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Paris Roubaix Femmes History

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Since its inception in 2021, the Paris-Roubaix Femmes has quickly become a cornerstone event in women’s cycling, despite its brief history. Initially slated for 2020, the inaugural race was deferred to the following year due to pandemic disruptions. That first edition witnessed a daring long-range solo attack by Lizzie Deignan, who braved the muddy cobbles to secure an early lead and ultimately, the victory, despite the chaotic conditions that plagued the peloton behind her.

In the subsequent year, the race narrative took a different turn with Elisa Longo Borghini, Deignan’s teammate from Trek Segafredo, claiming victory. Departing from a breakaway group with 38km remaining, Longo Borghini established and held a crucial half-minute lead all the way to the finish line at the Roubaix Velodrome, a win achieved without the dramatic velodrome sprint finish that has epitomised some of the most memorable moments in men’s racing history.

The 2023 edition of the Paris-Roubaix Femmes introduced Alison Jackson into the annals of the race’s champions. There were adjustments to the route which included an extended loop south of Denain. This was aimed at increasing the race distance and stimulating early action before the cobblestone sections, with nearly 30km of pavé poised to challenge the riders, the race shows it is willing to continuously evolve. 

This year’s race is likely to see some unseasonal warmth with 24 degrees on the weather forecast and a nice southerly tailwind over most of the cobbled sections. This should be a nice fast race. The conditions will come too late to really dry out the surfaces though with plenty of race in the months and days leading up to the race. Expect maybe a dry main surface and puddles/mud just on the verges.

Previous Winners

Alison Jackson
Elisa Longo Borghini
Lizzie Deignan

Paris Roubaix Femmes 2024 Profile

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TV Coverage

Saturday 6th April 2024

Live on Eurosport/Discovery across Europe
France3 in France
RAI in Italy
RTVE in Spain
Peacock in USA
Flobikes in Canada
SBS in Australia
Supersport in Africa

All times in BST


Startlist: FirstCycling

Paris Roubaix Femmes 2024 Contenders

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Lotte Kopecky
Marianne Vos
Pfeiffer Georgi

Strangely, this is a race that SD Worx hasn’t won despite its dominance of the women’s cycling calendar. Lotte Kopecky will be looking to put that right but is coming off a fairly average (for her at least) performance at the Tour of Flanders. She didn’t look like her usual powerful self and the other teams exploited the cracks well. She will still be a favourite but it feels less of a lock-in than a week ago. Teammate Lorena Wiebes will be confident after winning Scheldeprijs and will be a contender as well, especially if she’s in the front group in the velodrome. She was taken out of the real contention on the very first set of cobbles in 2022 and didn’t get the right luck last year. Femke Markus was looking like a probable race winner only a few corners from the end of the race but slid out on the velodrome at a key moment and was unable to even sprint for the win in the end. She looked strong this time last year but will probably need another situation where she’s in front and her team leaders aren’t catching. She recently took a win at Volta NXT Classic as well.

This is absolutely a race for Marianne Vos on paper. A strong cyclocross background means she can negotiate the slippery conditions with confidence and a fast finish means she won’t fear anyone in the velodrome. She got unlucky last year with a poorly-timed crash and puncture early on. She fought her way back through the field to finish 10th despite that, however. She’s clearly in great form after winning Dwars Door Vlaanderen recently and will be a contender.

Lidl-Trek will feel confident having won 2 of the 3 Paris Roubaix Femmes editions but won’t be bringing back a former winner. It was planned for Lizzie Deignan to race but she broke her arm at the Tour of Flanders and Elisa Longo Borghini has shifted to focusing on other goals. That leaves the path clear for others. Elisa Balsamo has a mixed history here with a pair of 50th-something places sandwiching a disqualification in 2022. She earned that by hanging onto the team car past other chasing riders. She has the potential to do well here but hasn’t hooked it up yet. Lucinda Brand will always be a favourite with her stellar cyclocross history. She was 3rd in 2022 and wasn’t far away last year in 12th either. She’s been quietly plugging away this road season building up to this race, her best so far is 9th at Dwars Door Vlaanderen. Ellen van Dijk feels suited to this parcours with no hills to speak of and a massive engine to power over those cobbles. Her best result in Roubaix was 7th in 2022 before having her year off. She has a pair of time trial wins in her comeback so far.

