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Deutschland Tour wächst auf 5 Tage – Termin 2022 steht

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Die Deutschland Tour wird erweitert. Ab dem nächsten Jahr wird das wichtigste deutsche Radrennen über fünf Tage ausgetragen. Der Weltradsportverband UCI hat den Termin für 2022 bestätigt: vom 24. bis 28. August findet die Rundfahrt im kommenden Jahr statt. Ein Prolog am Mittwoch wird die Deutschland Tour 2022 eröffnen und zum neuen Faktor im Sekundenspiel um den Gesamtsieg.

Nach einjähriger Unterbrechung feierte die Deutschland Tour Ende August großen Radsport, präsentierte eine wachsende Newcomer Tour und so viele Mitmachangebote, wie noch nie. Jetzt wird die gesamte Deutschland Tour ausgebaut, denn das Profi-Rennen erhält einen weiteren Renntag!

Am Mittwoch, den 24. August 2022, wird ein Prolog mit einem großen Rahmenprogramm die Deutschland Tour eröffnen. Das kurze Auftakt-Zeitfahren wird gleich zu Beginn der Rundfahrt den Kampf um die entscheidenden Sekunden animieren. Spannung bleibt garantiert, denn bei allen Austragungen der neuen Deutschland Tour haben wenige Sekunden über den Gewinn des Roten Trikots entschieden.

„Radsport-Deutschland erhält einen neuen Renntag im UCI-Kalender! Denn die Deutschland Tour wächst. Mit jeder Austragung gehen wir einen Schritt weiter. Der Prolog wird ein spannendes Element für das Profi-Rennen und bringt den Zuschauern ein ganz neues Deutschland Tour-Erlebnis. Mit diesem Wachstum in allen Bereichen, vom Nachwuchs bis zu den Profis, stärken wir die Führungsrolle der Deutschland Tour für den deutschen Radsport“, sagt Claude Rach, Geschäftsführer der Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Radsports.

Ihr großes Finale feiert die Deutschland Tour 2022 in der Landeshauptstadt Baden-Württembergs. Für Deutschland Tour-Gewinner Nils Politt wird es ein Comeback der besonderen Art: 2018 holte er in Stuttgart seinen ersten Profi-Sieg. Neben den weltbesten Radsportlern werden auch 3.000 Hobbysportler*innen die attraktiven Strecken durch die Region Stuttgart erleben. Denn Sonntag, der 28. August, ist der Termin für die Jedermann Tour 2022.

Paris – Roubaix 2021 mit Wettervorhersage

Wettervorhersage von Plomi:

Am Wochenende herrscht unbeständiges Wetter in Roubaix mit Temperaturen um 15°, Niederschläge werden vor allem Samstag Nachmittag und Sonntag Vormittag erwartet, die Strecke wird aufgeweicht und anspruchsvoll sein.
Sonntag Nachmittag besteht die Aussicht auf trockenes Wetter.
Rennentscheidend kann der starke Wind werden, der SA und So mit Windstärke 4 bis 5 (ca. 50km/h) aus Südwest wehen wird.
Bis zum Wald von Arenberg wird das Fahrerfeld den Rückenwind genießen können, mit der Ausfahrt aus dem Wald beginnt eine Gegenwind bzw. anschließend Seitenwindpassage bis zum Abschnitt 17.
Zwischen den Abschnitten 17 und 15 herrscht dann wieder Schiebewind.
Zwischen den Abschnitten 15 und 11 und 5 und 3 kann der böige Seitenwind rennentscheidend werden.

Key points:
 The world’s best cobble-gobblers are returning to Paris–Roubaix, which will start in front of the Château de Compiègne on Sunday 3 October.
 The majority of them already clashed in the World Championships, held in Belgium one week earlier. It will be a chance for Wout van Aert to make amends after finding himself off the pace in his first two experiences in the Queen of Classics (13th in 2018 and 22nd in 2019). He will also be facing his nemesis, Mathieu van der Poel.

When the winner lifts the cobble trophy on the lawn in Roubaix Velodrome next Sunday, will it feel heavier than its predecessors, as if it had been fattened by the 903-day wait since the 2019 edition? One thing is for sure: after seeing their hopes dashed twice, the cobble-gobblers are raring to go and tackle the event that will wrap up the season for many among them. The unusual 2021 calendar makes Paris–Roubaix the ideal race to exact revenge after the World Championships, where several movers and shakers of the peloton came up empty-handed last Sunday. One of them, Wout van Aert, will be wearing the favourite’s tag again, both at the start in Compiègne and, especially, when the peloton hits the Trouée d’Arenberg, where things started to go south for him in the previous edition. The rainy weather forecast for the weekend will make the cobblestones even more slippery. Will this play into the hands of the three-time world cyclo-cross champion or will it inject even more uncertainty into the challenge of an amazing power rider who sometimes seems short on good luck? His opponents, particularly those who already flexed their muscles in Leuven, will be ready to pounce if he runs into trouble or has to throw in the towel. The finale of the fight for the rainbow jersey revealed Dylan van Baarle’s form, which could promote him to top dog in Ineos Grenadiers, as well as an impressive Jasper Stuyven, who already knows what it feels like to finish in the top 5 in Roubaix (fourth in 2017 and fifth in 2018) and is eager to move up the ladder.
Zdeněk Štybar, who also shone on the other side of the border on Sunday, only needs to go one better after finishing second in 2015 and 2017, while his teammate Florian Sénéchal appears to be in the shape of his life… as does Sonny Colbrelli, who followed up his win in the European Championships with victory in the Memorial Marco Pantani. While Mathieu van der Poel faded a bit on the Belgian roads (eighth), his debut on the cobblestones of Paris–Roubaix could turn out to be the performance of the late season. However, it would be unwise to rule out podium regulars such as Peter Sagan and Alexander Kristoff, who are used to pulling rabbits out of their hats. Finally, the memory of their Roubaix glory days could turbocharge the ambitions of riders such as Philippe Gilbert, Greg van Avermaet, John Degenkolb and Niki Terpstra.
25 teams, main contenders

Australia
Team BikeExchange: Durbridge and Stannard (AUS)

Bahrain
Bahrain–Merida: Colbrelli (ITA), Bauhaus (GER) and Haussler (AUS)

Belgium
Deceuninck–Quick-Step: Lampaert (BEL), Štybar (CZE), Asgreen (DEN) and Sénéchal (FRA)
Lotto–Soudal: Gilbert (BEL) and Degenkolb (GER)
Alpecin–Fenix: Van der Poel (NED), Philipsen, Merlier (BEL) and Dillier (SUI)
Intermarché–Wanty Gobert: Planckaert (Bel) and Van der Hoorn (NED)
Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB: Dupont (BEL) and Aniołkowski (POL)

