Today, the professional men’s peloton raced over the cobblestones of Northern France in an event totally unique to the professional road calendar. The farm tracks of Paris-Roubaix are tougher and less ridable than any other surface the pros race across. It’s arguably the season’s most anticipated race because it’s a distinct character. But there isn’t a women’s race, something that certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by passionate cycling fans.
Specialized released their newly updated Roubaix ahead of Sunday’s Hell of the North. Unlike the race, they immediately have a women’s model available. In a video posted across social media at the release, Boels-Dolman riders Chantal Blaak, Christian Majures and Anna van der Breggen are seen riding over the rough cobbles of the Forest of Arenberg, the most famous section in the men’s race.
In the ad, a man’s voice says in French, “They call me the most punishing stage of the race. 2.4 km of pain. For many domestiques I signal the finish line but the leaders get no such relief. They call me brutal. Gruelling. On, and I am.”
The voice continues to describe the bone-rattling nature of the cobbles. The riders, “I challenge every rider to take me on. Man or woman. It makes no difference to me.”
The ad finishes with the words, “The Roubaix is no longer just for men. The race shouldn’t be either.” written across an aerial shot of the three women navigating the cobbles of Arenberg.
On Sunday, Belgian Philippe Gilbert won the 2019 Paris-Roubaix ahead of German Nils Politt and Belgian champion Yves Lampaert. The biggest race on the women’s calendar was the five-stage Healthy Ageing Tour in the Netherlands which wrapped up with 22-year-old Lisa Klein winning the race overall ahead of Ellen van Dijk and Kirsten Wild.