The ultimate Paris-Roubaix 2022 preview

April 08, 2022

Sonny Colbrelli wins Paris-Roubaix 2021

Sonny Colbrelli wins Paris-Roubaix 2021. Photo by Getty Images Sport

Edit history:

  1. 2022-04-09: Peter Sagan is probably out of the picture along with Wout van Aert. They are both still on the official start list, but recent news suggest that they are most likely to skip this year’s edition.


260 kilometers, 30 harsh cobbles sectors, varying in difficulty and roads used mostly by agricultural machinery. This is the face of a Sunday in Hell or The Queen of the Classics, that every cycling fan cannot wait for. Although the route barely changes over the years and is unlikely to change much from last year’s edition, featuring 55km of cobbles. Despite the relatively flat start, smaller teams will try to send their rider in a breakaway, while bigger teams will control the front and fight for better positions in preparation for the first cobbled sectors.

Forest of Arenberg, coming at 162km into a race, is a five-star cobbled sector, which is usually a tipping point in a race. It will separate leaders from the rest of the race and if you don’t make a leading group here, there will be a lot of energy sapping efforts to get back.

Mons-en-Pévèle is the second five-star cobbled sector that will greet riders after 209km or racing. Stretching over 3km in length it will once again test riders’ ability to suffer. Last five-star cobbled sector, Carrefour de l’Arbre, is less than 16 kilometers from the finish line and will provide a last opportunity to make a decisive move. The race will end in the iconic André Pétrieux velodrome in Roubaix, where the survivors of the race will find out who is the strongest in a sprint, given that no one managed to breakaway. Niki Terpstra was the last rider to make it alone to the velodrome, back in 2014, since then- sprint finishes.

Paris-Roubaix route

Paris-Roubaix route


INEOS Grenadiers

One of the biggest and well funded teams in the cycling world. Despite that, Ineos Grenadiers have never been known as a strong squad for classics. Last year they had a threatening move by Gianni Moscon, which was disrupted by a mechanical and an easy crash caused by slippery roads. Luke Rowe might be a viable candidate, he has 8 Paris-Roubaix under his belt, but despite some decent results in the past, he was mediocre in the last few years. Another longshot might be Filippo Ganna, who proved himself on a lot of different terrains over the past few years. He might snap the elastic and go for a long TT effort, but it is highly unlikely. I expect to see Ineos Grenadiers riders in the main bunch for quite a while, because their squad is consistently strong in my eyes, but once other teams start to make decisive moves, I feel like we will see them fade in the background. On the other hand, Dylan van Baarle proved that he can ride classics pretty well at this year’s Tour of Flanders, which will go down in the history of cycling as one of the most butt-clenching editions, finishing 2nd.

Luke Rowe at Paris-Roubaix 2021

Luke Rowe at Paris-Roubaix 2021. Image credit: Bettini Photo

Uno-X Pro Cycling Team

A team which received an invitation to 2022 Paris-Roubaix, as it is not a World tour team. Rightfully so, because it is a squad which is built for classics in my eyes. Although this team might lack experience, its riders are from northern Europe, meaning harsh weather conditions since childhood. Uno-X will also have an ability to ride easily without any reaction from the peloton, because they might not be perceived as a threat. Their squad will consist of strong riders that will be capable of both creating moves and closing them. Rasmus Tiller will probably be leading the Uno-X squad and oh boy he has been having a blast in 2022 already. He already has 3 Top10 results in this year’s Belgian one day races, the most noticeable being 6th in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. If looking back into the years, Rasmus has consistently done well in such races, so I expect him to finish quite high on the scoreboard.

