Jackson hands over the crown at Paris-Roubaix

After thriving in the chaos of Paris-Roubaix in 2023, Alison Jackson is waylaid by it in 2024.

Dane Cash
by Dane Cash 06.04.2024 Photography by
Cor Vos
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After taking full advantage of the cobbled chaos of Paris-Roubaix to win from the early break in 2023, Alison Jackson (EF Education-Cannondale) was waylaid by it in 2024.

“I always said if I had a clean run with no crashes, I could win,” Jackson said at Paris-Roubaix on Saturday. “That’s what happened last year. This year, I came down twice and off into the gravel once. It took a long time with the bike change and to come back in that early circuit, which took a lot out of my teammates.”

The setbacks were frustrating, but perhaps unsurprising; it’s Paris-Roubaix after all. Jackson had been wary from the start. As she told Escape Collective then, “There’s a lot that you can’t control. So you come in with the best shape possible and then, yeah, adapt to the situation as it comes.”

Alison Jackson rides in a group of riders on the cobbles at Paris-Roubaix.
After fighting back from early crashes to re-join the leaders, Jackson was often stuck in traffic in the large group until it split, leaving her in the chase.

Adapting the situation was no small feat on Saturday after Jackson’s crashes and with winds buffeting the peloton in the early goings. Even despite the early crash, she was in the mix at the midway point, fighting back to the lead group and putting in an immediate surge with a little less than 70 km to go. But the move was instantly covered, and she would miss the key splits that occurred in the ensuing cobbled sectors. Along with the rest of those chasing, she was left to ride into Roubaix several minutes behind the leaders.

“I was alone in the front for a while, I still tried to put some action in and then yeah, that’s the race,” she said. “But you know, that’s why we love and hate Paris-Roubaix.”

Unlike in 2023, Jackson entered the velodrome solo this time around. She ultimately finished 27th, almost three minutes down and well out of contention in what she had hoped would be a title defense. She was not, however, out of enthusiasm.

Alison Jackson laughs with Lotte Kopecky at the start of the 2024 Paris-Roubaix Femmes.

On the day that she relinquished the title of defending Paris-Roubaix champion to Lotte Kopecky, she was still all smiles after entering the velodrome.

“You can see all the fans out here, people wearing EF caps, people cheering for me,” she said. “If I could pass over the Roubaix crown to a worthy winner, Lotte Kopecky would be it.”

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