Gallery: The austere beauty of a Roubaix recon

by Iain Treloar

photography by Gruber Images

This weekend, the verges of the cobbles will be thronged with spectators. For the riders, the surrounding landscapes will disappear into a one-metre band of hyperfocus, eyes on the cobbles and the wheels in front of them. They won’t see the fields of canola, or the wind turbines, or the famous graffiti of Pont Gibus. There will be two visceral goals – getting to the end of each cobbled sector, and to the Roubaix velodrome.

In the days before then, though, the teams take a more studious approach. In their recon rides, they pick out selected sectors, picking lines and dialling in tyre pressures. For those few hours, the most famous cobbles in cycling are unobscured by flag-waving fans. The road doesn’t become a tunnel of noise. For a moment, it is almost peaceful.

This year, Jered and Ashley Gruber rode along with EF Education-Easypost, AG2R Citroën, and the men’s and women’s Jumbo-Visma squads. As usual, they returned with some beautiful photos. Here are 10 of our favourites.

… and a future great?

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