Women making history discuss their thoughts and expectations before the first Paris-Roubaix Femmes

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Many teams and riders who will participate in the first edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes took the opportunity to preview the 17 cobbled sectors in the days leading up to the race held on October 2 in France. .

For many years, women have campaigned for a race queen of the classics, and finally the ASO organizers are hosting an event, which completes the list of spring classics such as the Tour of Flanders and the Ardennes week, which include also a women’s race. .

It will be difficult to say which rider will cross the line first at the Vélodrome de Roubaix given that this is unexplored territory. As this 116 km course is much shorter than the men’s course, there may well be some more aggressive races at the start, as the riders struggle to line up the peloton in the first 30 km before attacking the long section. paved opening.

If the Trouée d’Arenberg will not be visited, women will compete in the other most difficult sectors in Mons-en-Pévèle and Carrefour de L’Arbre, sectors which can make or break the main contenders.

There will be very little margin for error and the riders will be on their guard in front of the relentless sections which follow one another quickly. All we know is whoever crosses the finish line at around 5 p.m. local time on Saturday will make history.

Cycling news spoke to ten of the women who will make history who will be on the starting line to get their thoughts, perspectives and expectations ahead of the inauguration of Women’s Hell of the North.

Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo)

As a child, I loved watching Paris-Roubaix with my family, and I was inspired by Frédéric Guesdon when he won. It was a great occasion. I am really happy that we are now making history. My only regret is that if the event had not been postponed I would have had the opportunity to participate in this race wearing the National Champion jersey.

Jolien D’hoore (SD Worx)

I live on the Tour of Flanders course, so I’m used to cobblestones. But you can’t compare them to the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix, which look more like a pile of stones thrown together. Paris-Roubaix Femmes is going to be special because it will be the last race of my career.

I don’t necessarily think Arenberg should have been included. I think the course is good as it is now. What we have here is a good start. If it rains, however, it will just be a matter of survival and not crashing. And that has nothing to do with cycling anymore. I want the best runner to win on Saturday and not the luckiest one.

Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo)

Everyone said, “These roads will suit you”, but when I first scouted I cried and couldn’t complete the ride. But after four more visits I got better and now I like it. We have been supervised and advised by the sports director of the men’s teams, and all our equipment, including our suspension bikes, is there. I see why people see me as a favorite, but anything can happen. I’ll give it my all, but I don’t feel pressured.

Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma Team)

I think it’s going to be a really quick 30k and a big brawl as you approach the first cobblestone area, and a lot of the girl races are going to almost end there, especially if it’s raining and windy. lateral. It will be a very difficult day and full of gas from start to finish. Don’t expect a large group to enter the velodrome. I think there will be three at most. I think the strongest, luckiest girl will win that day, because I think there will be a lot of people having problems and a lot of things happening.

We use much wider tires, so some of us use 28mm or 30mm tires. For tire pressure, I’m a little lighter than the other riders so mine is 4 bars. I will also line up my handlebars and put duct tape on my fingers. There are a lot of different steps you take to make sure you can survive.

Dutch Chantal Blaak of the SD Worx team pictured in action during preparations for the 118th edition of the ParisRoubaix one day cycling race from Compiègne near Paris to Roubaix on Wednesday September 29, 2021 Due to the ongoing corona virus pandemic , the 2020 edition has been canceled and the 2021 edition has been postponed from spring to autumn For the first time there will also be a women race ParisRoubaix BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) in preview of the pavement of Paris-Roubaix (Image credit: Getty Images)

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx)

The cobblestones at Carrefour de L’Arbre are really hard, and there are holes everywhere. You need to have speed to ride on these cobbles, but that’s a problem at this point when your legs are quite tired. Also, the breaks between sectors are so short – sometimes only 3 km or 4 km, which makes things more difficult.

People asked me how I felt about this historic moment. I have to say I was just super focused, looking at the lines to follow when checking the course and trying to remember everything. But I’m super excited.

Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM Racing)

I think Paris-Roubaix Femmes will be different from the men’s race because we will be doing a lot less races before reaching the cobbles, and the proportion of cobbles on asphalt in our race is much higher. I think there will be action from the start. This is one of the races on the calendar that suits me the best as it is flat even though the cobblestones make it difficult. I love cobblestones, although I’m not sure if I’ll say it at the end of Saturday!

Christine Majerus (SD Worx)

To me it’s like the most romantic form of cycling and a real fight against the elements. This is what makes Paris-Roubaix more special than any other race.

If you have good cyclocross techniques you can be more relaxed and save some energy at the start of the race, but if you don’t have the strongest legs in the final then all the best techniques in the race. world have won. not help you win.

Riding the velodrome will give me goosebumps, whether it’s for the win or just to finish.

Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo)

The cobbles will be hard although we did the reconnaissance in different conditions so we are prepared for any type of weather and ready for a tough race. It’s going to be a great experience.

Lotte Kopecky (Liv Racing)

I want to have fun on Saturday at Paris-Roubaix Femmes, then I’ll see where it takes me. In addition to the rainy weather, we expect an even more nervous race. My job will be to stay alert, stay on the bike and try to avoid equipment breakdowns.

Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo)

Paris-Roubaix Women is something that should have happened a long time ago, but it’s a big step forward in women’s cycling, and it’s great to see the respect that women gain in cycle racing.

I think the course is fine as it is. When designing the course we have to think about the race and the different teams and riders involved. The most important thing is to have a feminine Paris-Roubaix. Which pavers should or should not be included can be considered in the future.

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