France
AG2R Citroën Team: Van Avermaet, O. Naessen (BEL) and Schär (SUI)
Cofidis: Laporte (Fra) and Drucker (BEL)
Team TotalEnergies: Petit, A. Turgis (FRA), Boasson Hagen (NOR) and Terpstra (NED)
Groupama–FDJ: Démare, Le Gac (FRA) and Küng (SUI)
Delko: Šiškevičius (LTU) and Barbier (FRA)
Arkéa–Samsic: C. Swift, McLay (GBR) and Russo (FRA)
B&B Hotels p/b KTM: De Backer and Debusschere (BEL)

Germany
Bora–Hansgrohe: P. Sagan (SVK), Politt (GER) and Oss (ITA)
Team DSM: Kragh Andersen (DEN), Bol and Eekhoff (NED)

Israel
Israel Start-Up Nation: Vanmarcke (BEL) and Schmidt (DEN)

Kazakhstan
Astana–Premier Tech: Houle (CAN) and Gruzdev (KAZ)

Netherlands
Jumbo–Visma: Van Aert (BEL), Groenewegen and Teunissen (NED)

South Africa
Qhubeka NextHash: Campenaerts (BEL), Nizzolo (ITA) and Walscheid (GER)

Spain
Movistar Team: García Cortina and Erviti (ESP)

United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates: Kristoff (NOR), Gaviria (COL), Bjerg (DEN) and Trentin (ITA)

United Kingdom
Ineos Grenadiers: Van Baarle (NED), Kwiatkowski (POL) and Moscon (ITA)

United States
EF Education First: Bisseger (SUI), Keukeleire (BEL), Langeveld (NED) and Docker (AUS)
Trek–Segafredo: Stuyven (BEL), M. Pedersen (DEN) and Theuns (BEL)

When the „Roubaisiennes“ take the stage

Lisa Brennauer: “I’m extra-motivated for this first”


Photo by Plomi

Aware of the magnitude of the occasion, the riders in the women’s peloton are gearing up for the first edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes, scheduled for Saturday 2 October, after their debut on the cobblestones of northern France was frustrated in October 2020 and again last spring. The world of cycling is awash with questions about the favourites to win the inaugural edition, wondering what it takes to shine in this race and whether the decisive attributes are exactly the same as in the men’s competition. Five of these favourites, particularly excited about this momentous event, tell us more about their relationship with the Queen of Classics as the countdown to their initiation on the cobblestones ticks away. The powerful Lisa Brennauer hails from Bavaria, like her friend John Degenkolb (winner of Paris-Roubaix in 2015) and the trailblazer Josef Fischer, first winner of the Hell of the North, in 1896. She can only dream of making history!

Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team)
Kempten (Bavaria, Germany), 8 June 1988
Teams: Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung (2009), Team Hitec Products UCK (20110-2011), Specialized-lulumon / Velocio-Sram Pro Cycling (2012-2015), Canyon-Sram (2016-2017), Wiggle High5 (2018), Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling Team (since 2019)
Major results:
2013: ITT German champion, TTT world champion
2014: ITT and TTT world champion, silver medallist in the road race, German champion
2015: TTT world champion, winner of the Holland Ladies Tour and the Women’s Tour
2017: winner of the Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen
2018: ITT German champion, winner of the Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen
2019: German champion, winner of the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta, winner of the Festival Elsy Jacobs
2020: German champion, TTT European champion, winner of the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta
2021: German champion, ITT German champion, TTT World champion
An anecdote: Lisa Brennauer has never ridden in Roubaix but she’ll discover both the outdoor and the covered velodrome this October. After the Hell of the North, she’ll return for the UCI Track World Championships, held in the Jean Stablinski velodrome at the end of the month.

A DREAM IS BORN
Paris-Roubaix is coming, and Lisa Brennauer can already feel “goosebumps” as she thinks of “riding the last cobbles in Roubaix, the ‘nice’ ones, and going into the entrance of the velodrome. Iconic is really a word that fits this race well.” The passionate German champion is already familiar with the Hell of the North and its folklore: “It’s a brutal race that we’ve all followed many many times on television, and now we finally can take on this challenge ourselves. So I think it’s a cool step for women’s cycling and I’m excited to be part of it. I like the style of the race. I think it’s also something that suits me as a rider. So I’m extra motivated for this first edition.”

CUT OUT FOR THE COBBLESTONES?
There are many requirements to do well on the cobbles, especially on the way to Roubaix. “You need a lot of power, first of all, and of course you need to be able to ride over the cobbles”, Brennauer begins with. “But I also think you need a team, and you need to have the ability to never give up.” The German rider relies on her teammates to put her in the best position to show her abilities, and she notably counts on Maria Giulia Confalonieri: “She has been riding super well in last week’s World Championships.” Brennauer’s stellar TT record shows she has the power and resilience. With several podium finishes in cobble classics such as the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Gent-Wevelgem, she’s already proved her abilities perfectly fit hard racing in difficult conditions: “I really think it’s a race that suits me.”

PREPARING FOR THE BIG SHAKE
Straight off the world championships, Brennauer went to Roubaix for another recon of the cobbles. “I came pretty early, already last year when we were allowed to travel again. We had perfect Roubaix weather then – it rained”, she describes with a laugh. “I had two days there to ride on the circuit, test the equipment, and I had another two days after the Worlds. I think I know the good way to go, the lines to choose or, at least, the ones not to, to try and make it over the cobbles as smooth as possible.” Hailing from Bavaria, Brennauer has also spoken with John Degenkolb, winner of the 2015 Paris-Roubaix: “We’ve known each other from races since we’re under 15, so his victory is my favourite Roubaix moment. His main advice was to always be in the front and to never give up until you really are at the finish, because everything can happen in this race.”

THE IDEAL SCENARIO
“I think a lot of people see me as a rider who often waits for the finish because I’m quite fast, but I don’t think this is how you will win Roubaix in the end”, Brennauer warns. “Of course, it would be best to arrive alone, or in a very very small breakaway group to be able to win this race, and, yes, it’s a scenario I hope I will be able to create.” To do so, she aims to “save as much energy as possible in this first part of the race, to then be able to be in an attack or launch an attack in the finale. This is where I see myself.” It could lead her to a second victory on French roads, 8 years after she took her first pro win during the Tour Languedoc Roussillon. Raising her arms in Roubaix this Saturday would make for a major landmark in her career and in cycling history.

Paris-Roubaix Femmes

Key points:
 132 female pioneers are expected at the start of the first edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes on Saturday in Denain (13:35) for a 116.4-kilometre race to the Roubaix velodrome, which they will reach if they can withstand the 29.2 kilometres of cobbles that await them.
 One week after the World Championships, the medallists from Leuven will battle on the formidable sectors of Mons-en-Pévèle and Carrefour de l’Arbre. But Italy’s Elisa Balsamo, The Netherlands‘ Marianne Vos and Poland’s Kasia Niewiadoma will have several rivals on these unexplored territories.

