(Roubaix) The Canadian Alison Jackson created a huge surprise on Saturday by winning the third edition of Paris-Roubaix women after an unbridled race, marked by numerous falls.
Pink bob on the head, the 34-year-old Canadian threw her last strength into the battle to lift the heavy cobblestone offered to the winner of the prestigious classic, before embracing her tenderly, overjoyed.
“When we did the reconnaissance of the course this week and went around the velodrome, I was dreaming of this victory. Most of the time it remains a dream. It is unreal that it becomes reality. I have no words,” said the EF Education team rider who took by far the greatest victory of her career, which she celebrated with a dance just off the bike.
She had not won since her national title in the Canadian Road Championship in September 2021.
Coming from the strong morning break of eighteen riders, she managed to resist the return of the favorites, delayed by falls. She sprinted a small group of six survivors, the seventh, Femke Markus, falling on the last lap on the Roubaix velodrome.
Very active throughout the day, she was ahead of the Italian Katia Ragusa and the Belgian Marthe Truyen, as well as two Frenchwomen Eugénie Duval (FDJ-Suez) and Marion Borras.
“I wanted to weigh in on this race, to be at the front. In this kind of race you have to avoid bad luck, it would have been a shame to lose after such a long breakaway,” added Jackson.
Behind, the favorites, including the Belgian Lotte Kopecky (7th) and the Dutch Marianne Vos (10th), cut the finish twelve seconds behind the Canadian.
It’s a new disappointment in Roubaix for Kopecky, who had just won the Tour of Flanders, and his powerful SD Worx team which, after winning most of the classics so far, fails once again to win on the cobbles from the Hell of the North.
The Flemish, on the attack 50 km from the finish and visibly very leggy, was involved in a big fall 36 km from the finish when she tried to come back on the breakaway with a group of pursuers.
She then tried to come back, approaching with her group less than ten seconds into the final, but without succeeding in completely closing the hole.
“The race was very tough, I had a tough time today,” she said.