Five things we learned from Paris-Roubaix Femmes 2022

It was a hot day in northern France for the 141 women riding the pavé

Paris-Roubaix Femmes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Trek-Segafredo really know how to race Paris-Roubaix

Paris-Roubaix Femmes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Two editions of Paris-Roubaix Femmes, two wins for Trek-Segafredo. Four out of the six available podium positions have been filled by the team as well. It is a remarkable statistic, and one that proves how good they are at this race.

Two different winners, as well, winning in different circumstances. Both Lizzie Deignan and Elisa Longo Borghini might have both won solo in the Roubaix velodrome, but the tactics behind each victory was different.

What it points to, however, is that the team has the knowledge and the riders to power to victory at this race. They were aggressive from the start, with Ellen van Dijk leading the peloton over the first cobbled sector, and reaped the rewards, with Lucinda Brand in third and Van Dijk in seventh behind Longo Borghini.

In her post-race interview, the Italian paid tribute to the team's Trek Domane, saying that was the "perfect bike for Roubaix". If the team can keep riding such a good bike, with such good tactics, more victories at The Hell of the North might come.

Lotte Kopecky is incredibly strong this spring

Paris-Roubaix Femmes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Unlike a fortnight ago in Oudenaarde after the Tour of Flanders, Lotte Kopecky was not ecstatically happy after Paris-Roubaix. The SD-Worx rider comfortably sprinted to second place in the velodrome, but it was not the result that the Belgian champion wished for.

She said: "We controlled the race. In a split second the situation changed. The legs were good, so I’m disappointed."

The legs certainly did look good, with Kopecky powering what looked like it could be the winning move before being brought back, and then could not bridge to Longo Borghini in front, however hard she tried.

The Belgian is in form this spring: she hasn't finished outside the top ten in any race since the spring, with victories at Flanders and at Strade Bianche. She is clearly at home at SD Worx, and looks like she will continue to be up there in big races. Although, hopefully for her, first rather than second.

Even world champions can get disqualified

Paris-Roubaix Femmes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Elisa Balsamo did not have the most fun on the cobbles on Saturday. The Italian Trek-Segafredo rider punctured on Mons-en-Pévèle with 48km to go, and then in the chase to get back to the bunch, was judged to have held onto a sticky bottle for rather too long for the race jury's liking, and was therefore disqualified.

The rainbow bands do not protect the Italian from being disqualified, and the result marred an otherwise perfect day for her team. 

Balsamo had come to Paris-Roubaix among the favourites for victory after a remarkable sequence of wins this spring at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, Brugge-De Panne and Gent-Wevelgem.

However, the day ended with her losing her lead in the Women's WorldTour standings to Kopecky, and a sour taste for Trek as they celebrated.

Riding in the dust is completely different from the mud

Paris-Roubaix Femmes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

This one might sound obvious, but for the women's peloton the second Paris-Roubaix was vastly different to the first due to the weather conditions.

While half the bunch had the experience of the first time they rode the pavé to help, none of them had ridden the race in the dry, with the dust. As Pfeiffer Georgi said after the finish, it might as well have been a "new race".

The dust was really noticeable on all the sectors, and it was clear on the riders' faces at the finish in Roubaix. Now they have conquered the cobbles in both the dry and the wet, the peloton will have a better chance of using their pavé knowledge next year.

Elisa Longo Borghini is one of the best riders of her generation

Paris-Roubaix Femmes

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Longo Borghini can be overlooked in terms of the best riders in women's cycling, especially in the last few years, with the dominance of Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen among others.

The Italian is on a team with other luminaries, like Elisa Balsamo, Lizzie Deignan and Ellen van Dijk, so perhaps it is understandable that she has not always been talked about as one of the best

However, her palmarés speaks for itself, and her victory at Roubaix on Saturday concreted her status as one of the riders of her generation. At just 30, too, she has time to give, and win, a lot more.

Once Longo Borghini established a gap in the race, there was no bringing her back, even with the combined might of Kopecky and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, and this is testament to the Italian's strength. Expect to see a lot more from her this year, now she is back to full power.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1