A sudden roar erupted from the crowd as the first rider entered the velodrome, and for the second consecutive year, Paris-Roubaix Femmes was a resounding success.
Last year’s historic inaugural Roubaix — in the fall rain and mud — raised the bar for its follow-up edition. While this year’s race on the dry and dusty cobbles was its antithesis, it was an undoubtedly resounding success.
Once again the Trek-Segafredo team dominated the race as Italian national champion Elisa Longo Borghini followed her teammate Lizzie Deignan, winner of the previous edition, with another impressive solo victory. And while the Trek women stole the spotlight, the drama was high all day in front of the generous crowds from start to finish.
Crowds lined the start in downtown Denain as this one-time mining town was in a particularly festive spirit before the race rolled out.
Kids lined the side of the route as the pack raced through the streets of Denain during the opening laps.
World time trial champion Ellen van Dijk of Trek-Segafredo led the pack through the opening sectors of cobbles.
With van Dijk in front, Longo Borghini rolled easily near the front in the opening cobble sections.
The peloton enters the historic Orchies cobbles sector.
Belgian national champion and pre-race favorite Lotte Kopecky attacked hard on the Auchy les Orchies sector, but she was quickly controlled.
Going solo around 30km from the finish, Longo Borghini gained a commanding — if not slim — lead when she cruised over the treacherous Carrefour de l’Arbe cobbles in the final 20km.
Encouraged by her Belgian fans, Kopecky tried in vain to close the gap in the final sectors.
Maintaining her 30-second lead, Longo Borghini had plenty of time to savor her victory as she crossed the finish line in the velodrome.
American Coryn Labecki talked with journalists after the finish.
The Jumbo-Visma team was just one of many powerful squads that could only look on at the domination of Trek-Segafredo, which has quickly established itself as the reference in the Paris-Roubaix Femmes.
While Longo Borghini struggled to lift heavy the iconic cobblestone trophy after such a grueling race, she was nonetheless elated to have scored one of her greatest victories to date!