Paris-Roubaix was another thrilling race for AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step and for women’s cycling in general. After two solo wins in 2021 and 2022, the breakaway made it all the way to the finish line. Julia Borgström was part of the day’s breakaway and really gave everything in that group and later to support Romy Kasper who was the team’s top finisher in 17th place.
“We had a plan to get a head-start on the cobbles,” Julia explained. “We thought the breakaway would happen a bit later, but when I saw them jumping across I knew that was the break, especially because almost all teams had someone there. The cooperation was really good from the start so we had a nice lead of five minutes pretty soon. It was really comfortable to go into the cobbles like that. Halfway into the race people started to gamble and I wasn’t prepared for the attacks. After that it was about surviving as long as I could.”
Julia finished 22nd on her first Paris-Roubaix and looks back at the experience with great pride. She even managed to enjoy the Hell of the North.
“When they attacked for the win, I just didn’t have anything left,” Julia continued. “I am proud and happy that I managed to enjoy the race. It is a certain headspace you have to get in to race this race with a good attitude. I was happy to be in that front group and race the cobbles the way I like it. I could chose my lines and not make mistakes like you can do in a bigger peloton. That’s how I was comfortable on the cobbles and I could really enjoy the atmosphere. Now I understand when people say it’s an epic race because it really is quite epic.”
With Julia in the breakaway, there was a lot of action behind as well. When Lotte Lopecky attacked at 50 kilometres from the line, Romy Kasper was quite attentive. She joined the chasing group and really showed confidence. She eventually finished in 17th place.
“It was a relaxed ride up until the cobbles because we had Julia in the break as a team,” Romy explained. “That made that we could stay calm. She was also of great value later. Though she was completely empty after she was dropped from the breakaway, she would still help me position for attacks. Also, the mental side of seeing a teammate cannot be underestimated.”
Romy is happy as she looks back upon her third Paris-Roubaix, although she knows that with her current form, catching the breakaway would have given her a good chance of a top ten.
“I would have loved to swap those 17th, 18th and 19th places for a top 10 but three times top 20 in a row is also great. It means that I have to come back next year again!”
There was one great moment in the race where Romy really showed her skills and the team’s colours.
“There was a really slippery part and the entire chasing group went down, apart from me. I knew from previous years and a huge crash on Mons-en-Pévèle that you always have to avoid hitting the brakes. Stay calm and go wide if you can. It worked out pretty well and I surprised myself too,” she said with a huge smile.
Marthe Goossens and Lone Meertens also finished their first Paris-Roubaix. Marthe finished in 42nd place at four minutes and Lone made it to the famous Velodrome in 86th place. Both already vowed to come back next year. It’s that unavoidable Paris-Roubaix magic!