One Day to Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift

The best classics experts are in Denain to prepare for the 3rd edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift on April 8th. Winning team in 2021 and 2022, Trek-Segafredo is aiming for the treble with the defending champion Elisa Longo Borghini and Lucinda Brand, 3rd last year.

In stellar form this Spring, Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) is a hot favourite to tame the cobbles on an extended route, with 145.4km (20 more than last year) featuring 17 cobble sectors (29.2km)

The coverage of the race, with a live TV broadcast from 3:15PM, will be enhanced with live radio communications between the riders and their sports directors.

Wet or dry? A bit of both

The 3rd edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift will be raced in unprecedented conditions according to Franck Perque, the event director. “The first edition was a quagmire. And the conditions were very rolling during the second. This time, it’s in between. We will alternate dry, even dusty parts, where you can ride very fast, and some wet sections where it will be a must to have done a recon. It will be technical.” The 17 sectors will be the same as last year, adding up to a total of 29.2 kilometres of cobblestones. Mons-en-Pévèle, which is expected to be wet, and the Carrefour de l’Arbre are the two most infamous challenges of the race. On the other hand, the total distance is extended by 20 kilometres (145km). “This will tire the organisms more and may allow breakaways to develop before the first sector, to be reached at km 63”, Perque explains. With very little rain announced this Saturday, “the dry parts will remain dry.”

Trek’s treble? “we probably shouldn’t be winning…”

First it was Lizzie Deignan, winner of the inaugural edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift in 2021. Then came Elisa Longo Borghini, crowned last year in the velodrome… And now? “I guess we are the natural favourites but if you calculate the chances, we probably shouldn’t be winning a third time”, says sports director Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, who led Trek-Segafredo to victory in the first editions. The defending champion is on the same page: “Our chances of winning again after doing it twice are pretty slim”, Longo Borghini believes. But it won’t stop the American squad from racing with ambitions. “I’m sure we’ll do a good race”, the Italian rider said after missing a month of racing due to Covid-19, and recently returning to competition with a podium result in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. “We will go with two leaders, Longo Borghini and Lucinda Brand [3rd last year]”, Teutenberg describes. “The others are here to support and we hope we can finish it off again. Elisa showed her form is actually much better than she expected. Lucinda is really smart and she knows how to ride this terrain.”

Kopecky’s eyes are on Roubaix: “it’s her big goal of the year”

A European champion on the track, a serial winner on the road (Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Danilith Nokere Koerse and most recently Ronde van Vlaanderen), Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) has been on stellar form this year. Her very best is awaited this weekend on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift. “It’s her big goal of the season”, says her team manager Lars Boom, who participated nine times as a rider. “We’re on quite a high with the results, winning all the classics in the last few weeks. And we’re focused on this race because we never won it before and we want to.” The Dutch powerhouse have impressed with their collective strength in recent weeks and they also come to the Hell of the North with a strong support cast, as Boom highlights: “We also have Christine Majerus and Elena Cecchini who may be a little bit below Lotte, but they can play an important role in a race like this where everything can happen. And Lorena Wiebes has been improving a lot this year. I think a race like this can also suit her, now or in the future.” As of now, SD Worx know they’ll be put under pressure by talents such as the experienced Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and the wonderkid Zoe Backstedt (EF Education-Tibco-SVB).

Cordon-Ragot, last minute: “i thought it wouldn’t be possible”

“It’s been a big roller coaster”, Audrey Cordon-Ragot admitted on Friday. But the French national champion will indeed be at the start of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift, for the third time in her career, with a new team, days after she signed a new contract with Human Powered Health until the end of 2023. “First of all, we agreed on a contract for June, but then we asked the UCI if we could adapt the rules because I would end up stuck on my couch without having done anything wrong”, Cordon-Ragot explained. “I thought Roubaix wouldn’t be possible, it was too early. And suddenly the president of the UCI called me and told me: ‘You can be at the start if your team wants it’.” 8th in the first edition, the French woman was more than relieved: “To me, Roubaix is the most beautiful classic, the race that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a kid. I will give everything to finish on the podium one day. And I have so much rage within me, I think it will make me push the pedals even harder tomorrow.”

Team radio: thrills and tactics for everyone

The 3rd edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift will be broadcast across 189 territories. Viewers will be immersed more than ever in the Hell of the North. The live television broadcast, from 3:15 PM, will be enhanced with radio communications between the sports directors and the riders. With the collaboration of France Télévisions, seven teams will participate in this system, “Team Radio”, already tested during the first Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift (FDJ-Suez, Canyon//Sram Racing, AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step, SD Worx, Cofidis, St Michel – Mavic – Auber93 and Human Powered Health). The event can also be followed, in full, on the official website (@RoubaixFemmes) and on the social media of the event, where the fans will also enjoy Team Radio.

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