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL certainly has cards to play but the main one will be Pfeiffer Georgi. Only she and Kopecky have finished in the top-10 at Paris Roubaix Femmes more than once on this year’s startlist. She’s been 9th and 8th in the last 2 editions. She’s been going well in other races and has skipped a couple in order to be in prime condition for races like this one. The team also has some big engines in the form of Franziska Koch and Daniek Hengeveld. Koch was 7th in the first edition, the super muddy one, and conditions will be relatively similar around the edges without quite so much carnage. Hengeveld could be a big danger in the break as well. If it does come down to a sprint then you’re looking at Charlotte Kool to hopefully be there to finish things off as well. Josie Nelson will also be a good option to watch out for after her stage win recently in Normandy.

Grace Brown
Grace Brown

FDJ-Suez doesn’t have a previous top-10 finisher lining up but Grace Brown has certainly come close. The Aussie has finished 12th and 13th in the last 2 editions but has been relatively quiet so far since the racing started in Europe. It’s hard to tip her with confidence to match those results but it’s certainly possible. Amber Kraak will perform a similar role and no doubt put in an attack at some point to try and get clear. She’s only raced twice in the last 30 days so should be fresh enough. Marie Le Net is a nice outsider option for the team with some ok results here. She might be able to surf the wheels and find herself in a good group by the end.

Canyon SRAM will be missing a couple of the bigger names here this year but Elise Chabbey finished 4th at the 2022 Paris Roubaix Femmes. She’s another rider with a good engine and should be able to put herself into a good position to be a contender at the end, even if her sprint might stop her from getting a bigger result. The supporting cast will also be in the hunt, with the likes of Zoe Backstedt no doubt tipped quite heavily thanks to her cyclocross background and naturally that surname always gets the fans excited at Roubaix time! Alice Towers is quietly staying to come into her own this season and was 23rd last year. She can improve on that along with Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka who finished 34th in 2023. Soraya Paladin will also be one to watch in her first edition. The Italian is coming off a 4th place at Trofeo Alfredo Binda and is quick enough at the end of the tough race to potentially podium here.

Marta Lach got herself into the winning break last year and almost hung on to finish 6th, a few seconds ahead of the chasing pack. The Pole should do well again, she’s got the power to get across the cobbles and a fast finish if she can ride her luck and be in the right place. Luxembourger Nina Berton hasn’t raced her before but is in some good form at the moment. She seems to have pushed on a level over the winter and has been regularly finishing in the top 20 during the major spring classics. She was 15th at Gent Wevelgem which shows a reasonably fast finish and she could be Ceratizit WNT’s best finisher this year.

It should be all in for Chiara Consonni this year at Paris Roubaix Femmes. The Italian finished 9th last year, one of the frontrunners of the chase group behind the break. I thought Karlijn Swinkels might be around to tackle this one but as it is the team looks ideally placed to focus on a sole leader in Consonni. She’s been racking up some good results but missed out at Scheldeprijs this week and only finished 8th when a top-5 was expected on paper beforehand. 

Victoire Berteau has been knocking on the door here with a 17th and a 29th. The French champion is looking stronger this year though and is now a regular high finisher in the biggest events as well as a rider known for attacking and trying to get into breaks. She will have the home support and with a bit of luck should be contesting the finish in the front group this year.

Emma Norsgaard
Emma Norsgaard

Emma Norsgaard should be one of the favourites here after finishing 6th and 11th over the first 2 editions of the race. The Dane is back this year but reportedly has suffered from an illness in the build-up. That doesn’t bode well for such a tough race but if it comes right on the day should match her previous bests. Teammate Arlenis Sierra was down in 56th last year but is a tough rider with a good sprint, so has the potential to do much better. The Cuban might need a bit of luck but is a decent contender.

Letizia Paternoster is in some great form at the moment and should be a cert to improve on her 65th from last season. The Italian seems to have found some of that confidence that comes from getting good results and is now consistently putting them together. 4th at Ronde van Drenthe has seen her follow that up with 3rd at Dwars Door Vlaanderen and 9th at the Tour of Flanders recently. She should be a threat here.

