Every US rider to race Paris-Roubaix: New faces and a new race, Part 3

Where are they now? We look at every US pro to race Paris-Roubaix an Paris-Roubaix Femmes in a three-part series.

Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images

After more than 100 years of the men’s edition of Paris-Roubaix, the women’s peloton opened a new chapter with the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes in 2021.

For the first time, the women’s riders could compete on the harsh and sharp cobblestones across northern France. And the results were dazzling.

The list of American riders competing in the “Hell of the North” now includes women.

In part 1, VeloNews looked at the pavé pioneers of the first generation of riders who entered the European peloton in the 1980s and early 1990s. Part 2 examined the rise of the first real challengers for victory and a second wave of Americans via several U.S.-backed teams.

Part 3 we look at the fresh faces of an inspiring new generation still on the quest to become the first U.S. winner of the hardest race to finish and to win.

Riders are listed chronologically from their first appearance:

Every US rider to race Paris-Roubaix: The dreamers

Phinney racing in his final Roubaix in 2019. (Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Ben King — 1 start (2011, 76th): A former U.S. national champion and a winner of two stages at the Vuelta a España, King retired after a long career in 2022, and is dedicating more time to nature photography.

Ted King — 4 starts (2011, 2012, 2014—DNF, 2013, 113th): The all-rounder started four editions of Roubaix, and made it to the velodrome in 2013. After retiring from road racing in 2015, King was one of the pioneers of the gravel scene. He also founded Untapped, a nutritional company based on maple syrup, and organizes cycling events.

Taylor Phinney — 6 starts (2012, 15th; 2013, 23rd; 2014, 30th; 2016, 49th; 2018, 8th; 2019 DNF): Expectations were sky high after Phinney won Paris-Roubaix espoirs in 2010, and it appeared that American cycling had its first legitimate Roubaix candidate since Hincapie.

His early attempts at Roubaix revealed his promise, but a heavy crash during the summer of 2014 at the U.S. national championships marked his career. After a long comeback, Phinney hit out for a career-best ninth in 2018. Since retiring in 2019, Phinney dedicates his time to painting and working on his DJ skills.

Phinney, shown here in 2013, saw an injury in 2014 set back his career. (Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Jacob Rathe — 2 starts (2012, 2013—DNF): After retiring in 2018, Rathe continues to race locally, and works as a cycling coach and bike-fitter in Oregon.

Evan Huffman — 2 starts (2013, 2014—DNF): After retiring in 2019, Huffman is a youth pastor at a California church.

Chris Jones — 2 starts (2014, 122nd; 2015, 95th): After retiring in 2017, Jones has competed in ski mountaineering, and other ski and bike adventures.

Danny Summerhill — 2 starts (2014, 132nd; 2015, 127th): Summerhill came out of retirement in 2022, but served a ban for using Adderall without a TUE.

Bradley White — 1 start (2014, 144th): After retiring he’s worked in the bike industry.

Tanner Putt — 1 start (2015 OTL): Putt retired in 2019, and recently joined USA Cycling as director of road racing.

Phil Gaimon — 1 start (2016 DNF): Gaimon retired from pro racing 2016, he’s continued to write books, produce podcasts, and chase Strava records via his “Worst Retirement Ever” platform.

Active riders: Still chasing the dream

Quinn Simmons, left, and Magnus Sheffield, shown here at the junior worlds podium in 2019, are seen as hopes for future Roubaix success. (Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) made his Paris-Roubaix debut in 2021 with 65th, did not race in 2022 or 2023. He lit up the Belgian classics this spring, finishing a best-ever U.S. finish with fourth at E3 Saxo Classic and ninth at Tour of Flanders.

Quinn Simmons (Trek Segafredo) also debuted in 2021, but did not finish. This year, he skipped the northern cobblestone classics, and will race the so-called Ardennes classics, with expected starts at De Brabantse Pijl, Amstel Gold Race, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) was the lone American debutant in 2022. After becoming the first American to win De Brabantse Pijl in 2022, the New Yorker packs big ambitions for the spring classics. After a bit of a rough and tumble campaign so far, he finished his first Roubaix in 2023 in 92nd.

Paris-Roubaix Femmes: The dawn of a new era

Clara Honsinger seen in action in 2022. (Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

After a long wait and another delay due to COVID-19, the women’s edition was finally unveiled in 2021 with much success. Lizzie Deignan rode away from the field in the first Paris Roubaix Femmes, with Elisa Longo Borghini winning last year.

In 2021 for the inaugural edition, five U.S. riders were among the historic starters. Leah Thomas was the top American finisher with 12th. Also racing the first edition were Kristen Faulkner, Lauren Stevens, Veronica Ewers, and Megan Jastrab, who hit second at Gent-Wevelgem last month.

Last year, six more names were added to the history books, including Makayla MacPherson, Clara Honsinger, Katie Clouse, Coryn Labecki, Emma Langley, and Lilly Williams.

There will no men’s or women’s debutants this weekend among the nearly 100 first-timers across both races.

In fact, things are looking pretty thin for 2023, with only Sheffield expected to be the lone American male. Six women raced Saturday at the 2023 Paris-Roubaix Femmes, including Labecki, Jastrab, Honsinger, Stephens, Williams and MacPherson. Williams was the top U.S. finishers in 67th behind Alison Jackson, who became the first Canadian to win Paris-Roubaix.

Which one of them will be the first to win America’s first granite cobblestone trophy? Or is it another rider who’s yet to start their first “Hell of the North?”

Coryn Labecki hits out in 2022. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

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