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Paris-Roubaix 2004
By: Michele Ferrari
Published: 11 Apr 2004

A total of 51,000 meters of pavé, with five or six stones every meter, is about 250,000-300,000 hammer blows on the legs of each rider.

At 40 km/h, that's an average of 10-12 blows per second, a constant vibration that leaves its mark on the entire body: neck, hands, arms, back and even the blood circulation get extremely stressed from the outside.

Vibrations slow down the venous return from the legs (but also from the arms), hindering the delicate work of the valves that is necessary to defeat gravity's pull.

The four minutes of harsh pavé in the Arenberg forest did make selection, but the headwind and the weather conditions - no rain - favor catch-ups (returns) with the bigger teams working hard to 'keep the race sewn up' for the best riders. Lotto, Quick-Step and T-Mobile never left too much space for the attackers.

Boonen, Hincapie and Flecha tried to escape at 20 km from the finish line: the action seemed a determining one, but the peloton behind eventually did not leave any space. Still too many 'gregari' were working to catch up, bringing on their rear wheels other strong riders ready to attack.

In a quick turn of events, four 'outsiders' could eventually advantage themselves with merit and play the win with a sprint inside the velodrome.

Magnus Backstedt, the strongest and fastest man of the four, easily took the victory after his brilliant second place in Gent-Wevelgem.

More Race Comments:
World Championships - Verona 2004 4 Oct 2004
Vuelta a Espana 2004 28 Sep 2004
Tour de Lance 27 Jul 2004
Tour de France - Diary 2004 26 Jul 2004
TdF - The Hardest Race 30 Jun 2004
Mont Ventoux ITT 12 Jun 2004
Giro d' Italia 2004 - Diary 31 May 2004
Objective: Pink Jersey 5 May 2004
Liege Bastogne Liege 2004 26 Apr 2004
Fleche Wallonne 2004 21 Apr 2004
Amstel Gold Race 2004 19 Apr 2004
Paris-Roubaix 2004 11 Apr 2004
Gand-Wevelgem 2004 7 Apr 2004
Tour of Flanders 2004 5 Apr 2004
Milan-Sanremo 2004 22 Mar 2004
Waiting Sanremo 2004 6 Mar 2004

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