Paris-Roubaix Femmes: history, route and TV
The first edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes takes place on 2nd October. Find out more about who’s riding and where to watch.
The first Paris-Roubaix for women takes place one hundred and twenty-five years after the first men’s race. Paris-Roubaix began life in 1896, the same year the first modern Olympic Games was held.
Since 1896, men have been to the moon, motor cars have become mass-produced, the floppy disc has been and gone, and the internet was invented. Yet it’s only in 2021 that we’re seeing the invention of the greatest cycling classic in the world for women: Paris-Roubaix Femmes.
History of the Hell of the North
Paris-Roubaix is one of road cycling’s Spring Classics. It’s a road race with a difference. Typically held in April of every year, it comes one week after the Tour of Flanders and around a month before the first Grand Tour of the year (Giro d’Italia). The 2020 race was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the 2021 edition was postponed to October.
If you’ve ever watched the men’s race, you’ll know what a spectacle this event is. It’s a road race punctuated by cobbled sectors often at a time of year when rain and mud disguise both rider and bike.
Total distance: 116 km
Cobblestone sectors: 17
Cobblestone distance: 29.2 km
Number of teams competing: 24
Paris-Roubaix Femmes 2021 begins in Denain on Saturday 2nd October 2021. After three circuits in the town, the peloton will ready Hornaing where the men’s and women’s routes converge. The remaining 85 km promise to be a white knuckle ride for all who dare to race.
The cobbled sectors are categorised based on their difficulty: one star means relatively easy while five stars means very technical. The women’s route features two five-star sectors: Mons-en-Pévèle (3 km) and the Carrefour de l’Arbre (2.1 km).
After traversing the trickier terrain, the race reaches a crescendo inside the boundary of Roubaix’s outdoor velodrome. The mixture of relief and euphoria from the leading riders will be almost as deafening as the celebrations from the crowds that fill the arena.
This race is not to be missed, not least because the women’s peloton has been missing a race like this on their calendar for over a century.
Paris-Roubaix and Canyon
All our professional women’s teams will be lining up in Denain, a town in France some 60 km away from the finish line in Roubaix on the Belgian border.
Annemiek van Vleuten’s name has become synonymous with victory in these races. She won the Tour of Flanders and Dwars door Vlaanderen, second in Liege-Bastogne-Liege, third in Amstel-Gold and fourth in both Strade Bianche and La Fleche Wallonne.
Kasia Niewiadoma is a safe bet for Canyon/SRAM with her form going into the race. She came fourth in the European Championships and has a number of top 10 finishes from the Spring Classics races.
Whoever wins the first edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes will go down in history and we’re excited to see it all play out in front of our eyes.
Where to watch Paris-Roubaix Femmes
Eurosport and GCN+ will broadcast the first ever edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes. If you’re in the US, check NBC Sports and for Canadian viewers, FloBikes is your channel. Look out for a post-race report in the days after the race.