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ROUBAIX, France (VN) — History was made Saturday at the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes, and the race lived up to the anticipation.
Treacherous conditions and aggressive racing turned the finale into a nail-biting tug-of-war between two of the biggest legends in the contemporary peloton.
Here’s what the central players had to say after their history-making efforts:
Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo), 1st
“I feel very emotional. I don’t know, I am just really proud. Sorry, not the best quote, but I am just so happy. I cannot believe it happened.
“At the start of the day we said, ‘you know the rulebook: anything can happen’. I was just fighting to those first cobble sections, and I knew that Ellen (van Dijk), one of our leaders, was not in such a good position. And when I looked behind no one was there, and I thought ‘well at least then they have to chase.
“I didn’t know I was going to win until I entered the velodrome. Because honestly, I couldn’t hear anything, my legs were cramping, and I knew that even on the last section you could lose two minutes if you cramp and blow up. I really just tried to keep a regular pace. At this point in the season, I am tired and I knew the best thing for me was to keep this steady pace and keep in front as long as I could.
“Now your name’s in the history book, It’s pretty special to be able to say that. I am really proud that we are here, and we deserve to be here; I am proud of the whole peloton.
Was it a plan to go so early? “Absolutely not, who makes that plan? I think the plan really was there was no rulebook today. We came in with Ellen and Elisa as leaders and I was the third person to be around and look after them, but I could feel they were not in great position coming into the first cobblestone section. I was there and when I looked behind I had a gap.
“I heard at the end that Vos was chasing and coming fast and I said, ‘oh no!’ It’s never nice have Marianna Vos chasing you, but I knew that I had just enough time.”
— daniel mcmahon (@cyclingreporter) October 2, 2021
Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), 2nd
“We tried what we could and Lizzie Deignan had a very brave early attack and she gained a good advantage. From the moment in the final when I went, I knew it was going to be very hard to make up time on her. I got a little close, but in the end, I didn’t get closer to 1:15 or whatever. Then, of course I kept riding for the second place so for today I have to be happy with second.
“I think she [Deignan] entered one of the first sections as first and then the rider behind her left a gap and she was alone. From there, she just went alone. Of course, then we were with quite a big group behind and there were a lot of crashes, but I don’t think it was a crash that caused the difference.”
A day to remember🪨😊 pic.twitter.com/csF7nPT4xm
— Team Jumbo-Visma Women (@JumboVismaWomen) October 2, 2021
Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), 3rd
“It was a really incredible Paris-Roubaix and I don’t think there is anyone who deserved it more to be on the top step of this podium. [Lizzie Deignan] made history, we made history. It’s hard to acknowledge this, but it’s just an amazing feeling. There’s no better person who could be on the top step today.
“The cobbles today were really slippery, and I crashed three or four times, but I always made it back. We were told to never give up if we had something because Paris-Roubaix is always like this, you always have the chance to get back and get a result. But today is all about Lizzie – she deserves all the attention because she did something really incredible.
“We were stuck behind a crash and chasing into the first section and Lizzie was in front of the crash. By instinct she got away, and instinct is something that drives Lizzie, we all know that, and today she had a sparkle in her eyes and I was really feeling she was going to win the race.”
Who needs the famous @Paris_Roubaix showers when you have a jet wash?😅
— Team BikeExchange (@GreenEDGEteam) October 2, 2021