Paris - Roubaix: can Tom Boonen win 'Hell of the North' for a 4th time?

Sunday is yet another red letter day in the calendar of cycling folk. All eyes will be on the cobble stones of northern France as the riders negotiate the arduous route of the cycling classic Paris - Roubaix.

The riders will cover 258 kilometers including no fewer than 27 stretches over cobble stones. The Flemish rider Tom Boonen already has three important wins under his belt this season: the E3 race in Harelbeke, Ghent - Wevelgem and last weekend's Tour of Flanders. Expectation is now high. Will Tom Boonen make it a hat trick plus and take all four titles.

If he does he will equal the performance of cycling legend Roger De Vlaeminck, but the Flemish rider faces stiff opposition from Italians Filippo Pozzato and Alessandro Ballan.

The race is expected to conclude shortly before 17:00 CET. Tom Boonen already won Paris - Roubaix in 2005, 2008 and 2009. His challenger Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland will not be present after his nasty fall in the Tour of Flanders last Sunday.