It’s all about making history. The first edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes automatically implies the beginning of a winner’s list on which each of the riders’ entered dreams of writing her name. However, this part of the prestige is only possible for select members of the peloton: the champions who know best how to prepare for the big races. The recent World Championships in Flanders provided insight on an elite group of riders that is capable of starring on the neighbouring roads. One week later, the three medallists in Leuven will have their chance to raise a cobblestone on the Roubaix velodrome, starting with world champion Elisa Balsamo, who will debut her beautiful rainbow jersey in the mud or the dust, depending on the weather. To make it shine at the end of the 116.4 km course, she will have to dominate again Marianne Vos, who will use all her talent as seven times cyclo-cross world champion to fly over the cobblestones and to get an umpteenth triumph. Kasia Niewiadomia, who accompanied them on the world podium and has also been in the top three of the Strade Bianche four times, will also be one of the primary contenders for the title.
The list of favourites doesn’t end with last weekend’s heroines. There are several in the Trek-Segafredo squad, which includes time trial world champion Ellen van Dijk, who will wear her star-studded European champion jersey for the first time; Liz Deignan, winner of the 2020 Liège-Bastogne-Liège, 2016 Tour of Flanders and 2016 Strade Bianche and Elisa Longo Borghini, who has won and placed in the biggest races on the calendar. As the Paris-Roubaix course is all-new for the ladies, it will be useful to observe whether the qualities of the rollers will pay off as much as for the men. In this case, Lisa Brennauer (5th) in the world championship time trial), Marlen Reusser (2nd) or the young Dane Emma Norsgaard, should also be watched closely.

22 teams, the leading riders

Australia
Team BikeExchange: Spratt, Roy (Aus)

Belgium
Lotto-Soudal Ladies: Vandenbulcke (Bel)
Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus Continental Team: K.Schweinberger (Aut)

France
FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope: Uttrup-Ludwig (Den)
Arkéa Pro Cycling Team: Verhulst (Fra)
Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime Women Cycling: Rüegg (Swi)

Germany
Canyon//Sram Racing: Niewiadoma (Pol)
Team DSM: Wiebes (Ned)
Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling: Brennauer, Teutenberg (Ger)

Great Britain
Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur: Van’t Geloof (Ned)

Italy
Alé BTC Ljubljana: Reusser (Swi), Guderzo (Ita), Bujak (Slo)
Bepink: Drummond (Nzl)
Valcar-Travel & Service: Balsamo, Consonni (Ita)

The Netherlands
Liv Racing: Kopecky (Bel), Jackson (Can)
SD Worx: Van den Broeck-Blaak, Pieters (Ned)
Jumbo-Visma Women Cycling Team: Vos, Van den Bos (Ned)
NXTG Racing: Kool (Ned)
Parkhotel Valkenburg: Van der Hulst (Ned)

Norway
Team Coop-Hitec Products: Kröger (Ger)

Spain
Movistar Team Women: Van Vleuten (Ned), Norsgaard (Den)

United States
Trek-Segafredo: Deignan (Gbr), Cordon-Ragot (Fra), Longo Borghini (Ita), Van Dijk (Ned)
Team Tibco-SVB: Stephens (Usa), Kessler (Ned)

@A.S.O. 2021 Paris-Roubaix Femmes map

2022 PARIS–ROUBAIX AND 2022 AMSTEL GOLD RACE RESCHEDULED

The organisers of Paris–Roubaix and the Amstel Gold Race have decided to switch the slots of their races on the calendar to deal with the fact that the first round of the French presidential election is due to take place on Sunday 10 April 2022. Paris–Roubaix will be held on Sunday 17 April and the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday 10 April 2022. „This solution was made possible by the cooperation and willingness to compromise of Amstel Gold Race director Leo van Vliet and the Union Cycliste Internationale. In the name of the thousands of fans who love the Queen of Classics, ASO wishes to thank them warmly for agreeing to this change in the calendar“, said Christian Prudhomme, head of the ASO Cycling Division.
Amstel Gold Race director Leo van Vliet added: „When Christian Prudhomme told me that Paris–Roubaix, originally scheduled for 10 April 2022, would no longer be able to go ahead on that date because the French presidential election is due to be held that same day, and he asked me to switch places with the Amstel Gold Race, which was pencilled in for 17 April, I understood his problem straight away. Who am I to look the other way when the biggest cycling organisation asks me to lend it a hand? Of course, I first had to check whether it could be done from the organisational point of view. After the competent authorities, including our partner municipalities, Maastricht and Valkenburg, also pledged their support, I came to an agreement with Christian Prudhomme at the World Championships in Leuven last weekend. We also reached a deal with the UCI. As a result, the Amstel Gold Race will be held a week earlier next year, on 10 April, followed by Paris–Roubaix on 17 April, which falls on Easter Sunday.“

Paris-Roubaix cobblestones: general inspection

Key points:

 The riders of edition 118 will battle on the cobblestones for 55 km, over the total distance of 257.7km, with 30 sectors to be tackled on the final 160 km.
 The first edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes, which takes place the day before, on Saturday 2 October, features 29.2 km of cobblestones, with the last 85 km being the same for both races. With just a few days to go before the big showdown, everything is in place.
Based on the latest inspection of the course, carried out on 28 September by Paris-Roubaix race director Thierry Gouvenou and race director of Paris-Roubaix Femmes, Franck Perque, the organisers have assigned a difficulty rating to each of the cobbled sectors of the race, assessed according to their length, the irregularity of the cobbles, the general condition of the section and its location. The sectors rated five stars remain the Trouée d’Arenberg, Mons-en-Pévèle and the Carrefour de l’Arbre.

This year, the minor modifications concern the attack phase of the cobbles, with the Troisvilles sector retaining its entire length (2200 m). A little further on, the peloton will regroup at the hamlet of Buat sector (# 24), where the difficulty of the slope is added to that of the cobbles. In total, the cobbled kilometres for the men’s race is exactly 55 kilometres.

For their baptism of the cobbled roads, the female riders take on a more manageable 29,2 kilometres, with 17 sectors on the programme. The two courses converge with 85 kilometres to go, while the women will have started from Denain and ridden 33.9 kilometres. They will begin with the four-star 3,7 km long sector from Hornaing to Wandignies. For them too, the demanding route to the velodrome passes through the sectors of Mons-en-Pévèle and the Carrefour de l’Arbre!