Rasmus Tiller celebrates after winning the Dwars Door Het Hageland

Rasmus Tiller celebrates after winning the Dwars Door Het Hageland (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Bahrain - Victorious

A team which will have a huge target on its back. Last year’s winner Sonny Colbrelli will sadly not compete this year after collapsing meters after Volta a Catalunya stage one finish . Nonetheless, Bahrain - Victorious has a strong squad, which is more than capable of delivering. Matej Mohoric proves time and time again that he is a worthy contender in any type of race. A good proof of that was this year’s Milano-Sanremo, where Mohoric took a spectacular win. Bahrain - Victorious will probably have Mohoric as a leader, he is a strongly built rider who might be able to carry himself over this harsh terrain and make a devastating solo move close to a finish. He DNF’ed in last year’s Paris-Roubaix edition, but knowing the conditions that were present, it is not a surprise and doesn’t really mean a lot. Another advantage that Bahrain - Victorious has over other teams is Heinrich Haussler. A strong classics rider who has the most starts in Paris-Roubaix in today’s modern peloton. This year it will be his 15th Hell of a North and he has been riding them consistently well over the years. I expect Haussler to stay in the first group and help Matej until the last moment. Statistics show that in modern cycling, let’s say since the year 2000, there has been only one back-to-back victory by Quick-Step’s Tom Boonen, who won both in 2008 and 2009. If Bahrain-Victorious would manage to pull it off, it would definitely be memorable.

Sonny Colbrelli at 2021 Paris-Roubaix

Sonny Colbrelli at 2021 Paris-Roubaix (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

UAE Team Emirates

Although one of the strongest teams in today’s cycling world, the current start list for Paris-Roubaix looks weak. Don’t get me wrong, riders like Pascal Ackermann or Ryan Gibbons are strong sprinters that excel in their realm, but on this type of terrain, I don’t see them coming to a finish to even have an opportunity to sprint. Moreover, these riders will not be able to help Matteo Trentin, probably a designated leader for UAE Team Emirates, leaving him to deal with all the threatening moves alone. But hey, it is not something new for Trentin and with the experience that he has, one can hope to see him finishing in Top10. He has been great in 2022 so far, winning Le Samyn and finishing 7th in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, just behind Rasmus Tiller. Although he struggled in both Dwars door Vlaanderen and Ronde van Vlaanderen. To be fair, UAE Team Emirates has an extremely strong squad for one day races that do not include strong factors, such as cobbles, but in my opinion, northern classics and a Queen of them all is not something that can be won by UAE Team Emirates.

Matteo Trentin wins the 2022 Le Samyn

Matteo Trentin wins the 2022 Le Samyn (Image credit: Nico Vereecken/PN/SprintCyclingAgency)

BORA - hansgrohe

Bora has already delegated a strong squad for this year’s Paris-Roubaix, with riders like classics specialist Marco Haller. But the leader I really hope they will be riding for is Nils Politt, who is a strongly built guy- perfect for this type of race. He was a runner up to Philip GIlbert in 2019, but hasn’t shown such great results in cobbled classics ever since. Nonetheless, I really hope to see Nils making a front group and competing for the podium who has shown decent results this year.

Nils Pollit wins 2021 Tour de France stage 12

Nils Pollit wins 2021 Tour de France stage 12 (Image credit: Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto)

AG2R Citroën Team

What comes to mind, when you think about this team? Most likely Greg van Avermaet. And rightfully so, he is probably the most experienced classics rider today. Greg has raced 51 classics in his career so far, 11 of them being Paris-Roubaix. He has won on one occasion in 2017 and came Top5 on 3 more. Experience and patience are the biggest advantages that van Avermaet has, and along with teammates, such as Oliver Naesen, he is more than capable of making the leading group. Sure, younger riders and today’s prodigies might be stronger than Greg, but when young guns waste their energy attacking, he will be following the wheels and conserving energy. I expect Greg to try and go for a long one together with less threatening riders, as I don’t see him out-sprinting today’s most decorated sprinters. Oliver Naesen, on the other hand, might have a go himself. It will be his 7th Paris-Roubaix and he has finished Top15 on some occasions, so he might be tempted to try out his luck.

