Paris-Roubaix Femmes: Alison Jackson scores dazzling sprint victory as breakaway fends off favorites

Canadian ace wins six-rider breakaway sprint as Kopecky, Longo Borghini and all other top favorites lose their opportunity.

Photo: Getty Images

Alison Jackson (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB) won the Paris-Roubaix Femmes after a nail-biter final.

The Canadian ace won a sprint of six riders who survived out of the day’s early break and fended off the group of favorites all the way through to the velodrome.

Katia Ragusa (Liv-Racing) and Marthe Truyen (Fenix-Deceuninck) rounded out the podium as all the pre-race favorites lost out.

The main pack of big hitters finished just seconds behind the six-rider kick for victory.

The likes of Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo), and the rest of the pre-race favorites all missed the day’s early move and never caught back as the peloton disintegrated in the final hours of racing over the cobbles.

Kopecky finished seventh after being caught in a crash inside the final 40km and piling on in the chase. Trek-Segafredo’s dominance in Paris-Roubaix Femmes also came to a halt with none of its riders in the top-10.

Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) finished 10th after finding herself off the back for dozens of kilometers after a puncture and bike change.

Monument victory marks a huge moment for both Jackson and her EF Education team.

The Canadian spent two seasons with the team late last decade, moved away for three years, and only rejoined the team this season.

Her victory is the U.S. team’s first WorldTour win of the season and the 34-year-old’s first in 18 months.

“When we did the pre-ride and rode around the velodrome, I dreamed of winning,” Jackson said at the finish. “A lot of those times those dreams just stay dreams. It’s unreal to make it happen in real life.”

Jackson made the race her own Saturday.

The Canadian was part of an 18-rider breakaway that kicked clear inside the opening 30km, and she piled on the pressure in the final 20km with an attack and acceleration that split down the escape.

“I wanted to be part of the action and be ahead of the race. I didn’t want to wait. Our team for this spring has been waiting, and it wasn’t working,” Jackson said.

“Because of rain in the week it was going to be slick. In a race like this you need to avoid bad luck in order to get a win. So when the move went, I was just waiting and available and wanted to ride it.”

With the 29km of gnarled pavé mixed between dry, greasy, muddy and waterlogged, having a clear eyeline at the front of the race played in the breakaway’s advantage Saturday.

In fact, the race turned on its head when a small group of heavy hitters that included Brand, Longo Borghini, Kopecky crashed 36km from the line, just as they started making headway into the breakaway’s advantage.

The final 10km made for a true nail-biter as the chasing group of favorites roared into view, just 10 seconds behind the remainder of the escape.

Jackson and breakaway rivals Marta Lach (Ceratizit WNT) and Eugénie Duval (FDJ Suez) all kept attacking through the final and the break ripped into the velodrome just a whisker ahead of the favorites’ group.

The final kick opened up on the final bend of the velodrome, and Jackson came from second wheel to win with a huge muscling sprint.

“In the final, the group was coming back and only four of us wanted to ride. Either you don’t ride and lose the race or you ride hard and have a chance,” Jackson said.

“I just trusted in myself and the passion and heart I had for getting in the bike race. And it turned out in the win.”

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