The 30 cobbled sectors of Paris–Roubaix

30 : Troisvilles to Inchy (km 96,3 – 2,2 km) ***
29 : Viesly to Quiévy (km 102,8 – 1,8 km) ***
28 : Quiévy to Saint-Python (km 105,4 – 3,7 km) ****
27 : Saint-Python (km 110,1 – 1,5 km) **
26 : Haussy to Saint-Martin-sur-Écaillon (km 116,6 – 0,8 km) **
25 : Saint-Martin-sur-Ecaillon to Vertain (km 120,9 – 2,3 km) ***
24 : Capelle to Ruesnes (km 127,3 – 1,7 km) ***
23 : Artres to Quérénaing (km 136,3 – 1,3 km) **
22 : Quérénaing to Maing (km 138,1 – 2,5 km) ***
21 : Maing to Monchaux-sur-Ecaillon (km 141,2 – 1,6 km) ***
20 : Haveluy to Wallers (km 154,2 – 2,5 km) ****
19 : Trouée d’Arenberg (km 162,4 – 2,3 km) *****
18 : Wallers to Hélesmes (km 168,4 – 1,6 km) ***
17 : Hornaing to Wandignies (km 175,2 – 3,7 km) ****
16 : Warlaing to Brillon (km 182,7 – 2,4 km) ***
15 : Tilloy to Sars-et-Rosières (km 186,2 – 2,4 km) ****
14 : Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies (km 192,5 – 1,4 km) ***
13 : Orchies (km 197,5 – 1,7 km) ***
12 : Auchy-lez-Orchies to Bersée (km 203,6 – 2,7 km) ****
11 : Mons-en-Pévèle (km 209,1 – 3 km) *****
10 : Mérignies to Avelin (km 215,1 – 0,7 km) **
9 : Pont-Thibault to Ennevelin (km 218,5 – 1,4 km) ***
8 : Templeuve – L’Epinette (km 223,9 – 0,2 km) *
8 : Templeuve – Moulin-de-Vertain (km 224,4 – 0,5 km) **
7 : Cysoing to Bourghelles (km 230,8 – 1,3 km) ***
6 : Bourghelles to Wannehain (km 233,3 – 1,1 km) ***
5 : Camphin-en-Pévèle (km 237,8 – 1,8 km) ****
4 : Carrefour de l’Arbre (km 240,5 – 2,1 km) *****
3 : Gruson (km 242,8 – 1,1 km) **
2 : Willems to Hem (km 249,5 – 1,4 km) ***
1 : Roubaix – Espace Charles Crupelandt (km 256,3 – 0,3 km) *

Paris-Roubaix Challenge
Saturday 2nd of October – 24 hours before the elite race and a few hours before Paris-Roubaix Femmes, a peloton of amateur riders will measure themselves on this legendary spring classic and its fabled cobblestone sectors. Three distances are on offer to cyclists, in order to accommodate all the preparation levels: 70, 107 and 145 kms. Every rider will find an appropriate legend.
Information and registration on: parisroubaixchallenge.com and timeto.com

@A.S.O.

When the „Roubaisiennes“ take the stage (IV/V)

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig: „Here we are!“

Aware of the magnitude of the occasion, the riders in the women’s peloton are gearing up for the first edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes, scheduled for Saturday 2 October, after their debut on the cobblestones of northern France was frustrated in October 2020 and again last spring. The world of cycling is awash with questions about the favourites to win the inaugural edition, wondering what it takes to shine in this race and whether the decisive attributes are exactly the same as in the men’s competition. Five of these favourites, particularly excited about this momentous event, tell us more about their relationship with the Queen of Classics as the countdown to their initiation on the cobblestones ticks away. For the Dane Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, racing in the Hell of the North will be a childhood dream come true.

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope)
Frederiksberg (Denmark), 23 August 1995
Teams: Rytger (2014–2015), BMS BIRN (2016), Cervélo–Bigla (2017–2019) and FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope (since 2020)
Major results:
2012: silver medallist in the World Junior Time Trial Championships
2016: silver medallist in the European U23 Road Race Championships
2017: winner of the UCI World Tour youth classification, third in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, ninth in Strade Bianche and tenth in the World Championships
2018: fourth in La Course by Le Tour de France, sixth in the Giro d’Italia and seventh in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda
2019: third in the Tour of Flanders, third in La Course by Le Tour de France, third in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, fifth in Strade Bianche and winner of the Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan
2020: second in the Flèche Wallonne, fourth in the Giro d’Italia, eighth in the World Championships and winner of the Giro dell’Emilia
2021: second in La Course by Le Tour de France, third in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda, fifth in Strade Bianche and winner of stage 3 of the Vuelta a Burgos
An anecdote: a total extrovert who basks in the media glow, she might well have become an actor if she had not been a cyclist. „Once I’m done with cycling, perhaps. Who knows?“

A DREAM IS BORN
At the tender age of 10, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig already used to put Paris-Roubaix at the top of her list of races to watch on television. „The hype was real. The approach to the Trouée d’Arenberg is something I’ll never forget. It was so brutal, so epic, that I would just go crazy when the peloton got there.“ She eventually came to the Arenberg Forest at the dawn of her pro career, six years ago, just for the fun of racing up and down those same cobblestones that she had dreamed about time and again. „It was really special. I thought to myself: ‚Oh, my God, I’ve seen this on television so many times before‘! And now my turn had come. I remember thinking: ’some day, maybe, there’ll be a Paris-Roubaix for me too“. And here we are!“

CUT OUT FOR THE COBBLESTONES?
While Paris–Roubaix is a race like no other, strong performances in the Tour of Flanders and Strade Bianche are a reliable indicator of a rider’s ability to do well here. This suits Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, who finished third in De Ronde in 2019 and fifth in the Tuscan race on two occasions (2019 and 2021). However, the 26-year-old climber concedes that a small rider like her (52 kg) seems a bit out of place in the Hell of the North. „There’s no denying that the men who do well in Roubaix are big and strong and crank out some serious wattage. True, I’m nothing like that! But I hope I’ll still be able to produce enough watts and, even more importantly, to be astute enough. In a race like this, you need to stay at the front and be well positioned at the entrance to each sector.“ Since there has never been a Paris-Roubaix Femmes before, the type of riders who will have an edge over the others is still shrouded in uncertainty. „It’s our very first time, so we have no clue how this is going to play out! Thin cyclist, big cyclist, power riders, climbers… Everyone thinks they have a shot at winning, and this is what makes the inaugural edition so special.“

PREPARING FOR THE BIG SHAKE
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig is gripped by a mix of fear and excitement at the prospect of tackling the cobblestones. „A bit of both! The Roubaix cobblestones are completely different from the ones in Flanders. I’ve seen pictures of riders who finished with their hands covered in blisters. I can’t imagine how much that must hurt, so I expect to suffer a lot. But I can’t wait to start!“ The FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope leader was unable to take part in her team’s training camp in the cobbled sectors last year. „I haven’t done any recon this year either. But after the road race of the Worlds (Saturday 25 September), I’ll spend the whole week in the area. I’ll take the opportunity to recon every sector, prepare as well as I can and find the right tyre pressure for the big day.“ In order to gear up for the event and get an idea of the nuances of the cobblestones, she admits that she turned to the „Danish Mafia“, the community of Danish riders, including former world champion Mads Pedersen, who just like her lives in Girona, Spain.

