Defending champion Niki Terpstra will be the main man for Etixx-Quickstep in the absence of injured four-time winner Tom Boonen - but the rangy Dutchman came unstuck last weekend against the peloton's current man-of-the-moment, Alexander Kristoff.

The gruelling 253.5km race in northern France - which includes 52.7km of bone-jangling pavé in a total of 27 cobbled sectors of varying difficulty - also marks the final time Bradley Wiggins rides in the colours of Team Sky.

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He's been off the boil all year - his head already halfway to Rio - but Wiggins has made Roubaix his season's main target and he will be itching to retire from road racing with a bang.

The famous cobbles sections of Arenberg, Mons-en-Pévèle and the Carrefour de l'Arbre will also be deprived the hulking presence of triple Roubaix victor Fabian Cancellara, meaning the race will be more open than ever.

And with clement conditions on the cards - but puddles and mud still lingering from the winter - the weather will no doubt play a role in proceedings.

Here are five contrasting scenarios (actually, there's 10, to be fair) of how Sunday's third monument of the season could well play out...

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Wiggins wins

What a farewell this would be! 34-year-old Bradley Wiggins, in his Sky swansong, rides clear of the field with Boonen-esque aplomb before soloing into the Roubaix velodrome with an unassailable lead over his rivals.

Forget that he's been in stinking form all season and only managed 87th in last week's Tour of Flanders after crashing ahead of the Kwaremont, this is the only race that matters in Wiggins' season. He - and Sky - will go all out for the win. Barmen of Roubaix: make sure your fridges are well stocked...

Likelihood: 2/5

More likely: A crash or a puncture will dent Wiggo's hopes in the Arenberg Forest cobbled section forcing Sky to transfer their eggs to the basket marked 'Geraint Thomas'. The Welshman will gamely top ten but won't have the legs to cover the decisive move that decides the podium.

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Etixx ecstatic

Tom Boonen's absence will be hardly felt as Niki Terpstra, Zdenek Stybar and Stijn Vandenbergh blow the peloton apart before doing their best Mapei impression from 1996 by taking all rungs on the podium after team orders dictate that Terpstra prevails. Perennial bridesmaids this year, Etixx may well have made a right fudge of their tactics in the classics but surely a big win is just around the cobbled corner? Roubaix is better suited to the power-in-numbers game and provided his men play their cards right, then Patrick Lefevere should hold all the aces.

Likelihood: 1/5

More likely: Stybar and Vandenberg are knocked off their bikes by selfie-taking spectators before Terpstra gets outfoxed by BMC's Greg Van Avermaet in the finale, adding another second place to his Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem and Flanders collection.

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King Kristoff

Someone call the fire engine because there's a Norwegian currently on fire in the peloton... Alexander Kristoff made up for his narrow San Remo loss by winning every stage in the Three Days of De Panne, expertly adding the Tour of Flanders last weekend before confirming his stellar form with victory in Wednesday's Scheldeprijs.

They call this Holy Week in Belgium - and a Roubaix triumph would make Kristoff the undisputed high priest. Such is the 27-year-old's confidence right now that he may well forget he's only finished Roubaix once in four attempts (ninth in 2013).

Likelihood: 4/5

More likely: It would take a brave man to bet against Kristoff, whose season just keeps on getting better and better. That said, he must be running on empty now and his old Milan-San Remo foe, John Degenkolb, will be on hand to take advantage. In the absence of Boonen, there's something apt about the man Etixx view as the Belgian's natural successor taking his first Roubaix win.

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Sensational Sagan

The real reason Peter Sagan sat up in the Flanders finale was not because he was totally spent nor because he owed Van Avermaet a favour... he was merely keeping something back for the Hell of the North. Besides, Sagan has enough second and third places to last a lifetime - he's only interested in the top prize now.

Granted, he's been far from his best since joining Tinkoff-Saxo, but class is permanent and Sagan will use the cobbles as a platform to remind the world of his stellar talent, winning a two-up sprint with ease before inviting Oleg Tinkoff to join him on the podium.

Likelihood: 3/5

More likely: At some point, Sagan has to come good but don't bank on it happening quite yet. As usual, he'll be well placed and could even make the final selection. But he'll be punished by a lack of team-mates, and held back by some supreme Etixx sandbagging when Stybar rides clear with Andre Greipel (why not? He's pretty ubiquitous these days) before the Czech roars to victory.

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Sep Vanmarcke victorious

The promising Belgian from LottoNL-Jumbo will deliver the kind of performance that will have fans and the media alike talking about a changing of the guard. The era of Boonan and Cancellara will be over, giving way to a half decade dominated by Vanmarcke.

Last weekend's Flandrian blip will be all but forgotten after Vanmarcke delivers a pavé masterclass, riding clear of the field on the Mons-en-Pévèle section some 49km from the finish and even surviving a late puncture to hang on to a game-changing win.

Likelihood: 4/5

More likely: There's definitely a case in arguing that Vanmarcke has been talked up a tad more than he merits this season. For all his consistency, has he really delivered much? The 26-year-old may find himself isolated in the business end of the race - and when former team-mate Lars Boom puts in a decisive dig, he'll struggle to follow. Astana's Boom, like he did in the rain during the Tour's fifth stage last summer, will solo on to victory in the velodrome. But he'll still look pretty rubbish in that baby blue kit...

Felix Lowe

What scenario is the most likely for you at Paris-Roubaix this Sunday? Have your say below...

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