No-one can tame the cobblestones of Paris–Roubaix and this year’s third edition of the the Paris Roubaix Femmes Avec Zwift will undoubtedly serve up another hearty ration of drama. The 2023 race distance has been lengthened to 145.4 km from the previous 124.7 km in 2022. The alterations made to the course come before the first cobblestones, but the implications are likely to be felt at a later point in the race. Two distinct loops on windswept roads near the beginning of the course will add almost twenty kilometres to the total distance.
Following the extended roll-out from Denain, the women will merge onto the men’s course upon reaching the cobbled sector in Hornaing. From there, the women will tackle an identical succession of seventeen gruelling cobbled sectors totalling 29.2 km. The multiple changes of direction in the preliminary phase could trigger a brawl among the favourites. The no-holds-barred contest will continue for another 82.4 kilometres before the finish in Roubaix Velodrome. Another two decisive moments will come in Mons-en-Pévèle (km 96.9) and the Carrefour de l’Arbre (km 128.3), where every time without fail – Lizzie Deignan in 2021 and Elisa Longo-Borghini in 2022 – the future winner has been alone at the front. Can anyone buck the trend? The drama will unfold on Saturday April 8th. The road to glory will not be a smooth one, but it will be worth the pain for the rider who overcomes the cobblestones to ride their way into the history books.
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