THE IDEAL SCENARIO
Scandinavians love it when the weather can change at the drop of a hat, and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig is no exception. However, she is crossing her fingers for sunny skies on 2 October. „The course is tough enough as it is. If you add rain into the mix… I want to see a battle in which the best riders go head to head, not one in which the winner is simply the one who manages to stay on her bike.“ She hopes that the race will be decided by a long-range attack. „But I think many others would agree. Everyone will be ready to fight and vying for the leading places in the approach to the sectors. I think it’s going to be really tough… But this is how I want cycling to be. To be honest, I have no idea what to expect! A top 10 finish, a podium place… More than anything else, I hope to be able to cross the finish line knowing I’ve got nothing left in the tank. Whoever wins this Paris-Roubaix will go down in history. Everyone’s dreaming of being that person.“

2021 PARIS-TOURS

22 TEAMS, 212,3 KILOMETRES AND 9 VINEYARD TRACKS

Key points:
 The 115th Paris–Tours, which will start in Chartres on Sunday 10 October, will be decided on a 212,3 km course featuring 9 vineyard tracks with a combined length of 9.5 km within the final 50 km. It is a carbon copy of last year’s route and, therefore, perfect for the classics specialists.
 The 22 teams on the start list include the outfits of the winners of the last three editions, which were held in part on these unpaved sections. A total of 14 teams that participated in the last Tour de France will be present.

The one-off postponement of the Northern Classics to the autumn season, the final act of which will be Paris–Tours, has muddied the waters in terms of who is going to enter the race, but the course of the 2021 edition seems to be one for the tough men. Since the distance and the location of the vineyard tracks remain exactly the same, everyone knows where to pounce on the opportunity to thin out the peloton and later launch a decisive attack, in the same vein as the three men who have won the race since the transition to the new format. In 2019, Jelle Wallays threw caution to the wind with a victorious solo attack from 50 kilometres out, on the Côte de Goguenne, while the Côte de la Rochère has twice been the scene of the final selection. In 2018, Cosnefroy, Terpstra and Kragh Andersen took off here before the Dane proved strongest in the finale, while in 2020, Cosnefroy was also part of the decisive move together with Casper Pedersen, who went on to prevail in their duel on Avenue de Grammont. The Frenchman could be looking to settle the score this time round.

22 teams entered

World Teams
AG2R Citroën Team (FRA)
Bora-Hansgrohe (GER)
Cofidis (FRA)
Groupama-FDJ (FRA)
Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux (BEL)
Israël Start-Up Nation (ISR)
Jumbo-Visma (NED)
Lotto-Soudal (BEL)
Team DSM (GER)
Trek-Segafredo (USA)

Pro Teams
Alpecin-Fenix (BEL)
B&B Hotels p/b KTM (FRA)
Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB (BEL)
Delko (FRA)
Equipo Kern Pharma (ESP)
Euskaltel-Euskadi (ESP)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise (BEL)
Team Arkea-Samsic (FRA)
TotalEnergies (FRA)
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team (NOR)

Continentales
St Michel-Auber 93 (FRA)
Xelliss-Roubaix Lille Métropole (FRA)

2021 PARIS-ROUBAIX FEMMES: TEAMS SELECTION

After the withdrawal of teams; A.R. Monex Women’s Pro Cycling Team (Ita), Plantur-Pura (Bel) and Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling Team (Rus). The organizers of Paris-Roubaix Femmes have modified the teams selection for the 1st edition (Saturday, October 2, 2021) by inviting: Bepink (Ita).

Below the 22 teams selected:
WorldTeams automatically entered are:

Ale‘ BTC Ljubljana (Ita)
Canyon / / SRAM Racing (Ger)
FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope (Fra)
Liv Racing (Ned)
Movistar Team Women (Esp)
Team BikeExchange (Aus)
Team DSM (Ger)
Team SD Worx (Ned)
Trek – Segafredo (Usa)

Furthermore, the five following UCI Women’s Continental teams will participate by right in Paris-Roubaix Femmes:

Ceratizit – WNT Pro Cycling Team (Ger)
Lotto Soudal Ladies (Bel)
Parkhotel Valkenburg (Ned)
Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank (Usa)
Valcar – Travel & Service (Ita)

The organisers have invited the following teams:

Arkéa Pro Cycling Team (Fra)
Bepink (Ita)
Doltcini – Van Eyck Sport – Proximus Continental Team (Bel)
Drops – Le Col supported by Tempur (Gbr)
Team Coop – Hitec Products (Nor)
Jumbo – Visma Women Team (Ned)
NXTG Racing (Ned)
Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime Women Cycling (Fra)

When the „Roubaisiennes“ take the stage (II/V)

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak: “You can’t compare Roubaix with any other race”

Aware of the magnitude of the occasion, the riders in the women’s peloton are gearing up for the first edition of Paris–Roubaix Femmes, scheduled for Saturday 2 October, after their debut on the cobblestones of northern France was frustrated in October 2020 and again last spring. The world of cycling is awash with questions about the favourites to win the inaugural edition, wondering what it takes to shine in this race and whether the decisive attributes are exactly the same as in the men’s competition. Five of these favourites, particularly excited about this momentous event, tell us more about their relationship with the Queen of Classics as the countdown to their initiation on the cobblestones ticks away. Winner of the neighbouring Tour of Flanders, the 2017 World Champion Chantal van den Broek-Blaak hopes her instinct and experience can make the difference in a race where “anything can happen”.

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (SD Worx)
Rotterdam (South Holland, the Netherlands), 22 October 1989
Teams: AA Drink – Leontien.nl (2008-2012), Tibco – To the top (2013), Specialized-Lululemon (2014), Boels Dolmans (2015-2020), SD Worx (2021)
Major results:
2014: winner of Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo and Open de Suède Vårgårda
2015: winner of Le Samyn des Dames
2016: winner of Le Samyn des Dames, Ronde van Drenthe, Gent-Wevelgem and Boels Rental Ladies Tour
2017: World Champion, Dutch Champion
2018: Dutch champion, winner of Amstel Gold Race
2019: winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
2020: winner of Le Samyn des Dames and Ronde van Vlaanderen
2021: winner of Strade Bianche and Simac Ladies Tour
An anecdote: at 31 years old and with many wins under her belt, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak has already announced she would retire at the end of the 2022 season, a year after her longtime teammate Anna van der Breggen. They are set to become coaches for SD Worx.

