Letizia Borghesi’s brave ride at Paris-Roubaix Femmes

Italian sprints to 13th. Last year’s champ Alison Jackson set back by crashes

April 6, 2024

Five kilometers from the Roubaix Velodrome, the front of the Hell of the North was 20 seconds up the road.

Letizia Borghesi ducked her head to the side and kicked down through her pedals, marking the sprinters in her group. She’d fought her way back into the race after a chaotic start, which left her teammate, last year’s champion, Alison Jackson behind in a chasing group. Letizia rode onto the track a half lap behind the leaders. She just stuck her elbows out and pushed with all she had left to the line. Her sprint was good for 13th—her best-ever result in a monument.

The Queen of the Classics hadn’t gone to plan for EF Education-Cannondale, but our team rolled with the punches and rode away from the Roubaix velodrome with their heads held high.

‘It was a good performance,” Letizia said on the infield after her sprint. “In the beginning, I dropped my chain and was thinking I was going to be out of the race, but then I kept fighting really hard. I made a huge effort to come back to the first group and then I kept fighting until the finish line.”

Last year’s champion Alison Jackson applauds the grit that Letizia showed in this year’s edition. Her own chances were scuppered by crashes early in the cobbled classic.

“There was a lot of chaos out there today,” she said. “That is how it is. That is exactly what I expected. The wind made it really hard and you had to be in a good position. I always said that if I had a clean run with no mechanicals or crashes I could win. That was what happened last year. This year, I came down twice, got pushed over on some gravel sections. That is why we love and hate this race.”

Letizia sure loves Paris-Roubaix. Once she made it back to the front, she used her cyclocross skills to surf onto each cobbled sector on the wheels of the biggest names in the sport, showing them that she belonged with them, and then gritted her teeth and rattled over the stones.

Those efforts had cost her after 148.5 kilometers and 17 sectors of pavé.

“I was hoping to do a better sprint but the energy was low at the finish and I just couldn’t,” Letizia said, “but it is for sure a big performance that gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”

We’re already looking forward to the next Paris-Roubaix Femmes. First up, is tomorrow’s men’s edition of the monument.

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