Britain’s Lizzie Dignon scored a historic win at the opening of the Paris Roubaix Femmes as rain, mud and crashes produced a memorable start for the world’s best female riders on the infamous cobbled course on Saturday.
The former world champion produced a dominant ride over the course of 115.6 km (about 72 mi) and stopped a powerful late surge by Dutch great Marianne Vos to win by one minute and 17 seconds.
“I am incredibly proud,” said Dignon, who links maiden Paris Roubaix to his other notable victories, including last year’s Lige-Bastogne-Liege.
“Women’s cycling is at this juncture, and is part of history today. It proves the appetite for women’s cycling and that riders can do one of the toughest races in the world.”
“Today I was the third rider (in the team) and I had to be in the front of the first cobbler section to protect my leaders. But then I noticed there was a gap so I just kept going.”
After three circuits around Denan, Trek Segafredo rider Dignon established a short lead on the pack with over 49 miles remaining in the first of 17 cobbled sections.
With riders struggling to put up a solid chase, many of them slammed on sleek cobbles, former world champion Dignon powered into a commanding lead.
The Trek-Segafredo rider took a two-minute 30-second lead over a group including Vos (Jumbo Visma), teammate Audrey Corden-Ragot and Germany’s Lisa Brennauer (Seratzit-WNT), with 18 miles remaining.
Dignon, handling the bone-shaking “pave” cobblestone with aplomb, maintained his advantage as several imaginary riders, including European champion Alain van Dijk, crashed heavily.
Vos eventually put down the hammer to try to capture Dignon, slicing into the lead as he powered through the Carrefour de l’Arbor cobbled section.
Vos closed the gap of 1:18 as Dignon began the final 6 miles, but Dignon proved unshakable from the front as the famous Roubaix velodrome neared the finish.
Dignon was so far ahead that the finish inside the Roubaix Velodrome was like a lap of honor as the Yorkshire rider inscribed his name in the cycling history books.
Vos was more than a minute behind, with Dignon’s teammate Alyssa Longo Borghini finishing third.
Organizer ASO, which also owns the Tour de France, added a women’s version of the 125-year-old Paris Roubaix last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic meant she had to wait another year to ride the so-called Hell of the North fell. .
While Sunday’s men’s long-distance race has a total prize prize of 91,000 euros (about $105,500), the women’s race has only 7,505 euros (about $8,700), with Dignon receiving 1,535 euros (about $1,779).
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times