Paris-Roubaix Femmes: What Jackson, Kopecky, Brand, Bäckstedt said after cobblestone thriller

Here's what the main protagonists said after the 'Hell of the North.'

Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Here’s what the top riders said after a nailbiting finale Saturday at Paris-Roubaix Femmes:

Alison Jackson (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB): 1st

Jackson wanted to get in the early break, and it paid off. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

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

On getting into the break 30km from the startline:

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. 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.

On the dynamic in the final:

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. 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.

Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx): 7th

Pre-race favorite Kopecky saw her chances derailed by a crash 40km out.

On her leading the chasers at 50km to go:

The break had a big advantage, and the pace we were doing wasn’t hard enough to change the race. We saw in the last edition that it’s OK to start racing early so that’s what we tried.

On the crash in the group of favorites and the final phases of racing:

We were going well toward the break but the crash happened, that’s bike racing. One by one our team was taken out by punctures, but when I made it into a group with Lorena (Wiebes) she emptied herself to try to bring us close as possible. And we had a very strong Femke (Markus) in the break … it was a very animated Paris-Roubaix! You can predict nothing.

Lucinda Brand (Trek Segafredo): 12th

Brand couldn’t make it three in a row for Trek Segafredo.

On the dynamic in the chase:

It was very complicated and it was a big group. All the cobbles were hard to make a difference because it was a headwind. It was much easier in the wheels, and with so many sprinters, we had to try to get away. But the front group was really strong, and I knew that when I heard their names. It was a strong job by the break and we were just too late. It was crazy, like expected.

Zoe Bäckstedt (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB): 45th

The 18-year-old Backstedt made her Roubaix debut Saturday.

I’m over the moon for A.J. (i.e., teammate Alison Jackson). I didn’t expect that. She got in the break and then she won it, so … A winning break doesn’t happen very much but when they got a 5:30 gap, I knew there was a good chance it would stay. I’m so happy for her.

On her Roubaix debut:

It was just as savage as I expected. Every sector, kilometer after kilometer, they hit you and you wonder when it will end. Then it ends and it’s the next one. It was absolutely savage but I loved every minute of it.

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