Finally, there will be a women’s Paris-Roubaix. A race like no other. On Saturday 2 October, we proudly race the first-ever Paris-Roubaix Femmes. Covering 116 kilometres and 17 sectors, the team’s roster will be Alena Amialiusik, Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Elise Chabbey, Tiffany Cromwell and Kasia Niewiadoma.
A race that’s predicted to be so hard, so epic, it’s difficult to fully prepare even with reconnaissance, testing, and homework cycled on repeat.
Alice says, “The team has prepared a lot for Paris-Roubaix. We’ve done recons at different times in the year and again this week. We’ve tested various set-ups including different tyres and tyre pressures and in a range of weather conditions. Even with all of that, it’s definitely going to be high alert and a crazy race from start to finish.”
The pre-race excitement can be likened to a race with the status of world championships.
“There is a mix of excitement and nerves that will be very similar to the worlds. Going into the race, there are still a lot of unknowns remaining, and that will be the same for everyone. It’s short in terms of kilometres, but it will feel epic by the end of it,” adds Alice.
It’s a sentiment echoed by teammate Tiffany Cromwell, who will have her first recon today after several weeks of a heavy racing block.
“I’ll do my first recon today but on paper and talking with some male pros that have ridden it, we skip the fluff that they do for the first 100kms or so and keep all the hardest parts with the exception of the Arenberg forest. It’s not the longest race, but it’s condensed to a lot of the best and hardest parts of the course. It means it’ll be on from start to finish with no time to fluff about.”
“In the words of fellow Australian and 2016 Paris-Roubaix winner, Matt Hayman: No matter what. Just keep riding. Roubaix is all about survival. It’s about limiting crashes and mechanicals and having good positioning all day long. The more riders from our team at the front for as long into the race as possible will be key. But if you don’t have the numbers, then it’s about taking the chance at the right moment. Whether that be a long-range attack, a late attack or in the velodrome sprint.”
Both Elise Chabbey and Kasia Niewiadoma bring peak form into the UCI Women’s World Tour race.
“Physically I’m prepared; my shape is there and I had quite good legs at worlds. Now, I just need to prepare mentally for a super hard race and be ready to suffer and never give up,” explains Elise.
“Paris-Roubaix will be a super hard race from the beginning and war to enter every cobblestone section. Hopefully, it will rain to add even more of a challenge.”
Kasia predicts, “Paris-Roubaix will be won on Saturday from someone who was not afraid to risk and give it all when mattered. It will be crazy and very exciting! Full of surprises and hard racing from the start. Fighting for your position will become something totally normal on every single kilometre of the race.”
FOLLOW PARIS-ROUBAIX FEMMES
The race starts at 13:30CEST on Saturday 2 October. Follow the action on Twitter with #UCIWWT and #ParisRoubaixFemmes. The live broadcast starts at 15:15CEST on RTBF, Teledeporte, SRG-SSR, Caracol, beIN Sports, RTVE, DKTV2, TV2, Eurosport, GCN, ESPN, RTVS, RTL, NBC Sports, VRT, RaiSport, Supersport, SBS Australia, Zhibo TV, JSports, Sky Sport, and Flo Bikes.