After the first, very muddy and slippery edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes, the AG Insurance-NXTG team returned to the north of France for a dry, dusty and fast Hell of the North.
Ilse Pluimers, Maud Rijnbeek and Mylène de Zoete already had some previous experience while Eline van Rooijen, Senne Knaven and Gaia Masetti made their debut.
Gaia did that brilliantly by being in the breakaway. She saw the first cobbled sector from a front row position.
“A few months ago, I was afraid of the cobbles but every time I did them this Spring with AG Insurance-NXTG I felt better and better. Today was THE race of the cobbles and they are just insane.
I am so happy I was in the breakaway and was at the front for a while because the people on the side of the road were amazing. My legs were really good today and I felt really strong. Sadly, I had a puncture on the second sector that put me out of the game.
I just kept on pushing and fighting after that and made it to the velodrome. I am so happy with how my first Paris-Roubaix went. It was by far the best race I did so far.”
Gaia finished in 68th place in the same group as Maud Rijnbeek. Ilse Pluimers had a stellar day out on the cobbles and finished in 23rd place.
“This was just amazing,” said 19-year-old Ilse Pluimers. “My legs were great today and I managed to follow the first group on the cobbles well. Sadly, I crashed in the final because they fell in front of me. I then rode from group to group and finished in 23rd place.
Compared to last year it was a much better race for me. The positioning went great and Jolien and Christian helped me really well from the car. Last year I was unlucky with a mechanical on the first sector so that was game over before it began.
This year I just followed the pace of the peloton so much easier. I really felt strong today and that last lap on the velodrome with all these people cheering you on is just the max every time.”
Mylène de Zoete and Senne Knaven both crashed but finished the race. Due to the tight time limit they finished outside the time limit as did Eline van Rooijen but they all got to experience what it’s like to enter that magical place in cycling in Roubaix.