Reading Roubaix

Reading Roubaix is a very tough Paris-Roubaix-inspired sportive, based at Palmer Park Stadium in Reading. It features thirteen unpaved/cobbled/gravel sectors and finishes on a large outdoor velodrome - as does Paris-Roubaix. Original 100km route plus epic new 100-mile option! (160km). New unpaved/gravel road sectors. Outdoor velodrome finish.

Sunday 17 September 2017

comp_enterInspired by the Queen of the Classics: ‘Paris-Roubaix’

The ‘Reading Roubaix’ cyclosportive is based on the epic French Classic ‘Paris-Roubaix’. Its new 100-mile (160km) route option includes sixteen unpaved, cobbled  and gravel sectors, varying in length from 400m to 1800m (totalling over 20km), all of which can be ridden on an ordinary road bike. The ride finishes, as does Paris-Roubaix, on a large outdoor velodrome, at Palmer Park Stadium in Reading. The original 100km route option will run alongside the epic new 100-mile option, which adds in an additional loop to the north.

Reading Roubaix has been designed to be as close to Paris-Roubaix as is possible in this part of the country. While there are few remaining cobbled roads in the area, there are plenty of rough gravel roads and stony bridleways, which deliver a similar riding experience to cobbles: the vibrations, and the heightened sense of speed and excitement.

After starting outside Reading velodrome, the course heads north across the River Thames at the attractive village of Sonning, and into the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The route passes through Henley-on-Thames and then in a large anticlockwise loop, culminating with a rapid succession of fast, challenging, adrenaline-filled gravel sectors as it drops back down to the Thames. After sweeping through the velodrome gates and onto the track, riders will hear the bell indicating one lap to go, and from there it’s a high-speed sprint to the finish.

A well-stocked feed station, a broom wagon and medical support will be provided.

Reading Roubaix will be held on Sunday 17 September 2017, starting and finishing at Palmer Park Velodrome, Reading RG6 1LF. Registration at 1000 for a 1030 start (100 mile route). (1130 registration for a 1230 start for the 100 km route). Please note that the velodrome will close at 1800 (approx. 12.5mph average cut-off). You can sign up using British Cycling’s online entry system – click on the red ‘ENTER’ button below. The event is promoted by Cycle Classics, who also organize the similarly-themed Tour of the Black Country, the Cheshire Cobbled Classic, which includes several steep cobbled climbs, including the infamous 45% Corkscrew, and the Strade-Bianche-themed White Roads Classic which features 17 white gravel/chalk sectors. Reading Roubaix is supported by British Cycling. Like our facebook page to view more photos and to receive the latest information and updates on the event.


Reading Roubaix 2017 Rider Information Pack

100km Route Profile



START  Palmer Park Reading  DIFFICULTY
10  Foxhill Lane (North) 1300m       * * *
9  Kiln Lane 1600m       * * *
8  Lower Shiplake 1100m       * * *
7  Highmore Wood 1800m      * * * *
6  Stoke Row Cobbles   400m         *
FEED  The Red Lion  Woodcote
5  Cold Harbour   800m       * * *
 Mapledurham   700m       * * *
3  Boundary Lane   500m        * *
2  Kidmore End 1200m       * * *
1  Foxhill Lane (South) 1300m       * * *
FINISH  (105km) Velodrome

100 mile Route Profile



START  Palmer Park Reading  DIFFICULTY
16  Foxhill Lane (North) 1300m       * * *
15  Kiln Lane 1600m       * * *
14  Lower Shiplake 1100m       * * *
13  Highmore Wood 1800m      * * * *
12  Stoke Row Cobbles   400m         *
FEED  The Red Lion  Woodcote
11  Cold Harbour   800m       * * *
10  Mapledurham   700m       * * *
9  Boundary Lane   500m       * *
8  Kidmore End 1200m       * * *
7  Highmore Wood 1800m       * * *
6  Stoke Row Cobbles   400m       * * *
FEED  The Red Lion Woodcote
5  Cold Harbour   800m       * * *
 Mapledurham   700m       * * *
3  Boundary Lane   500m        * *
2  Kidmore End 1200m       * * *
1  Foxhill Lane (South) 1300m       * * *
FINISH  (160km) Velodrome
Palmer Park Earth

Reading Velodrome is situated adjacent to the River Thames, and to the Chilterns – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


The unusual surface of the Stoke Row Cobbles sector (sector 7). The cobbles are present only along the left hand side of the road. Tarmac covers the right-hand edge of the cobbles.


The first unpaved gravel sector – Foxhill Lane, just north of the village of Sonning.


The route of Reading Roubaix passes over this bridge across the River Thames at Sonning.


One of the most beautiful unpaved sectors – the four-star, 1800m-long Highmore Wood gravel track.


The near-ubiquitous Rapha jersey.


A typical unpaved road near Nettlebed.


A short but testing sector near Woodcote.


The finish at Reading velodrome. Minor facial damage.

Palmer Park velodrome is almost identical to the Roubaix velodrome – outdoor, similar steepness of banking, similarly antiquated, same length. The Guvnors Assembly pictured in 2016.


The beautiful Highmore Wood Sector


The Kiln Lane gravel sector, just south of Henley-on-Thames.


Towards the end of the Kiln Lane gravel sector.


The slightly-downhill gravel bridle path at Lower Shiplake.


Gravel sector though an attractive Oxfordshire village.


Mapledurham Watermill – adjacent to the Mapledurham gravel sector.


Mapledurham Watermill on the cover of the 1970 eponymous debut album by Black Sabbath. The photo also features the Prince of Darkness himself – Ozzy Osbourne.


The Reading Festival site from the air. The Mapledurham unpaved sector is visible towards the bottom of the photo, to the left of the Thames.


Palmer Park Velodrome – the finish of the ‘Reading Roubaix’ cyclosportive


Bradley Wiggins leads a group of riders onto the velodrome during the 2014 Paris-Roubaix – the race that inspired the ‘Reading Roubaix’ sportive.


The entrance to the velodrome is just to the right of the grandstand, allowing riders to sweep directly onto the track.


The finish line at Palmer Park velodrome.


Like Reading Roubaix on Facebook




'One of the best sportives I have ever participated in. Great route, great technical challenge and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will spread the word.'

- Christopher R.

'Fantastic concept! Great to have an event with a new edge. Looking forward to next year!'

- Paul H.

'The Tour of the Black Country is probably the best sportive route in the annual calendar. Organised to the highest professional standards and quickly gaining a reputation right across Europe, this is a ride of absolute brilliance.'

- Urban Cycles

'The best-organized sportive I've ever been to. Incredible that 2014 was the first running of the event. The corporate big boys had better watch out!'

- Neil K.

'Brilliant event!'

- Julie B.

'Excellent event. Well run. Definitely a different sportive and should be a regular on the sportive calendar for decades. Chapeau to all involved.'

- John C.


- Alistair C.

'The best sportive of 2014'.

- Guvnors' Assembly

'As good as you'll get in Britain, I reckon.'

- Will F.

'It’s tough to stand out in the crowded British sportive market but Cycle Classics has hit the nail squarely on the head with its Tour of the Black Country: off-road segments, cobbles, a velodrome finish, even a glass of champagne on completion. The highlight of the day was the glorious sweeps of Aldersley Velodrome for the final lap and a half of the course, just like at Paris-Roubaix. Great atmosphere and sense of being part of a special event.'

- Cycling Weekly

'I only ride a few sportives each year now in this country...The ones I usually do are the Tour of the Black Country and the Tour of Britain.'

- James T.


Cheshire Cobbled Classic – White Roads Classic- Tour of the Black Country

Wilier Triestina Bikes