Just a few hours prior to the start of the second Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift, Jumbo-Visma announced that their team leader Marianne Vos tested positive for COVID-19 in her daily routine self-test. Vos finished second in the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes behind Trek-Segafredo’s Lizzie Deignan and one of her main goals for the new season was to finish one better. Before testing positive Vos was the odds-on favourite to take the win in the second edition of the Monument.
“The disappointment is enormous,” Vos said. “I had been looking forward to this race. When I tested positive this morning, the world came crashing down. But I support the team’s policy. I should not take any risks with my health. I’m going home, I’m taking a rest and I hope I keep feeling well.”
In order to be fully prepared for Saturday, Vos even sat out the Amstel Gold Race a week before Paris-Roubaix, a race she won in 2021. Her absence from Saturday’s race puts Jumbo-Visma in an interesting spot, but the rest of the team will be able to start. Luckily, their new signing Coryn Labecki showed promising form at the mid-week Brabantse Pijl and expressed interest in starting Paris-Roubaix Femmes with an open mind.
“Marianne was second last year and we want to do better than that, which leaves us with just the win,” Labecki said in the week leading up to the race. “We are in a position that it’s realistic. We have a good team to race for the win.”
The plan for the Dutch team at Paris-Roubaix Femmes was an open one, even before Vos became a non-starter, but as the current cyclocross world champion all eyes were on Vos.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s me, Marianne or Romy going into the velodrome for the win, as long as we are in a good situation to do that, we can,” Labecki said. “That’s our main goal. It’s somewhat of an open plan.”
As it’s only the second edition of the Cobbled Classic there are still a lot of unknowns ahead of the race start. Without Vos, attention will turn even more to SD Worx, who have quite a few potential winners on their roster. There is no denying that the loss of Vos from the race is a significant one.