This weekend’s Paris-Roubaix Challenge cyclosportive in France allows amateur cyclists to “live the pro dream”, experiencing what it is like to race across the cobbled roads of Northern Hell – just like the pros will do a few hours later at the legendary Paris-Roubaix race.

With only a few hours remaining before amateurs take to the start-line Saturday 16 April, event director Thierry Gouvenou drove all 30 cobbled sectors covering 54.8 kilometers of narrow, rugged rural French roads and reported that the granite pavé sectors are in unusually good condition – and bone dry.

“I don’t remember the cobblestones ever being so dry and so good before,” Gouvenou said, according to Sporza. “They are exceptionally dry. Normally you have to do some [route] fine-tuning after such a reconnaissance, but that’s not the case now.”

For amateurs lucky enough to gain entry to the sold-out cyclosportive, their journey through Northern Hell starts in Busigny and, if they survive 172 total kilometers and 30 hellish sectors of cobbles, finishes with a victory lap around the historic Roubaix velodrome, just minutes before the professional women’s race arrives.

Photos: A.S.O