Deignan writes history with a one-woman-show
October 2 nd 2021 - 16:59
Elizabeth Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) delivered a supreme performance on a historic day, soloing to a maiden triumph in the André Pétrieux velodrome in the first edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes. The British star went for the very early move and covered the 29.2km of cobbles of the day on her own, alone at the front! Already a winner of Monuments like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, world champion in 2015, also a winner of major one-day-races like La Course by Le Tour, the Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Strade Bianche Donne, Deignan survived all the traps of a muddy Hell of the North to take victory ahead of the Dutch icon Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and her Italian teammate Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo).
A star-studded field with 129 participants take to the course in the early afternoon, with the recent world champions Elisa Balsamo (Valcar-Travel & Service) and many other contenders for the first ever edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes. It’s not raining at the moment, but a strong wind blows from the South. It will push the riders on the first three sectors before the race turns west around km 50.
Reusser and Niewiadoma go down, Deignan goes early
After a few breakaway attempts on the local circuit in Denain, the early attackers are caught ahead of the first cobbles of the day. An early crash leads to the withdrawal of Marlen Reusser (Ale’ BTC Ljubljana) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram Racing), two of the heroes of the recent world championships in Flanders.
As the field reaches the first cobbles, from Hornaing to Wandignies (km 33.9), Elizabeth Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) goes for the very early move, and nobody follows her. The Brit star, a world champion in 2015 and a winner of most of the greatest races in the women’s calendar, said she came to the Hell of the North “as a fan”, and she makes the most of this maiden participation at the front of the race, opening a gap of 2 minutes on the first sectors of the day.
The race explodes in Mons-en-Pévèle
Movistar, SD Worx and Jumbo-Visma are among the teams most involved in the chase. Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) attacks on the cobbles leading to Bersée (55km to go), and the bunch explodes in Mons-en-Pévèle, the first 5-star sector of the day.
With the wet and muddy conditions, Elisa Balsamo is among the riders who go down. 13 riders remain in contention behind Deignan, with Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team) and Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) taking long turns at the front.
Deignan resists Vos
The gap is down to 2’15’’ when Deignan hits one of the most demanding sequences of the day: Camphin-en-Pévèle (4 stars) and then Carrefour de l'Arbre (5 stars). The British champ survives a near-miss on the cobbles. Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo), Christine Majerus (SD Worx), Aude Biannic (Movistar) and Sarah Roy (Team BikeExchange) are not so lucky, going down as they try to follow an acceleration by Marianne Vos.
The Dutch icon had a gap of 1’55’’ to bridge in 17km. As she exited the Carrefour de l’Arbre, with 15km to go, she had already cut Deignan’’s lead to 1’15’’. But the Brit had enough energy left in the tank to ride to Roubaix on her own and triumph with a gap of 1’17’’ on Vos. Elisa Longo Borghini put another Trek-Segafredo rider on the podium (1’47’’) as she narrowly fended off Lisa Brennauer (+1’51’’).