Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team ready for “The Hell of the North”

As the cycling world turns its gaze towards northern France for the 2024 edition of Paris-Roubaix, Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team is preparing to take on the legendary “Hell of the North” for the second time. With a squad comprising Tobias Ludvigsson, Cyrus Monk, Joey Rosskopf, Fabio Christen, Jannik Steimle, Rory Townsend, and Kamil Małecki, the team is poised to tackle one of cycling’s most formidable challenges.

5 April 2024.
@Chris Auld

This year, Paris-Roubaix presents an even more daunting challenge with a slightly altered route that stretches 259.9 kilometers, including a staggering 57.5 kilometers of ruthless cobbles spread across 29 sectors.

The inclusion of the Biastre and Ruesnes sectors, coupled with the absence of Saint-Python and Haspres due to repairs, has increased the cobblestone distance to a historic 57.5 kilometers, marking the most cobbled terrain in modern times.

The race commences in Compiègne, with riders bracing for the first cobbled test, Troisvilles à Inchy, 96 kilometers in. The Quiévy à Saint-Python sector, noted for its difficulty, follows shortly, potentially setting the stage for early race-defining moments.

However, it is the notorious five-star sectors—Trouée d’Arenberg, Mons-en-Pévèle, and Carrefour de l’Arbre—that are expected to be decisive. The first of these is a 2.3km section of poorly placed, dangerous cobbles through Trouée d’Arenberg (sector 19) – the iconic forest of Arenberg. It comes much earlier in the race, around 100km from the finish and it will include a new chicane in the approach to the entry with the goal of, hopefully, slow down the speed at which the riders enter the forest. These sections, known for their brutal cobbles, have historically been the battlegrounds where Paris-Roubaix is won or lost.


@Chris Auld
@Chris Auld

For me Paris-Roubaix is probably the most special race on the calendar.

Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team has meticulously prepared for the challenge, with each rider bringing a unique set of skills to the fore. Tobias Ludvigsson and Joey Rosskopf’s time-trialling strength, combined with the cobblestone riding skills of Jannik Steimle and the explosivity of Rory Townsend, forms a formidable lineup capable of supporting each other through the toughest sections. Debutants Fabio Christen and Cyrus Monk will put their classics knowhow to the ultimate test while Polish rider Kamil Małecki starts with high hopes after his superb performance at the Ronde Van Vlaanderen last week, where he finished in an impressive 14th place.

Former Irish National Champion Rory Townsend is eagerly looking forward to his maiden Paris-Roubaix:

“For me Paris-Roubaix is probably the most special race on the calendar. When I was younger it was the one race I would always get up for to watch and to people who aren’t into cycling It’s the one race I will always tell them to check out because it’s just epic from start to finish. It’s really special to be part of it this year and I would love to get up the road, represent the team and be in the breakaway but failing that I think Kamil (Małecki) showed in Flanders what we’re capable of as a team when we follow the race and follow a plan. No matter what I want to make it to the Roubaix Velodrome which is such an historic part of cycling culture. As a team we want to be part of the race, be it from the breakaway or be it from the group I think its important for us to be seen and try to be visible in the race through one of our guys. We’re lining up with seven different opportunities and the ambition to race for a result,” said Townsend.

“If Jannik Steimle is able to win GP Denain which has a lot of cobble sectors he can also win Paris-Roubaix.” 

The unpredictability of Paris-Roubaix, with its potential for mechanical failures, crashes, and tactical surprises, requires adaptability and relentless determination.

Sports Director Aart Vierhouten is looking forward to the challenge with a mixed group of experienced riders and up and rising talents including Jannik Steimle who recently rode to victory in GP Denain, often dubbed as a “mini Paris-Roubaix”:

“Many riders will want to be in the break of the day and nobody knows when it will go. Looks like we will have a bit of tailwind with also means high speed and probably it will take a while before the break will go. If you’re a pro cyclist it’s truly and amazing feeling to be in the breakaway at Paris-Roubaix so I hope our boys will line-up with that ambition and that we have one present at he front of the race. It’s a really hard race, physically but also mentally and has all the unique ingredients that make it such a beautiful race. If Jannik Steimle is able to win GP Denain which has a lot of cobble sectors he can also win Paris-Roubaix. He has a big engine and in Flanders he has some bad luck with the material and crashes otherwise he would have been in the top-20. The legs are there and now he’s lining up for Roubaix with great expectations and let’s see where we end up!” said Vierhouten who himself raced Paris-Roubaix 11 times, with 15th being his best result.

The 2024 Paris-Roubaix is not just a test of strength and endurance but also of strategy, teamwork, and sheer willpower. As Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team lines up for this monumental challenge, we carry with us the aspirations of making a significant impact on one of the most historic races on the cycling calendar.

@Chris Auld