Greg van Avermaet wins 2017 Paris-Roubaix

Greg van Avermaet wins 2017 Paris-Roubaix (Image credit: AFP)

Lotto Soudal

Lotto Soudal is a well-rounded team, which has a couple strong contenders for such an event. First of all, Philip Gilbert, who although is not on a startlist yet, is expected to be. He announced retirement at the end of 2022, so this is his last chance to ride the most iconic classic race. Gilbert has astonishing 60 appearances in classic races over his career, but only 4 in Paris-Roubaix, where on his 3rd attempt he managed to win it. But in my opinion, all eyes are on Victor Campenaerts, who reinvented himself as a Classics rider and has fallen in love with cycling again. Victor is a Belgian rider who is well aware of harsh roads, he is riding well in 2022, coming in 4th at this year’s Dwars door Vlaanderen, taking 5th and 6th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Le Samyn respectively. Last year, he didn’t manage to finish Paris-Roubaix, but it was his first crack at it and might have been mechanical due to the crazy conditions. Being a strong TT rider who recently switched focus to classics, I expect Campenaerts to make a lead group and try to tire out and finally drop pure sprinters as he usually does. Victor might be a reason why a lot of teams’ sprinters will not make it to the finish line.

Victor Campenaerts at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Victor Campenaerts at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Image credit: Getty Images)


TotalEnergies squad has been strengthened by high caliber riders, such as Peter Sagan and Daniel Oss. They also have Niki Terpstra, who is the last solo winner of Paris-Roubaix since 2014, and Anthony Turgis. Turgis will probably be a designated leader, while Peter Sagan will take the role of a co-leader if he makes it to the start line. According to a news article, he is unlikely to race, but he is still registered for this race and appears on the start list. and with a loyal domestique Daniel Oss, they might just make a leading group. Other riders, such as Terpstra will probably try to make an early breakaway and really commit to it. So the strategy here will probably be simple- if breakaway sticks, commit fully to it, if not, do everything to put Turgis into a leading and race winning group. With new prodigies such as van Aert or van der Poel, Turgis might not have such a big target on his back, leaving him some room to breathe and make moves. Although after showing great form in this year’s Milan-Sanremo and finishing 2nd just after Matej Mohoric, he will probably be kept on short leash by rivals.

Peter Sagan with TotalEnergies team kit colors

Peter Sagan with TotalEnergies team kit colors (Image credit: Sportful)

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team

The most dominant team over the years, there is no race where Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl riders are not top contenders. As usual, it brings its heavy hitters to Paris-Roubaix:

  • Zdeněk Štybar- a Hell of North veteran with 8 appearances under his belt and decent results.
  • Florian Sénéchal- another one day races specialist, who has a decent history with this race. Although he might not be a contender, we will see him on a TV for a long time helping his teammates.
  • Yves Lampaert- an all-rounder, who has experience in classics and has been doing well in Paris-Roubaix over the last editions of it.
  • Kasper Asgreen- a Danish ITT champion, who famously outsprinted Mathieu van der Poel in 2021 Ronde van Vlaanderen. Since then, Kasper has been making a name for himself. He will have a huge target on his back and my guess is that the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team will do everything to put him in a leading group.

You can expect to see heavy representation of blue-white jerseys in top positions until the last moments. My guess is that the team will be riding for Asgreen and their strategy will heavily rely on the amount of riders they will manage to put in front of the race. Riders like Yves Lampaert are more than capable of launching a thermo-nuclear attack and riding away. This would quickly thin out all the domestiques of other teams and leave leaders exposed, which is a tactic that is commonly used by Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team (Image credit: QuickStep-AlphaVinyl/Wout Beel)


