around 7 km / h favorable in virtually all the development of the race. However, to find the reason for this new record we have to take into account other factors that brought to the table the ideal conditions for flying in this edition of Paris-Roubaix.

First of all, the weather. In addition to the light wind, beneficial in most of the course and hardly detrimental in the few sections where it became frontal, it should be noted that the rains of the week prior to the race gave way to an absolutely spring-like day with perfect temperatures for cycling. In addition, during Saturday and Sunday morning the terrain had time to dry out, remaining sufficiently compact but without the annoying dust that usually accompanies the development of the Roubaix when it is held in dry conditions.

Last but not least, the race itself, where there was not the typical initial breakaway but many riders were fighting to form the good cut during the first two hours of the race in which an impressive 100 kilometers were covered and, if that was not enough, the hostilities were brought forward to the stretch before the Arenberg forest so that the race did not stop.

Besides, the race situation at the start of the mythical section, with Christophe Laporte trying to join the group of favorites from behind and Alpecin-Deceuninck, with a majority in the leading group, pushing hard to avoid his return to the front, meant that the pace did not drop at any time. Only in the area between the Mons en Pévèle and the Carrefour de l'Arbre did the leading group take a certain respite as a prelude to the final battle we were able to enjoy.

All the conditions together so that the speed record has remained in the stratospheric figure set by Mathieu van der Poel on his arrival at the Roubaix velodrome and that, undoubtedly, speaks of the quality of this triumph. To maintain this extraordinary pace and to be able to carry out the countless attacks with which he tried to release his rivals and then ride the last twenty kilometers alone at a brutal pace are enough data to qualify the penultimate exhibition of the Dutch monster as huge.



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Por qué Van der Poel marcó la París-Roubaix más rápida de la historia