A DREAM IS BORN
As “a classics rider”, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak has been hoping for years to take on the unique challenges of Paris-Roubaix. “It’s a super cool course, a typical one-day race, it fits me and I’ve been waiting for this moment”, she acknowledges ahead of the first edition of the women’s event. “I always watch the men’s race”, she says, “and you can see it’s a pure classic. You can see it’s tough and you cannot compare it with anything else. So I have mixed feelings: I’m super excited but on the other hand it’s also a bit scary.” Van den Broek-Blaak, a proper expert in gruelling races, has been impressed by the action packed racing always displayed on the way to Roubaix, and most notably by Mathew Hayman’s exploit in 2016, when he triumphed in the velodrome ahead of the Belgian icon Tom Boonen despite a broken arm six weeks earlier: “If you can’t race for such a long time, and you prepare at home and win, that’s cool!”

CUT OUT FOR THE COBBLESTONES?
Used to shining in the Spring classics, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak is hopeful she can also tame the cobbles in the Autumn. “You need power for this, and I’m a bit of a bigger rider”, she explains. “Normally, I’m good in really hard races, when it’s been hard all day and there’s a hard finale coming up. Roubaix, whether it’s ridden fast or slow, you’ll always be empty in the end. I think it makes it a good race for me.” In her 14th season as a professional rider, she can also make the most of her experience in a nervous race requiring specific abilities: “It takes a mix of power and skills. I’m not bad at riding the cobbles, but I’m also not the best. It’s not like I’m a cyclo-cross rider that always jumps on and off the bike. I’m not gonna do it like Marianne Vos! But I’m not scared, so that’s a good thing.”

PREPARING FOR THE BIG SHAKE
With her experience, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak assures “you can’t compare the cobbles in Roubaix with any other race. I always take the example of Flanders, and in the Ronde, if you’re empty, you can always try to find a way out, but in Roubaix, it’s impossible. It’s flat and there is not much rest in between the sectors. And the cobbles are really hard, very bumpy. So when you’re empty, you really lose a lot of speed.” The Dutch champion has already done two recons to get familiar with the unique challenges leading to Roubaix and test specific material. “But we had good weather, with a lot of dust, and that makes me a bit nervous because the condition can be muddy in October. That’s why I’m returning quickly after the Worlds to prepare as much as possible. You can train physically, you can prepare your equipment, you can make yourself ready mentally, because you know it’s gonna be hard, and then you have to accept that anything can happen in Paris-Roubaix.”

THE IDEAL SCENARIO
With her resistance, Chantal van den Broek-Blaak has won most of her 25 pro wins in small groups or on her own, after she made the most of the challenges of the day to drop all her rivals. “The solo would be awesome”, she anticipates with a laugh with the velodrome of Roubaix on her mind. “But I can never predict a race, it’s a feeling, and I hope I can have the right instinct again in Roubaix. I normally race the best when everyone is just empty. Let’s start with a hard race, that always makes me happy.” Tactically, “it makes no sense to copy the men’s race”, she says, although she’s inspired by the many scenarios witnessed in previous editions: “We’ve seen it’s a race where anything can happen. You can win from the early breakaway. You can be in the best position and have a flat or crash. You can be dropped and return for the win. I’m gonna do everything and hopefully I’ll have good legs and a bit of luck!”

Endspurt auf zwei Rädern: Heißer Radsport-Herbst bei Eurosport

Endspurt auf zwei Rädern: Heißer Radsport-Herbst bei Eurosport

• Kampf ums Regenbogen-Trikot bei der Straßen-WM: Mehr als 35 Stunden live
• Die Hölle des Nordens: Paris-Roubaix live und in voller Länge im Free-TV
• Der letzte Klassiker: Lombardei-Rundfahrt live und in voller Länge im Free-TV

15. September 2021 – Auf die Radprofis wartet ein heißer Herbst und Eurosport ist bei allen wichtigen Stationen der ausklingenden Saison live dabei. Nur drei Wochen nach dem Ende der Vuelta a Espana steht mit den Straßen-Weltmeisterschaften in Flandern bereits der nächste Höhepunkt an. Und damit noch lange nicht genug: Im Oktober warten mit dem verschobenen Frühjahrsklassiker Paris-Roubaix sowie der Lombardei-Rundfahrt noch zwei der fünf Monumente des Radsports auf Fahrer und Fans.
Eurosport überträgt sowohl die Straßen-WM (19. bis 26. September) als auch die Klassiker (3. und 9. Oktober) live und in voller Länge im Free-TV bei Eurosport 1 sowie im kostenlosen Livestream bei Eurosport mit Joyn sowie über das Global Cycling Network (GCN) via GCN+ und die GCN-App zu erleben.

Die Jagd auf das Regenbogen-Trikot
Mit dem Einzelzeitfahren der Männer eröffnen die Profis am 19. September in Flandern den Kampf um WM-Medaillen. Neben Titelverteidiger Filippo Ganna (Italien) und Ex-Weltmeister Rohan Dennis (Australien) werden auf der 43,3 Kilometer langen Strecke von Knokke-Heist nach Brügge unter anderem auch der neue Europameister Stefan Küng (Schweiz), Tadej Pogačar (Slowenien) sowie Wout van Aert und Remco Evenepoel (beide Belgien) um das Regenbogentrikot im Zeitfahren kämpfen.
Die abschließenden Höhepunkte bilden dann am Wochenende darauf die Straßenrennen der Frauen (25. September) und Männer (26. September). Die Klassiker-Stars Van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel (Niederlande) und Peter Sagan (Slowakei) fordern Titelverteidiger Julian Alaphilippe (Frankreich) und Tour-Sieger Pogacar, während John Degenkolb und Tour-Etappensieger Nils Politt für Deutschland auf Medaillenjagd gehen.

