Elisa Longo Borghini storms to emphatic win in Paris-Roubaix Femmes

Italian wins via long-range attack as Kopecky and Brand complete podium.

Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

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Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) delivered a masterclass on the cobbles to win the second edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes.

The Italian powered clear of the peloton through sector 8 at Templeuve, and despite a valiant chase from several rivals, Longo Borghini hung on for a historic and well-deserved win. Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) won the sprint for second, with Lucinda Brand rounding out the podium for Trek-Segafredo with third.

“It’s been a very tough spring for me. I had sinusitis for a month, and I couldn’t really perform the way I wanted, and then I knew I was worth more than what I was performing, and it was also a little bit frustrating so it was a little bit of a hard time,” Borghini said. “And then [Trek-Segafredo] brought me to this race and I was like, ‘I don’t think I’m ready. I really don’t want to do it,’ and they kept saying you already you’re more than ready and we know you are capable of doing this so yeah, I have to say that they were right.”

Related: Elisa Longo Borghini rides new and unreleased Trek Domane at Paris-Roubaix Femmes

The Trek-Segafredo leader was forced to fight for every second after her well-timed attack, with her lead at one point standing at just a handful of seconds, but she took a measured approach through the cobbled sectors and then built on her advantage at every opportunity when the surface eased.

Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) missed the attack from Longo Borghini but created several key moves. The Belgian rider was aggressive at almost every turn and set the pace behind the Trek-Segafredo rider for much of the chase, but with 10km to go, and the gap at 30 seconds, there was no way back for the pre-race favorite.

Longo Borghini entered the Roubaix velodrome alone to take victory and make it two wins from two for Trek-Segafredo after Lizzie Deignan won in 2021.

How it happened

The race began under blue skies and perfect sunshine – a complete contrast to last year’s mudfest that saw Deignan attack on the first sector of cobbles and dominate the race from that moment on.

This time around an early break formed with five riders, Leonie Bos (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Katie Clouse (Human Powered Health), Tanja Erath (Canyon-SRAM), Gaia Masetti (AG Insurance-NXTG), and Amalie Lutro (Uno-X Pro Cycling) forging clear in the opening kilometers. The quintet rode strongly and built up a two-minute lead over the peloton after 30km of action but with the first sector of cobbles approaching soon after, the fight for position at the front of the bunch dramatically reduced the break’s lead.

As soon as the bunch hit the first of cobbles at Hornaing to Wandignies, Trek-Segafredo took control. Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo) stormed to the front, discarding her hopes of winning by setting a blistering pace that not only cut the break’s lead in half but also splintered the peloton into several echelons.

Up front, only Erath, Masetti, and Lutro survived the onslaught as van Dijk repeated her efforts through the next two sectors to leave roughly 40 riders still in contention.

Trek’s troubles

Control in a race such as Paris-Roubaix can be hard to gain but easy to lose and in the blink of an eye Trek’s dominance began to crumble with 70km to go.

First, van Dijk suffered a front wheel puncture just as a sector of cobbles began. Without support she was forced to navigate over the cobbles at half-speed, while SD Worx and Movistar began to turn the screw in an attempt to distance her. Soon after, another Trek rider, Chloe Hosking, hit the deck. It looked as though the American team’s hopes were in the balance. The situation became perilous when Elisa Balsamo was booted from the race for taking a sticky bottle.

Erath created a gap between hers and the remnants of the break but she too was caught just before sector 13.

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx) put the hammer down through the Orchies sector, but the pace eased just enough for van Dijk to return to the bunch.

Broek-Blaak’s pace-setting was the prequel for Kopecky’s first assault with 53km to go. Only Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) could initially follow the Belgian champion but when Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo) made it a trio up front it briefly looked as though the winning move had formed.

The leaders held a 17-second advantage through sector 10, but there was still enough firepower back in the bunch, as Movistar, Canyon-SRAM, and Jumbo-Visma set about orchestrating a chase.

