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This year, for the first time in history, the women’s peloton will take on the iconic cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix. In the morning, before the men take to the roads, the women will complete 29.2-kilometers of cobbles broken into 17 sections over a 116-kilometer course.
Starting in the town of Denain, the peloton will have 20-kilometers to set themselves up before they merge with the men’s course in Hornaing, and take on the first sector of cobbles. At 3.7-kilometers, the first cobble sector from Hornaing to Wandignies is the longest of the race.
After that, each sector ranges from 3km to.7km in length. The two most challenging cobble sectors, the Mons-en-Pévèle and the Carrefour de l’Arbre are 47.5-kilometers and 16-kilometers from the finish. Unfortunately for the women, they will miss out of the Arenberg forest, as their course meets the men’s 13-kilometers after the Trouée d’Arenberg cobble sector.
It’s hard to beat the news that there will finally, after years and years of hoping, be a women’s Paris-Roubaix, but beat it we shall. The race will be broadcast live. (*Insert jumping up and down here*)
Some partners of the men’s race have stepped up and agreed to also support the women, notably FDJ, who sponsors one of the top women’s teams and are also a crucial asset to La Course by The Tour de France. Another partner of the race will be the Hauts-de-France region, where the race finishes in the Roubaix velodrome.
All eight of the Women’s World Tour teams will be in attendance, as well as 15 invitees. Unsurprisingly, Boels-Dolmans, who is not a World Tour team, have made the cut, along with Lotto Soudal Ladies, Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling, Astana Women’s Team, Equipe Paule Ka, and others. One of the invited teams is Parkhotel Valkenburg, the team of Demi Vollering, who had an amazing performance and La Course in August, yet was not invited to participate in the Giro Rosa. The full list of teams can be found below.
The excitement over the inclusion of the women in this iconic race is palpable. Some of the women seem to have been waiting for their entire careers for this moment, especially the Dutch, while some formerly retired riders are contemplating a rapid return to fitness. It definitely makes up for some of the uncertainty of the early season to see this on the calendar, and if one thing is for sure, the women will give us a show for the ages.
Teams for the first Women’s Paris-Roubaix
ALE’ BTC LJUBLJANA (ITA)
CANYON / /SRAM RACING (GER)
CCC – LIV (POL)
FDJ NOUVELLE – AQUITAINE FUTUROSCOPE (FRA)
MITCHELTON SCOTT (AUS)
MOVISTAR TEAM WOMEN (ESP)
TEAM SUNWEB (GER)
TREK – SEGAFREDO (USA)
AROMITALIA – BASSO BIKES – VAIANO (ITA)
ASTANA WOMEN’S TEAM (KAZ)
BOELS DOLMANS CYCLINGTEAM (NED)
CERATIZIT – WNT PRO CYCLING TEAM (GER)
CHARENTE – MARITIME WOMEN CYCLING (FRA)
COGEAS METTLER LOOK PRO CYCLING TEAM (RUS)
HITEC PRODUCTS – BIRK SPORT (NOR)
LOTTO SOUDAL LADIES (BEL)
PARKHOTEL VALKENBURG (NED)
PAULE KA (SUI)
RALLY CYCLING (USA)
TEAM ARKEA (FRA)
TEAM TIBCO – SILICON VALLEY BANK (USA)
VALCAR-TRAVEL & SERVICE (ITA)