With the Queen of the Classics just around the corner, get your Pre-Roubaix fix with a collection of videos from past years and recon rides. From the Arenburg forest to the velodrome in Roubaix, it’s one of the most iconic events in sport and perhaps the most romanticized races around. Don’t be fooled; this is a brutal, inelegant slug-fest. It’s the grittiest race on the calendar, and perhaps the truest test of the rouleurs all season.

First up, here’s a video from BMC Racing of Thor Hushovd reconning last month. The Norwegian has a love-hate relationship with Roubaix: He loves it, it hates him. His best finish was third, but he’s been disappointed with his form this season and has figured any Classics so far in 2012. On a super squad like BMC, he may be reduced to a helping role for Ballan and van Avermaet. Of course, if the former World Champion says he wants a race, he’ll be ready. Hushovd is still a top-notch professional and knows what he needs to do to be ready for Sunday.

A bit more BMC with the entire team’s recon this week, including great footage of George Hincapie, Taylor Phinney and Alessandro Ballan.

After Fabian Cancellara’s crash, Gregory Rast stepped up huge for RadioShack-Nissan, despite actually waiting for some time by his fallen captain. With no Cancellara at Roubaix, Rast will have be given the green light to ride for a high overall finish. Here’s his interview with Cyclingnews heading into Roubaix weekend.

Here’s Rast and the whole squad taking a dry run on a few cobble sections this past week as a part of their preparation for Sunday.

Why is Fabian Cancellara’s absence so huge? If you’ll recall, his rampages at Flanders and Roubaix in 2010 established him as the perpetual favorite. And it’s easy to see why. Watch him simply walk away from all his rivals, and then stay away all on his own. (Note: The “we have a problem” is famous in Belgium now. You’ll see…)

What’s it like to win? Last year’s champion Johann van Summeran explains the impact Roubaix has had on his life, why he likes the race and the recipe for victory.

With rain in the forecast, there will some crashes. Even in beautiful last year, the race famous for crashes offered more than a few spills, including knocking out this year’s big favorite Tom Boonen. The slick stones of Arenberg are especially fearsome.