Stybar: will the bridge hold?
Wilhelm Smet, the man behind Zdenek Stybar’s bridgework has ranked the more famous cobblestone sectors of this year’s Paris-Roubaix.
The orthodontist from Antwerp reached his conclusions after a detailed inspection of the race course with his dental reconstruction team.
Smets employees a “lost tooth” methodology to obtain the degree of difficulty, with 5 teeth signifying the worse, most dentally dangerous stretches of cobbles.
His ranking for the 2015 Paris-Roubaix.
Mons-en-Pévèle (km 204.5 – 3000 m) 5 teeth missing
Note: I don’t care how much work we do on Zdenek’s bridgework, if it’s coming loose again, this is the place. Very hard to find it when it falls on the ground. Hell of the North? More like Hell of a Facial Reconstruction.
Le Carrefour de l’Arbre (km 236.5 – 2100 m) 5 teeth missing
Note: Orthodontists hate the Carrefour and this year is no different. A molar-shaking, bicuspid-breaking stretch of vicious stones. This is a Monument all right – to shattered teeth and broken jaw bones.
Trouée d’Arenberg (km 158 – 2400 m) 5 teeth missing
Note: they call it the “trench.” Well, it’s not unlike putting your fingers inside someone’s mouth and finding half their teeth are gone. Johan Museeuw almost lost his leg to gangrene after a crash in Arenberg. I fear a rider will end up with something far more horrible: dentures.
Smets has been busying working on Stybar’s bridgework after it came loose in the Tour of Flanders. However, it remains to be seen if his additional efforts will keep the bridge in place over the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix.
“What can I do? There is only so much glue and wire and screws. If he was a professional swimmer, I would not worry. I can’t promise Zdenek his bridgework won’t loosen under these extreme circumstances,” said Smets. “I have suggested pre-chewed food just in case. The team manager could chew it up first, then hand it to him.”
As his Etixx-Quick-Step patient noted after the Tour of Flanders, “It’s not the best feeling to ride without teeth.” Nobody knows who will win Paris-Roubaix or whether Stybar will keep his teeth.