Durch die „Hölle des Nordens“ und fallende Blätter
Eine Woche später wird es bei Paris-Roubaix in zweifacher Hinsicht besonders. Nicht nur findet der eigentliche Frühjahrsklassiker in diesem Jahr pandemie-bedingt erst im Herbst statt, es wird wird zudem erstmals auch ein Frauen-Rennen auf der prestigeträchtigen Strecke mit ihren berüchtigten Kopfsteinpflaster-Passagen geben. Während sich die Männer am 3. Oktober über 257 Kilometer durch die “Hölle des Nordens” quälen, müssen die Frauen bei ihrer Renn-Premiere am Tag zuvor 116 Kilometer durchstehen – gut ein Viertel davon (29,5 km) auf den prägenden Pavé-Abschnitten. Ex-Sieger Degenkolb, Politt (Zweiter 2019) und Maximilian Schachmann bei seiner Premiere sowie André Greipel in seinem Abschiedsrennen tragen die deutschen Hoffnungen im Duell mit der extrem starken internationalen Konkurrenz.
Den traditionellen Schlusspunkt der prestigeträchtigen Rennen bildet die Lombardei-Rundfahrt am 9. Oktober. Das “Rennen der fallenden Blätter” ist das einzige der fünf Monumente des Radsports, welches noch nie ein deutscher Fahrer gewinnen konnte. Am dichtesten an einem Erfolg war Fabian Wegmann, der im Jahr 2006 als Dritter zumindest auf dem Podium stand. Max Schachmann ist der erste deutsche Sieg am ehesten zuzutrauen. Er bekommt es dabei aber mit hochklassigen Gegnern wie Pogacar, Evenepoel, Primoz Roglic (Slowenien), Marc Hirschi (Schweiz), Thibaut Pinot (Frankreich) oder Nairo Quintana (Kolumbien) zu tun.

Wo die Straße aufhört, fängt die Bahn an
Neben den drei großen Herbst-Highlights stehen diverse weitere Rennen und kleinere Rundfahrten auf Programm der Radprofis. Eurosport überträgt bei den Männern unter anderem die Rundfahrten in Luxemburg, der Slowakei, Kroatien, Saudi-Arabien und auf Sizilien sowie die Eintagesrennen Mailand-Turin oder Paris-Tours. Bei den Frauen ist Eurosport bei der Women’s Tour in Großbritannien ebenso live dabei wie bei der Ronde van Drenthe.
Radsport-Fans müssen auch nach dem Ende der Straßen-Saison nicht auf Live-Radsport bei Eurosport verzichten. Bereits vom 5. bis 9. Oktober steht im schweizerischen Grenchen die Bahnrad-EM auf dem Programm. Zwischen dem 20. und 24. Oktober werden Bahnrad-WM in Roubaix dann die neuen Weltmeister:innen gesucht. Und ab dem 6. November schlägt der Bahnradsport im Velòdrom Illes Balears auf Mallorca mit der UCI Track Champions League ein neues Kapitel auf.
Die insgesamt sechs adrenalingeladenen Events mit kurzformatigen Rennen sind auf ein Prime-Time-TV-Publikum zugeschnitten und bieten in einem einzigartigen, komprimierten Rennkalender, eine geschlechterparitätische Teilnehmerzahl und das gleiche Preisgeld bei Frauen und Männern. Das große Finale der ersten Saison der UCI Track Champions League steigt am 11. Dezember in Tel Aviv.

Den belgischen Kreisel am Eurosport-Mikrofon vollführen bei den Straßenrennen Rolf Aldag, Robert Bengsch, Gerhard Leinauer, Jean-Claude Leclerq, Christian Lichtenberg, Jörg Ludewig, Karsten Migels, Marc Rohde und Jens Voigt. Auf der Bahn bilden Robert Bengsch und Ron Ringguth das dynamische Kommentatoren-Duo.

Die Radsport-Übertragungen (Straße) bei Eurosport im Überblick (Stand: 14.9.21)
Datum Start Ende Rennen/Veranstaltung

21.09.2021 10:25 12:30 Weltmeisterschaften in Flandern | Zeitfahren Frauen Juniorinnen
21.09.2021 13:30 15:00 Grand Prix Denain | Eintagesrennen der Männer
21.09.2021 15:00 17:15 Weltmeisterschaften in Flandern | Zeitfahren Männer Junioren
22.09.2021 14:20 17:05 Weltmeisterschaften in Flandern | Team-Zeitfahren Mixed
24.09.2021 08:10 11:20 Weltmeisterschaften in Flandern | Straßenrennen Männer Junioren
24.09.2021 13:20 17:55 Weltmeisterschaften in Flandern | Straßenrennen Männer U23
25.09.2021 08:10 10:30 Weltmeisterschaften in Flandern | Straßenrennen Frauen Juniorinnen
25.09.2021 12:15 17:05 Weltmeisterschaften in Flandern | Straßenrennen Frauen Elite
26.09.2021 10:15 17:20 Weltmeisterschaften in Flandern | Straßenrennen Männer Elite
28.09.2021 13:20 15:00 Giro di Sicilia | 1. Etappe
28.09.2021 15:00 17:00 Cro Race | 1. Etappe
29.09.2021 13:20 15:00 Giro di Sicilia | 2. Etappe
29.09.2021 15:00 17:00 Cro Race | 2. Etappe
29.09.2021 17:00 18:00 Tour de l’Eurométropole | Eintagesrennen der Männer
30.09.2021 13:20 15:00 Giro di Sicilia | 3. Etappe
30.09.2021 15:00 17:00 Cro Race | 3. Etappe
01.10.2021 13:20 15:00 Giro di Sicilia | 4. Etappe
01.10.2021 15:00 17:00 Cro Race | 4. Etappe
02.10.2021 12:30 14:30 Cro Race | 5. Etappe
02.10.2021 15:15 17:15 Paris-Roubaix | Rennen der Frauen
03.10.2021 10:55 17:30 Paris-Roubaix | Eintagesklassiker der Männer
04.10.2021 14:00 16:00 Women’s Tour | 1. Etappe der Frauen
04.10.2021 16:00 18:00 Trittico Lombardo | Coppa Bernocchi
05.10.2021 13:30 15:30 Women’s Tour | 2. Etappe der Frauen
05.10.2021 15:30 17:30 Binche Chimay Binche | Eintagesrennen der Männer
06.10.2021 13:30 15:05 Women’s Tour | 3. Etappe der Frauen
06.10.2021 15:20 17:00 Mailand-Turin | Eintagesrennen der Männer
07.10.2021 13:30 15:20 Women’s Tour | 4. Etappe der Frauen
07.10.2021 15:20 17:00 Gran Piemonte | Eintagesrennen der Männer
08.10.2021 13:30 15:30 Women’s Tour | 5. Etappe der Frauen
09.10.2021 10:10 17:00 Lombardei-Rundfahrt | Eintagesklassiker der Männer
09.10.2021 17:00 18:00 Tour de Vendée | Eintagesrennen der Männer
10.10.2021 13:30 15:20 Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen | Eintagesrennen der Männer
10.10.2021 15:20 17:00 Paris-Tours | Eintagesrennen der Männer
16.10.2021 16:00 18:00 Grand Prix du Morbihan | Eintagesrennen (bei Eurosport 2)
19.10.2021 12:00 13:45 Saudi Arabien Rundfahrt | 1. Etappe
20.10.2021 12:00 13:45 Saudi Arabien Rundfahrt | 2. Etappe
21.10.2021 12:00 13:45 Saudi Arabien Rundfahrt | 3. Etappe
22.10.2021 12:00 13:45 Saudi Arabien Rundfahrt | 4. Etappe
23.10.2021 14:00 16:45 Ronde van Drenthe | Eintagesrennen der Frauen (bis ca. 15:00 Uhr bei Eurosport 2)

