Longo Borghini and Trek-Segafredo rule the cobbles
April 16 th 2022 - 16:01
After Lizzie Deignan’s inaugural one-woman-show, Trek-Segafredo imposed their collective strength in the 2nd edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift until Elisa Longo Borghini went solo to claim victory in the André Pétrieux velodrome.
Ellen van Dijk and Lucinda Brand lit the first matches on the cobbles for the American squad before the Italian Champion launched her decisive move with 34km to go, to claim another major success in the classics, after the Ronde van Vlaanderen, Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Strade Bianche, GP de Plouay… Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) dominated the sprint for 2nd, ahead of Lucinda Brand, and Ellen van Dijk joined her Trek-Segafredo partners in the top 10 (7th).
The 139-woman peloton roll from Denain with beautiful weather conditions but without Meava Squiban (Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime) and the Dutch icon Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), who returned a positive test to Covid-19 hours before the start.
Attacks and tension ahead of the cobbles
The opening circuit in Denain, with 4 laps to cover, sees early attackers launch an intense battle for the breakaway. Gaia Masetti (AG Insurance-NXTG Team), Leonie Bos (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Amalie Lutro (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team) and Katie Clouse (Human Powered Health) are the first riders to manage to get away. Tanja Erath (EF Education-Tibco-SVB) makes it a 5-woman group at the front at km 6.
More riders try to join them but the peloton control the counter-attacks. The attackers exit Denain with a lead of 1’40’’. The gap increases to a maximum of 1’55’’ at km 32. But Trek-Segafredo up the pace as they get closer to the cobbles.
The gap is done to 1’10’’ as the peloton hit the sector from Hornaing to Wandignies (4*). At the front, Bos and Klouse are dropped by their breakaway companions. The bunch explodes with Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) setting a strong pace on the cobbles.
The race of attrition is on, and Trek-Segafredo are willing to make the selection, but they quickly lose two cards on the third sector of the day. Van Dijk suffers a puncture. Then Chloe Hosking crashes on the side of the cobbles. Meanwhile, Erath goes solo at the front, with a gap of 20’’ to the bunch with 69km to go.
The German attacker is eventually reeled in with 61km to go, just ahead of the Orchies sector, where Chantal van den Broek-Blaak ups the pace for Team SD Worx, whose leader Lotte Kopecky won the Ronde van Vlaanderen a couple of weeks ago.
Kopecky goes from far
Van Dijk returns to the bunch just ahead of sector 12, from Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée (4*). But Kopecky immediately attacks. Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) is the first to react, and Lucinda Brand joins them at the front, while her Trek-Segafredo partner Elisa Balsamo suffers a mechanical. She is then disqualified as the jury of commissaires rules the World Champion had an irregular return after her mechanical.
The three leaders increase their lead to 20’’ on the first 5* sector of the day, Mons-en-Pévèle, with 46km to go. Emma Norsgaard’s Movistar lead the chase, and the attackers are reeled with 33km to go, on the cobbles of Templeuve (sector 8).
Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) immediately launches a counter-attack. She enters the last 30km with a lead of 30’’. She survives a near miss on the cobbles of Camphin-en-Pévèle and enters Carrefour de l’Arbre (17km to go) with a gap of 25’’.
Another 1-3 for Trek-Segafredo
Kopecky puts the hammer down in pursuit. Only Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) and two riders from Trek-Segafredo, Brand and Van Dijk. The Belgian champion doesn’t manage to get closer than 20’’ behind Longo Borghini, who keeps setting a strong pace at the front.
The gap is back up to 40’’ when the chasers are joined by Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx), Floorte Mackaij (Team DSM) and Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram Racing) with 12km to go. This support is not enough to get back to Elisa Longo Borghini.
The Italian champion savours her triumph in the velodrome, eventually claiming victory 23’’ ahead of Kopecky. Brand finishes 3rd, repeating Trek-Segafredo’s 1-3 from 2021.