Lizzie Deignan ready for women to deliver Paris-Roubaix spectacle, sets future sights on Milan San-Remo return

'It's been hyped up for so long now that we really need to deliver a good race,' says the Brit

Lizzie Deignan
(Image credit: Getty)

"Nobody can say that they've not had time to get prepared for this race," says Lizzie Deignan of the first-ever women's edition of Paris-Roubaix. Having initially been announced in May 2020 to take place on October 25, it was then cancelled by Covid, then moved again from its spring 2021 slot. And now, it's finally here.

"It's been talked about more and more, it's been hyped up for so long now that we really need to deliver a good race," Deignan continues. "I think it will be a spectacle. I mean, everyone wants to watch Roubaix. Everyone wants to sit down on their sofa and watch it. I'm just so grateful that I get to be a part of, I suppose. I'm just excited about it as almost like a fan doing a race. It's a bit weird, really."

On Saturday October 2, cycling history will be made when the women's peloton finally take on the Hell of the North, with Deignan saying that 125 years after the inaugural edition of the men's race, the women will now also be a part of cycling's story.

"It's huge, it means that from now on women's cycling will be a part of cycling history," the Brit said. "It has to start somewhere - and I think in the last few years we've seen a huge amount of progression - but now we've got this iconic, tough race, which is not normally associated stereotypically with women's cycling, wrongly, obviously. 

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"But this is kind of the final step to prove that that's nonsense, it's irrelevant, and it's just about bike racing."

Deignan says that for her this one is bigger than the other Classics, the one she sits down to watch on television more than others.

"We've had Amstel, Liège and things like that added to the calendar but in terms of personal memories of sitting down to watch a bike race I've sat down and watched more Roubaixs than I have Lièges or Amstels," she said.

"I'm genuinely excited about this one," she continued of whether there were any nerves. "I think it's such a fight to get into those cobble sections so obviously it's a little bit more dangerous than some other races. But you know there's no huge climb that I'm scared about getting dropped on or whatever. It's just going to be like such a fun race to be a part of."

And what about other races, what other 'Big Ones' would she like to see the women's peloton take on next?

"Milan San Remo," comes the almost instant answer. "We did have one years ago, actually my team-mate Trixi Worrack won the last one. So they've done it before, so why not again?"

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.