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Deignan makes historical past by successful first ladies’s Paris Roubaix

Oct 2 (Reuters) – Britain’s Lizzie Deignan rode to a landmark victory within the inaugural Paris Roubaix Femmes as rain, mud and crashes made it a memorable debut for the world’s greatest feminine riders over the notorious cobbled course on Saturday.

The former world champion produced a dominant journey over the 115.6km course and held off a robust late surge by Dutch nice Marianne Vos to win by one minute and 17 seconds.

“I feel incredibly proud,” Deignan, who provides the maiden Paris Roubaix to her different notable triumphs together with final yr’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege, stated.

“Women’s cycling is at this turning point, and today is part of history. It proves the appetite for women’s cycling and that the riders can do one of the hardest races in the world.”

“Today I was the third rider (in the team) and I had to be in the front at the first cobbled section to protect my leaders. But then I saw there was a gap so I just kept going.”

After three circuits round Denain, Trek Segafredo rider Deignan established a small lead over the pack simply earlier than the primary of 17 cobbled sections with greater than 80km remaining.

With riders struggling to organise a concerted chase, lots of them slithering over on the greasy cobbles, former world champion Deignan powered right into a commanding lead.

With 30km remaining the Trek-Segafredo rider held a lead of two minutes 30 seconds over a bunch together with Vos (Jumbo Visma), staff mate Audrey Cordon-Ragot and Germany’s Lisa Brennauer (Ceratizit-WNT).

Deignan, dealing with the bone-shaking “pave” cobblestones with aplomb, maintained her benefit as a number of fancied riders together with European champion Ellen van Dijk crashed closely.

Vos lastly put the hammer right down to attempt to catch Deignan, slicing into the lead as she powered by means of the Carrefour de L’Arbre cobbled part.

Vos closed the hole to 1:18 as Deignan started the ultimate 10km, however Deignan proved unshakeable out entrance because the famed Roubaix velodrome end approached.

Deignan was to this point forward that the finale contained in the Roubaix velodrome resembled a lap of honour because the Yorkshire rider wrote her identify into the biking historical past books.

Vos completed greater than a minute behind, with Deignan’s staff mate Elisa Longo Borghini in third place.

Organisers ASO, who additionally personal the Tour de France, added a ladies’s model of the 125-year-old Paris Roubaix final yr, however the COVID-19 pandemic meant they needed to wait one other yr to journey the so-called Hell of the North.

The debut for the Paris Roubaix Femmes race and for a ladies’s Tour de France subsequent yr are seen as steps ahead within the lengthy battle for gender equality in skilled biking, though there stays a protracted strategy to go.

While Sunday’s males’s race over an extended distance boasts a complete prize pot of 91,000 euros, the ladies’s race has solely 7,505 euros with Deignan receiving 1,535 euros – about 1/twentieth of what the winner of the boys’s race will take dwelling.

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Hugh Lawson

British cyclist Lizzie Armitstead-Deignan talks with her husband Sky rider Philip Deignan before the start of the 7th stage of Paris Nice cycling race, in Nice, France March 11, 2017.              REUTERS/Eric Gaillard