Lizzie Deignan, from Britain made a landmark victory in the inaugural Paris Roubaix Femmes even after there where a lot of obstacles like the rain, mud and crashes on her way, still she made it to a memorable debut for the world’s best female riders over the infamous cobbled course on Saturday.
The previous world champion did produce a dominant ride over the 115.6km course and also held a powerful late surge by Dutch great Marianne Vos to win by one minuteand 17 seconds.
“I feel incredibly proud,” Deignan, who adds the maiden Paris Roubaix to her other notable triumphs including last year’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege, said.
“Women’s cycling is at this turning point, and today is part of history. It proves the appetite for women’s cycling and that the riders can do one of the hardest races in the world.”
“Today I was the third rider (in the team) and I had to be in the front at the first cobbled section to protect my leaders. But then I saw there was a gap so I just kept going.”
Three circuits around Denain later, Trek Segafredo rider Deignan established a little lead over the pack just before the first 17 cobbled sections which was more than 80km remaining.
The riders were struggling to organise a concerted chase, many of which tripped over on the greasy cobbles, former world champion Deignan powered into a commanding lead.
When the finish line was 30kms away the Trek-Segafredo rider held a lead of two minutes 30 seconds over a group of competitors which included Vos (Jumbo Visma), team mate Audrey Cordon-Ragot and Germany’s Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT).
Deignan, handling the bone-shaking “pave” cobblestones with aplomb, did maintain her advantage as various fancied riders which included European champion Ellen van Dijk crashed heavily.
Dignan will be given a winning price of 1535 euros for winning the Paris Roubaix Femmes, which is about 1/20th of what the winner of the men’s race will receive as price.