How road warrior Lizzie Deignan was crowned queen of the classics
In the glorious next day, Deignan said she had run “with the power of generations of women who have been denied the opportunity to fight for this monument” and how she felt the “strength of women’s cycling history behind me”. She went on to say that she hoped her three-year-old daughter, Orla, “would never face the same obstacles” that she had endured before her.
On the day of Deignan’s historic victory, social networks sparkled and crackled with gossip about the race. It was unprecedented.
“I could feel the excitement not only of the riders, but also during the reconnaissance ride we had more journalists than ever with us for this kind of race”, Anna van der Breggen, the former world champion and winner of several classics that was in the car of the SD Worx team having recently retired from racing, said Sport Telegraph. “For everyone it was exciting.
“Paris-Roubaix was a new race in women’s cycling and involved high risks. The men knew what to expect, but I was afraid some girls wouldn’t know what to expect and there could be a big disaster.
Van der Breggen was not mistaken, there were indeed risks and many accidents, corroborated by the long list of injuries including a pubic fracture for Annemiek van Vleuten. Of the 129 runners who left Denain for the 116.4 km race to Roubaix, 24 did not finish – an attrition rate of 18.6% – while only 61 completed it in the allotted time. (47.28%).