Paris Roubaix Femmes hasn’t been a race for Maria Giulia Confalonieri so far with a best of 22nd in the muddy 2021 edition. She’s got a fast finish but so far hasn’t managed to survive all of the cobbles to be able to use it. 5th at Gent Wevelgem shows that she is in form at the moment though. Teammate Anniina Ahtosalo was 2nd at the Ronde de Mouscron this week and 8th back at Classic Brugge-De Panne as well. The Finn is both fast at the end of races and has a good motor and whilst still only 20 years old is a rider who could win this race at some point.

Kim Le Court should be leading the charge for AG Insurance-Soudal here this season. The Mauritian has been impressing with consistent results this Spring and as a mountain biker, should know what to do on tough, slippery terrain. Whilst the cobbles at Roubaix are a different kettle of fish on a road bike she’s potentially a contender. Teammate Ilse Pluimers is also one to keep an eye on as a strong rider who will hopefully guide Le Court to a strong finish.

Alison Jackson
Alison Jackson

We can’t do a Paris Roubaix Femmes preview and not mention last year’s winner Alison Jackson. It took a specific set of events for Jackson to win last season but the Canadian played it perfectly to finish it off with a win and go into the history books. A repeat seems unlikely but you rule her out at your own peril. Teammate Noemi Rüegg feels a safer bet for a good result and very much fits that ideal skillset of power and fast finishing.

Last year’s 2nd placed rider was Katia Ragusa with the Italian always up for a break. It will need to be a similar path for her to do well this year and whilst she’s been quiet in the Spring so far was fun to watch at the Tour Down Under getting into the breaks regularly there. Teammate Audrey Cordon-Ragot will absolutely want to be on top form for this one and won’t have the Zaaf spectre hanging over her this season either. She was 8th in the muddy first edition but hasn’t been able to repeat that again yet. Largely supportive this Spring, this is her time to shine.

Completing the trio of last year’s podium is Marthe Truyen who is coming into form again at just the right point. She’s had a solid spring but took her best results in the last week with 4th at Ronde de Mouscron and 6th at Scheldeprijs. Last year’s result should give her confidence and she’s one who can win from the front group rather than the break. Teammate Christina Schweinberger will also be in contention and was 15th last season. She had a quiet Tour of Flanders but has been a regular top-10 finisher once again this Spring.

Maggie Coles-Lyster finished well down last year but was understandably emotional at the start after a meeting with her former Zaaf teammate Cordon-Ragot. The Canadian has been going well in recent weeks with a strong 10th at Gent Wevelgem and then 5th at Ronde de Mouscron. It bodes well for a much better result in 2024.

Paris Roubaix Femmes 2024 Outsiders

Amandine Fouquenet
Amandine Fouquenet

She’s not raced here before but Kiwi Michaela Drummond will be on a high after winning the Région Pays de la Loire Tour-Féminin this week. It was a fast sprint finish that saw her win by bike lengths over her rivals. Cobbled monuments might not be her thing but you can’t ignore a recent race winner! Another rider with a cyclocross background is Drummond’s teammate Amandine Fouquenet. The French rider has been quiet so far this road season but this race should put her back on the map as it suits her muddy winter riding.

Sofie van Rooijen has been one of the outsider stars of the Spring Classics so far with a win at Drentse Acht and then a trio of 4th places in other races. She certainly sprints well but there’s maybe a question about how she fares on the cobbles at Paris Roubaix Femmes. If she is near the front at the end of the race, she can do very well indeed.

The young pair at Coop-Repsol will be ones to watch, if not for this season then for the future. Camilla Rånes Bye and Stina Kagevi have both shown themselves to be strong riders with good engines either getting into breakaways or getting results too in 2024. Bye was 9th at Ronde de Mouscron and has regularly been trying to make moves to get into the day’s break in other big races. Stina Kagevi was particularly impressive at the Vuelta Extremadura Féminas where a final day 3rd place in the time trial boosted her to 8th in GC. She puts out plenty of flat watts which will come in handy.

Kaja Rysz of Lifeplus-Wahoo has been going well this year and was 11th this week in Scheldeprijs. Not an out-and-out sprinter, she’s been putting herself in the mix for herself or as a leadout to guide teammates into better positions. The Pole should comfortably improve on her 97th from last seas

Top 3 Prediction

  • Marianne Vos

  • Lotte Kopecky

  • Pfeiffer Georgi