6 June, 2024

Seeking Excellence: Cobbles

Cobblestones are a unique experience for any cyclist. The uneven surfaces present a true test of skill and underlining the crucial importance of selecting the best bike for racing these historic roads.

The cobbles have a long history in cycling. Races like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix became fan favourites and battlegrounds for many cycling legends, drawing crowds from across the world.

“Even before Christmas and New Year people start to talk about the season, the fans just adore it.”

– said Dirk Demol, Sports Director of Lotto Dstny.

“As a kid, I’d watch the races on the television, or stand at the roadside, but this year I had the opportunity to race some of the Classics for the first time. Riding through the walls of fans was super cool.”


– added Alec Segaert of Lotto Dstny.

Lotto corriendo sobre el adoquín.

The unforgiving nature of the cobbles demands skill, strength and resilience. Maintaining balance and control becomes a constant battle. As fatigue sets in and the body absorbs the relentless vibrations, endurance of even the most seasoned pro is tested.

Yet, it’s precisely these challenges that make cycling on cobbles so captivating. The unpredictability of the terrain adds an element of excitement and drama to every race. Each sector becomes a spectacle, showcasing the determination of the riders as they push themselves to the limit.

Lotto corriendo en el adoquín de Paris Roubaix

“In many aspects of cycling, it’s about watts per kilogram, but on the cobbles… that just doesn’t matter. You have to produce raw power.”


– said Florian Vermeersch of Lotto Dstny.

Lotto corriendo sobre el adoquín.

Choosing the right bike for racing on the cobbles is crucial. Unlike smooth tarmac, riding on cobblestone requires a unique design that can absorb the vibrations and impacts without compromising performance. Riders opt for bikes specifically designed for these conditions– ones equipped with wider tires and frames engineered to be stiff yet forgiving.

“To design an aero bicycle for the cobbles is challenging. The first generation of the Aero Orca was designed for sprinters with it’s incredible aerodynamics and stiffness, but we realised that the bicycle also needed to perform on the cobblestones too.”

– said Joseba Arizaga, Road Product Manager at Orbea.

“But if we made it too stiff on the verticals, it would be impossible to ride. We incorporated a larger tire clearance allowing riders to use up to 32mm tires. In these races it’s super flat, the speed is fast and most of the time you’re in a small group trying to catch up with the next, so aerodynamics is key. It’s without a doubt that the Orca Aero is the best choice.”

Orbea Orca Aero para correr en el adoquín.

Orca Aero

“The Orca Aero is fast. I have that race feeling when I ride on it in the Classics. The aerodynamics really make a difference” added Segaert.

Ultimately, cycling on cobblestones is a test of character as much as it is a test of skill. It’s about embracing the joy of the ride while confronting the challenges head-on. For many, conquering the cobbles is a dream, and one that honours a tradition that has been woven into the fabric of cycling history.

“For a rider like me, winning Paris-Roubaix is the highest goal that I could dream of. It would change my life. That’s what we ride for every day, having that dream in mind.“ said Segaert.

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