Die Radsport-Übertragungen (Bahn) bei Eurosport im Überblick (Stand: 14.9.21)
Datum Start Ende Rennen/Veranstaltung
05.10.2021 18:00 20:00 Europameisterschaften in Grenchen | Tag 1
06.10.2021 18:00 21:30 Europameisterschaften in Grenchen | Tag 2
07.10.2021 18:00 21:15 Europameisterschaften in Grenchen | Tag 3
08.10.2021 18:00 22:20 Europameisterschaften in Grenchen | Tag 4
09.10.2021 18:00 21:05 Europameisterschaften in Grenchen | Tag 5
20.10.2021 18:00 21:00 Weltmeisterschaften in Roubaix | Tag 1
21.10.2021 18:00 21:00 Weltmeisterschaften in Roubaix | Tag 2
22.10.2021 18:00 21:00 Weltmeisterschaften in Roubaix | Tag 3
23.10.2021 18:00 21:00 Weltmeisterschaften in Roubaix | Tag 4
24.10.2021 18:00 21:00 Weltmeisterschaften in Roubaix | Tag 5
06.11.2021 19:00 22:00 UCI Track Champions League in Mallorca | Erste Station

Paris–Roubaix Femmes Part 1

When the „Roubaisiennes“ take the stage

Audrey Cordon-Ragot: „A race where cycling history is made“

Aware of the magnitude of the occasion, the riders in the women’s peloton are gearing up for the first edition of Paris–Roubaix Femmes, scheduled for Saturday 2 October, after their debut on the cobblestones of northern France was frustrated in October 2020 and again last spring. The world of cycling is awash with questions about the favourites to win the inaugural edition, wondering what it takes to shine in this race and whether the decisive attributes are exactly the same as in the men’s competition. Five of these favourites, particularly excited about this momentous event, tell us more about their relationship with the Queen of Classics as the countdown to their initiation on the cobblestones ticks away. French rider Audrey Cordon-Ragot has left nothing to chance in her endeavour to turn this historic occasion into a huge celebration.

Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek–Segafredo)
Pontivy (Morbihan, France), 22 September 1989
Teams: Vienne Futuroscope (2008–2013), Hitec Products (2014), Wiggle–Honda (2015), Wiggle High5 (2016–2018) and Trek–Segafredo (2019–2021)
Major results:
2012: winner of Cholet-Pays de Loire
2013: winner of the Tour de Bretagne
2014: stage winner in La Route de France and winner of the Grand Prix de Plumelec
2015: winner of Cholet-Pays de Loire and French time trial champion
2016: French time trial champion
2017: winner of the Chrono des Nations and French time trial champion
2018: sixth in the Amstel Gold Race, third in the Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta and French time trial champion
2019: winner of the Tour de Bretagne
2020: thirteenth in the World Championships, stage winner in the Tour de l’Ardèche and French road race champion
2021: French time trial champion
An anecdote: „Absolutely useless at mechanics“ by her own admission, the Breton married the former amateur rider Vincent Ragot, who works as a mechanic for B&B Hotels p/b KTM.

A DREAM IS BORN
Audrey Cordon-Ragot discovered the magic of Paris-Roubaix mainly on television. Back when she was a young teen who already stood out as one of the brightest riders of her generation, Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara’s duels and solo adventures kept her on the edge of her seat, and her passion for this extraordinary race has only grown since then. „Everyone who’s won here rates this victory a notch above their other ones. It has a legendary aura because it’s a race for warriors where cycling history is made. I also remember Peter Sagan beating Silvan Dillier and Philippe Gilbert snatching the win against astronomical odds. You get surprises on the podium all the time, even on the top step, such as that time when Mathew Hayman took the win from the early break“. For the Breton, this phenomenal atmosphere also has a lot to do with the place that has come to epitomise the Hell of the North: „I think of the velodrome as the beating heart of Paris-Roubaix… It’s just like a Roman arena. The crowd wants to see the wild animals, and it often comes down to a group of riders. Just going there as a spectator already packed quite an emotional punch.“

CUT OUT FOR THE COBBLESTONES?
Roubaix specialists come in all shapes and sizes, but Fabian Cancellara and, a few decades earlier, Francesco Moser showed that time trialists are a force to be reckoned with. This suits Audrey Cordon-Ragot to a tee: behind the 11 victories of Jeannie Longo, who was in a class of her own, she has racked up 5 national titles and an additional 6 podium finishes in the national time trial championships. It is now up to her to transpose these abilities to the cobblestones. „I’m exactly in the sweet spot between too light and too heavy! The proper technique involves staying on your saddle whenever possible and loosening up your whole body. I think I’m a cobble-gobbler. Positioning will also be key in the approach to the cobbled sectors, and I think my experience will help me here because I’ve learnt a lot when it comes to fighting for my place in the peloton“.

PREPARING FOR THE BIG SHAKE
In Paris-Roubaix, failing to plan is planning to fail. The men have set the example for a long time and are used to preparing for this race with fastidious care. Trek–Segafredo is a tad more passionate about the cobbled classics than other teams, leaving Audrey well placed to capitalise on the experience of her male colleagues: „I had a chat with John Degenkolb, as well as Mads Pedersen, who gave me tips such as not to wear gloves. At first, I thought he was making fun of me, but I heeded his advice anyway and ended up without a single blister.“ Recon is another important factor in the build-up to Paris-Roubaix. Here, too, she has dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s for this exceptional premiere. „Due to the succession of postponements, I’ve already got four recons under my belt and yet another one on my to-do list. We don’t use our Roubaix bicycles anywhere else, so you need to get a feel for the bicycle and, especially, carry out loads of tests to determine the right tyre pressure.“

THE IDEAL SCENARIO
Audrey Cordon-Ragot makes no secret of the fact that winning Paris-Roubaix would be a dream come true. However, there is more than one path that leads to success in the old André Pétrieux Velodrome. The first-timer is raring to go and has already sketched out her ideal scenario: „The perfect situation is one in which I launch an attack in the Carrefour de l’Arbre sector, go full gas in the final 15 kilometres and enter the velodrome on my own“, she reveals enthusiastically. „My kick is powerful enough to spring a surprise if it comes down to a sprint, but I’ll be facing much longer odds if I get to the finish in a small group.“ Depending on how events unfold and how she feels on the day of the race, Audrey is also ready to roll up her sleeves and work for her team, which boasts an enviable level of depth: „Trek–Segafredo has other cards to play, apart from myself, as we’re also bringing Elisa Longo Borghini, newly crowned European champion Ellen van Dijk and Liz Deignan to the race“.