Rain, cobbles, and plenty of mud lie ahead for Saturday's inaugural women's Paris Roubaix
September 30, 2021
Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank will be a part of history this Saturday when the squad signs on to compete in the first edition of the women's Paris-Roubaix. Initially slated for 2020 but canceled due to Covid-19, the 116.4km "Hell of the North" features 17 cobbled sectors, which begin early in the route.
"Being part of the inaugural women’s Paris Roubaix is something really special for the whole team," team director Rachel Hedderman said. "Not just the riders but also the staff, everyone involved, feels the magnitude of what we are a part of. Today was our third recon of the course, after the last 2 postponed editions, and each time we ride the iconic cobbles that define this historic race the excitement and anticipation grows."
Kristen Faulkner will be back in action at Paris Roubaix this Saturday. Photo/Twila Muzzi
With rain in the forecast for Saturday, October 2, the peloton will have a tremendous battle ahead on the Mons-en-Pévèle and the Carrefour de l'Arbre, two of the five famous five-star cobbled pave sectors located along the men's Paris Roubaix parcours. The inaugural women's Paris Roubaix will also finish in the iconic Roubaix Velodrome.
"We've become better every race riding together as a team, which helps our positioning into critical sections," Kristen Faulkner said. "Positioning will be essential for Paris Roubaix because the roads are narrow and flat, which means there won't be much opportunity to move forward if one of us is stuck in the back. The cobbles are pretty gnarly, so I imagine there will be mechanicals throughout the peloton, and it is important to stay towards the front, so none of us get caught behind a standstill.
"This will be an iconic race with many fans out to watch the first-ever women's edition, so I expect to have a lot of fun too."
Faulkner will race alongside teammates Veronica Ewers, Nicole Frain, Nina Kessler, Tanja Erath, and Lauren Stephens.
"Team-wise, we have a really strong group," Ewers said. "I've had the pleasure of racing with Nina, Nicole, and Lauren previously, and I look forward to racing with Tanja and Kristen for the first time. With this group, I definitely expect to put up a fight for the first-ever women's Roubaix winning title."
"Personally, I don't want to have too many expectations for myself going into Paris Roubaix," Ewers said. "This course is a different beast than anything I've ever faced. I want to go in and successfully execute whatever role I am given while also continuing to learn how to navigate the peloton, particularly on cobbles. I still can't believe I have the privilege and opportunity to race in the first-ever women's Paris Roubaix. To say that I'm nervous is quite an understatement, but I'm also so excited!"
How to watch
The race will be broadcast live on Eurosport 1 and GCN at 3:15 p.m. CEST (6:15 a.m. PST). Check the website for updated schedule times.