For the second year in a row at Paris-Roubaix Femmes, the solo winner in the Velodrome André Pétrieux was a Trek-Segafredo rider, and for the second year in a row the winner hailed the race as another step forward for women's cycling.
Last time out it was Lizzie Deignan who triumphed, later praising her team for "pushing boundaries" as they matched prize money between their male and female squads. On Saturday, Elisa Longo Borghini noted that the press attention for the second edition of the race was another step forward.
Following her race-winning 32km solo move, Longo Borghini told the assembled press that there has been more and more attention on women's cycling, something that was reflected in the number of journalists present at the finish.
"Surely it's the next step," she said, noting that only the World Championships had received as much attention as this second edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes. "I think there's more and more attention from the media on women's cycling and I think it's what we deserve because I think today it was a display of a great race.
"I'm really looking forward to the Tour de France Femmes because it's going to be really huge for women's cycling," she added. "I always try to say that the Tour is returning – we don't have to forget history, because there were many women riding in the past and we're thankful to them."
Longo Borghini crossed the line solo after making her winning move on the Templeuve cobbled sector, the 10th of the day, some three-quarters of the way into the race. She jumped just after a dangerous move involving Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx), Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ), and teammate Lucinda Brand had been caught, quickly shaking off Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) before going it alone.
Despite pace-making and attacks from SD Worx in the chase, Longo Borghini held what had for most of her ride looked like a slim advantage all the way to Roubaix, triumphing 23 seconds before Kopecky led the chase home, and knocking on her helmet in celebration.
"I'm a very stubborn person," Longo Borghini said later, explaining the gesture. "And since my spring wasn't ideal I was a bit angry. We say in Italian that I'm a bit of a 'wood head' because my head is really tough.
"I was like, yeah that's my tough head that brought me here. But in the end, it wasn't only that – it's the amazing work of my teammates and staff, who aren't always in the highlights, and the good morale my family and boyfriend give me."
Longo Borghini, who has endured a tough spring after being hit by sinusitis, skipping Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl last week as a result, said that her winning move wasn't part of a pre-race plan – not that it's particularly possible to make proper plans for a race like Paris-Roubaix.
"That was pure instinct actually," she said. "I saw the breakaway was caught and I thought it was a good move to be on the front and put Lucinda in the best position to follow wheels and make SD Worx chase me. I went full from then on, and I can't believe it.
"The weather conditions were completely different [to last year] But it wasn't an easy race. There was a lot of dust on the road and the cobbles especially. When its dry people are daring too much. This is also why I like to go alone, so I can choose my lines. It was different but not any safer. It's Roubaix – that's it."
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.
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