Another team which can perform well in Northern classics. It has a roster of Belgian and Dutch riders that thrive in heavy conditions and can put a hammer down on highly technical parts of course. In my opinion, Jasper Philipsen and Tim Merlier are the strongest sprinters in this year’s edition, although I highly doubt they will make a leading group. Don’t get me wrong, they are great in one day races, I just feel like they both lack experience on proper cobbles and they are not the type of riders who can answer a lot of devastating attacks over a brutal 260km course.But of course, Alepcin-Fenix has a cycling prodigy Mathieu van der Poel on the start line, who last year, on his debut at Paris-Roubaix came 3rd. But here is a catch, a back injury, a back injury has sidelined him for a significant stretch at the beginning of the 2022 season, nonetheless he managed to win both Ronde van Vlaanderen and Dwars door Vlaanderen, putting his back injury into a corner. At this year’s Milan-Sanremo he made it to the starting line at the last minute and rode really well. He managed to stay in first group before Pogio climb, answered a lot of Pogacar’s attacks and finished 3rd. When looking at ProCyclingStats, you cannot help but be astonished by how well van der Peol has been doing in classics. All of his appearances result in consistently good performances, so you cannot rule him out.

Mathieu van der Poel classics results

Mathieu van der Poel classics results

Trek - Segafredo

Trek - Segafredo is a classics focused team, which will probably be led by Jasper Stuyven, a one day races specialist, who has a couple Top5 performances in Paris-Roubaix and a handsome list of good results in other classic races. This year, he has not been racing a lot, but he did well in the races he took part in, most notably he took 5th at this year’s Gent-Wevelgem. Stuyven is not a typical sprinter, but Paris-Roubaix, if it gets to a sprint finish, is not a typical sprint as well. He tends to have a bit extra in his legs and finish a job better than his opponents in such conditions. At this point in time, it seems that Stuyven will have a strong backing from his team. Quinn Simmons, a strong breakaway rider, who will commit and reduce the amount of pressure from his teammates. Simmons is on a stellar form in 2022, he proved it in Tirreno-Adriatico, where he took mountain classification home and dropped a lot of jaws on stage 6. Edward Theuns is an experienced Paris-Roubaix rider who can offer a lot of tactical decisions and help Stuyven get into a winning break. Ofcourse, we have Mads Pedersen, a former World champion, who will probably be a co-leader and could outsprint everyone if it comes to that, but it will most likely not happen as he rode Queen of Classics 4 times, but his results are weak, suggesting that it is hard for him to survive until a finish. On the other hand, he is doing really well in 2022, finishing 8th at Tour of Flanders and 7th at Gent-Wevelgem.

Mads Pedersen at 2021 Paris-Roubaix

Mads Pedersen at 2021 Paris-Roubaix (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)


It is a team that is probably the biggest favorite for this year’s edition of Paris-Roubaix. With Sonny Colbrelli not making it to a start line and not many other threats that could drop Wout van Aert, this team is rightfully appearing on top of every speculative list. With the help from such riders as Mike Teunissen and Christophe Laporte, Wout van Aert has a strong chance of taking the most anticipated cobble trophy home. He is a CX rider, who naturally does well on rough terrain and harsh conditions, as well as a sprinter, who can finish a job after a long day in the office. My only concern is that he might be lacking form as he got COVID-19 couple weeks back and at this point in time he is unlikely to appear on a start line. If he does not make it, Christophe Laporte will be designated leader. With the jaw dropping results that he has been producing in 2022, you cannot rule him out. He finished 9th at Tour of Flanders and came in 2nd both at E3 Saxo Bank Classic and Gent-Wevelgem.

Wout van Aert before 2021 Paris-Roubaix

Wout van Aert before 2021 Paris-Roubaix (Image credit: David Stockman/Belga/AFP/Getty Images)

BigBonkTour’s prediction

I will drop a classic “with today’s peloton you never know” card here, but on the serious note, I really like to go with not-so-typical picks. I believe that Cristophe Laporte has a decent chance of winning it. He has a lot of classics experience under his belt and if Wout van Aert will not make it to the line, he will have one of the strongest backups and domestiques you can ask for. But as a fellow Viktor, I will once again go with Victor Campenaerts as I did for Ronde de Vlaanderen. With the little classics experience that he has, Victor has been doing really well in all the classics he takes part in. Some of you might say that he was weak at de Ronde, but I believe that Paris-Roubaix has a different terrain and he will use to his advantage. It will have less bumps and hills making it ideal for someone who can spin high gear with low cadence.


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