This Saturday night (2nd October 2021 AEST) was a momentous date on the Women's cycling calendar - the first time women competed in the famed Paris Roubaix event.
Nicknamed the 'Hell of the North' this is a race famed for grueling muddy and dirty road, slippery cobblestones and the famed outdoor velodrome, for those lucky enough to survive to the finish!
For many female cyclists this was a dream come true, an event that many involved in women's' cycling have been lobbying to be added to the calendar for many years. For cycling fans and viewers, it is top notch entertainment, a chance to see the best of the best battle not just each other but also watch as the technical skills of world's best riders are put to the test by the grueling conditions and hazardous surfaces. You're guaranteed plenty of slipping, sliding and a good few spills. The race is anyone's to win, with those lucky enough to grace the podium prevailing because of a combination of technical skill, race tactics and a good dose of luck.
On Saturday night, the slick cobbles looked more like a skating rink with some of the peloton hitting the deck on more than a number of occasions. The eventual winner, British cyclist Lizzie Deignan who rides for Trek-Segafredo saved herself a number of times after making a break with 80kms to go and putting together a fearless race thereafter that none of her peers were able to match. Second and third on the podium were the Netherland's Marianne Vos, and Italian rider Elisa Longo Borghini.
Whilst we are so excited for the addition of the Women's Paris Roubaix to the Women's Cycling calendar we can't help but join other fans and commentators in asking for full live coverage of the race. Saturday night's live coverage of the women's race started with 50km to go until the end - with already 2/3rds of the 127km race complete and a long time after Lizzy's break away.
Clearly, we still have some work to do in the equal representation of female and male cycling so, lets get behind the push for a full live broadcast for next year's event.
For a full review of the race and the coverage check out SBS's commentary below: Paris-Roubaix: A tipping point in women's cycling only if we pile on | Cycling (sbs.com.au)