The all-important catch was made with 34km to go, just as the front-runners hit sector 8. Longo Borghini carried both speed and momentum into the sector and blasted clear at the perfect moment. Her acceleration appeared to catch several pre-race favorites by surprise and only Emma Norsgaard and Elena Cecchini were able to mount a chase.

However, both riders were called back, a move that proved to be a slight tactical mistake, as the Italian leader extended her gap through sector 7.

Tide turns for Trek

With 30km to go the gap stood at 32 seconds, but there was still more to come from the main field as van den Broek-Blaak put in a series of accelerations to reduce the gap to fewer than 10 seconds. Longo Borghini looked to be within striking distance as a chase that included van den Broek-Blaak, Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), Brand, and Chiara Consonni (Valcar Travel & Service) emerged after Kopecky was briefly gapped.

The presence of just one SD Worx rider in the chase appeared to hold back the momentum of those in the move, but with two huge sectors remaining at Camphin-en-Pévèle and Carrefour de l’Arbre, the race remained on a knife-edge.

Longo Borghini almost overcooked it on a corner, and rode into the grass on the left side of the road but remained upright, and after sailing through those key sectors, even managed to build on her lead before taking an incredible win.

“I need to thank first of all, my family, my boyfriend the supporters, and my mom, my dad and my nieces, because they are all the time keeping my morale really up. And secondly, I want to thank Trek-Segafredo because they still have faith in me even I don’t perform the way I was supposed to.

“Honestly, I wish I could bring all my teammates to the podium today because it was really a very good team performance, and I need to thank everybody, and also this is also a little bit for Elisa that was disqualified. But yeah, sometimes in the race, you just grab a sticky bottle, and yeah, the rule is the rule but they still feel a little bit sorry. And part of this race is also for Elisa Balsamo,” Borghini said.

