Cycling Gallery: A truly remarkable Paris-Roubaix Femmes
The best Paris-Roubaix Femmes yet, as captured by our favourite photographers.
Image: Kristof Ramon
Bike racing doesn’t get much better than Saturday’s third edition of
Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift.
It was a truly chaotic day on the cobbled farm roads of northern France. Groups splintered and reformed with dizzying regularity, crashes played a part, and amidst it all, we saw a nail-biting chase as the favourites stalked a big early breakaway.
After two editions won by solo moves, the 2023 Paris-Roubaix Femmes would go to the breakaway – just – with Canada’s Alison Jackson sprinting to victory on the Roubaix velodrome. After being more than five minutes behind with 65 km to go, the favourites came in just 12 seconds behind, after their chase stalled late.
As if watching the race live wasn’t exciting enough, we now have the pleasure of reliving the action through the wonderful photos of Kristof Ramon and Ashley and Jered Gruber. So grab yourself a coffee and sit back and enjoy a remarkable 2023 Paris-Roubaix Femmes in photos.
Alison Jackson spoke before the race about needing to “ride like cowboys” and get ahead of the favourites. She did exactly that. On the menu: 17 cobblestone sectors. Lotte Kopecky had plenty of fans by the roadside. The riders set off from Denain for 145.5 km – the longest Paris-Roubaix Femmes by more than 20 km. In a rarity for women’s racing, a big early breakaway (18 riders) got up the road and built a very healthy advantage (5:30). It takes a lot of vehicles to support the riders in a WorldTour bike race. It didn’t rain on the day but there were plenty of puddles and slick cobbles for the riders to navigate. First-year pro Daniek Hengeveld put in an impressive ride, attacking from the breakaway and leading the race solo for 40 km. She’s just 20 years old. With the race seemingly riding away from the big names, pre-race favourite Lotte Kopecky went on the attack with 51 km to go, ultimately forming an elite chase group. Check out this sequence from Kristof Ramon, showing Shari Bossuyt crashing on some cobbles and the reaction that followed. (1/5) (2/5) (3/5) That’s Elynor Bäckstedt flying through the air after hitting Bossuyt. (4/5) (5/5) Marta Lach (front) was active late in the breakway, helping to keep the group clear. Elise Chabbey was in several strong moves throughout the day and ended up 16th. It was a frustrating day for the GOAT, Marianne Vos (front), who had a mechanical with 74 km remaining and faced a long chase back. She’d eventually make it into the main chase group of favourites, which looked set to catch the leaders, but they never quite got there and Vos finished 10th. This shot was taken with around 37 km to go, just moments before Elisa Longo Borghini (front) slipped on some slick cobbles and brought down virtually everyone in this elite chase group. Romy Kasper (second wheel) was the only rider who got through unscathed, and she ended up continuing on alone for quite a while. Lach again on the front, this time in the seven-rider group that remained of the early break. Longo Borghini showing the signs of her earlier spill. After being caught out in the Longo Borghini crash, Kopecky battled her way back into the main chase group of favourites. Jackson (front, right) put in several moves from the break when it looked like the chasers would reach them. None of those moves really stuck and it seemed like she’d spent a lot of energy she could have used in the sprint. And yet when it came to the sprint in the famous Roubaix velodrome, Jackson proved strongest of all. Femke Markus crashed on the velodrome … … just as the sprint was winding up. Jackson overhauled Frenchwoman Marion Borras … … to take what is easily the biggest win of her career. Grace Brown (left) and Marie Le Net after a gruelling day on the cobbles. A Roubaix win remains elusive for Vos. It’s one of the very few big races on the calendar she hasn’t won. In her first race with Human Powered Health, French champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot ended up in 35th place, 1:45 down. European champ Lorena Wiebes was limping at the finishing after injuring her knee in a crash. Lotte Kopecky fronts the media after taking seventh – the first rider not from the early breakaway. Her body language tells the story. No one could have predicted this podium: Alison Jackson in first, Katia Ragusa (left) in second, and Marthe Truyen in third. Jackson enjoyed every bit of the podium celebration. And why not. Official duties done, and into the legendary Roubaix showers. What did you think of this story?
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