Paris-Roubaix Femmes Results

1LONGO BORGHINI ElisaTrek - Segafredo3:10:54
2KOPECKY LotteTeam SD Worx0:23
3BRAND LucindaTrek - Segafredo0:23
4CHABBEY EliseCanyon//SRAM Racing0:23
5CAVALLI MartaFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:23
6MACKAIJ FloortjeTeam DSM0:23
7VAN DIJK EllenTrek - Segafredo0:23
8VAN DEN BROEK-BLAAK ChantalTeam SD Worx0:32
9GEORGI PfeifferTeam DSM2:22
10ALONSO SandraCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling2:22
11NORSGAARD EmmaMovistar Team2:22
12BROWN GraceFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope2:22
13JACKSON AlisonLiv Racing Xstra2:54
14BEEKHUIS TeuntjeTeam Jumbo-Visma2:54
16CROMWELL TiffanyCanyon//SRAM Racing2:54
17BERTEAU VictoireCofidis Women Team2:54
18MARKUS FemkeParkhotel Valkenburg2:54
19KASPER RomyTeam Jumbo-Visma2:54
20CASTRIQUE AlanaCofidis Women Team2:56
21DEMEY ValerieLiv Racing Xstra3:00
22LACH MartaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling4:02
23PLUIMERS IlseAG Insurance - NXTG Team4:08
24LABECKI CorynTeam Jumbo-Visma4:35
25CONSONNI ChiaraValcar - Travel & Service4:35
26MAJERUS ChristineTeam SD Worx4:35
27CORDON-RAGOT AudreyTrek - Segafredo4:35
28LE NET MarieFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope4:35
29HONSINGER ClaraEF Education-TIBCO-SVB4:35
30FOUQUENET AmandineArkéa Pro Cycling Team4:35
31MARKUS RiejanneTeam Jumbo-Visma4:39
32NORMAN LETH JulieUno-X Pro Cycling Team5:39
33ERIĆ JelenaMovistar Team5:39
34BARNES AliceCanyon//SRAM Racing5:39
35GROSSETÊTE MaëlleFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope5:39
36MORICHON AnaisArkéa Pro Cycling Team5:41
37MARTINS MariaLe Col - Wahoo7:01
38VAN DER HULST AmberLiv Racing Xstra7:03
39JASTRAB MeganTeam DSM8:53
40GUARISCHI BarbaraMovistar Team8:56
41ROY SarahCanyon//SRAM Racing8:56
42CAMPBELL TenielTeam BikeExchange - Jayco8:57
43ANDERSEN SusanneUno-X Pro Cycling Team8:57
44BIANNIC AudeMovistar Team8:57
45WIEBES LorenaTeam DSM8:57
46BOOGAARD MaaikeUAE Team ADQ8:59
47FOURNIER RoxaneTeam SD Worx9:01
48BOSSUYT ShariCanyon//SRAM Racing9:16
49WILLIAMS LilyHuman Powered Health9:16
50ALZINI MartinaCofidis Women Team9:16
51DRONOVA-BALABOLINA TamaraRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad9:16
52ROSEMAN-GANNON RubyTeam BikeExchange - Jayco9:16
53RIJNBEEK MaudAG Insurance - NXTG Team9:16
54SMITH AbiEF Education-TIBCO-SVB9:16
55KUMIEGA KarolinaValcar - Travel & Service9:16
56AHTOSALO AnniinaUno-X Pro Cycling Team9:16
57VAN 'T GELOOF MarjoleinLe Col - Wahoo9:19
58BREDEWOLD MischaParkhotel Valkenburg9:19
59VERHULST GladysLe Col - Wahoo9:19
60KERBAOL CédrineCofidis Women Team9:19
61BOILARD SimoneSt Michel - Auber93 WE9:19
62CANT SannePlantur-Pura9:19
63BORGLI StineFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope9:19
64UIJEN EliseTeam DSM9:19
65POMPANON MargotSt Michel - Auber93 WE9:19
66BUJAK EugeniaUAE Team ADQ9:19
67CLAUZEL PerrineSt Michel - Auber93 WE9:19
68MASETTI GaiaAG Insurance - NXTG Team9:19
69JOUNIER LucieArkéa Pro Cycling Team9:19
70FONSECA BarbaraSt Michel - Auber93 WE9:19
71VIGIE MargauxValcar - Travel & Service9:19
72DUVAL EugénieFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope9:19
73VAN ALPHEN AniekPlantur-Pura9:19
74VALLIERES MagdeleineEF Education-TIBCO-SVB9:19
75KRÖGER MiekeHuman Powered Health9:26
76HOSKING ChloeTrek - Segafredo9:28
77KLEIN LisaCanyon//SRAM Racing9:28
78BRAUßE FranziskaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling9:28
79TOMASI LauraUAE Team ADQ9:28
80BAKKER ManonPlantur-Pura9:28
81OYARBIDE LourdesMovistar Team9:34
82KUIJPERS EvyHuman Powered Health9:42
83BARNES HannahUno-X Pro Cycling Team11:57
84CONFALONIERI Maria GiuliaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling12:20
85KOOL CharlotteTeam DSM12:20
86LUTRO AmalieUno-X Pro Cycling Team13:14
87ERATH TanjaEF Education-TIBCO-SVB14:09
88RAGUSA KatiaLiv Racing Xstra14:09
89AVOINE AlisonSt Michel - Auber93 WE14:11
90CHRISTIE HenriettaHuman Powered Health14:42
91TACEY AprilLe Col - Wahoo14:42
92GRANGIER IndiaStade Rochelais Charente-Maritime14:42
93JANSE VAN RENSBURG FrancesStade Rochelais Charente-Maritime14:42
94GAFINOVITZ RotemRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad14:42
95OTTESTAD Mie BjørndalUno-X Pro Cycling Team14:42
96ABGRALL NoémieStade Rochelais Charente-Maritime14:46
97NORBERT-RIBEROLLE MarionPlantur-Pura14:46
98UNEKEN LonnekeTeam SD Worx14:48

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

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