Mathieu van der Poel and Lotte Kopecky Conquer 2024 Paris-Roubaix in Rainbow Colors

121st paris roubaix 2024
2024 Paris-Roubaix | Race Report and ResultsPool - Getty Images

[table-of-contents] stripped

The grueling battle on the cobbles saw double rainbows this Saturday and Sunday as World Champions dominated the infamous Spring Classic.

Mathieu van der Poel of Alpecin-Deceuninck crossed the line unchallenged following a 59-kilometer attack the day after Lotte Kopecky of SD Worx-Protime won Paris-Roubaix Femmes from a six-up sprint.

This is the second time Van der Poel claims victory in the prestigious Roubaix Velodrome on a day filled with intense action and drama. Second place was Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck), and Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) was third.

This is the third Spring Classics race won by Alpecin-Deceuninck this season. It was the fastest-ever edition of Paris-Roubaix with Van der Poel averaging 47.85 kilometers per hour for 260 km—1 kilometer per hour faster than his previous record, which was set last year.

“It is hard to believe. The team was stronger than last year. I’m super proud of the boys and happy to finish it off,” said Van der Poel in the post-race interview.

When asked if his 59-kilometer attack was planned, he said. “No, not really. I wanted to make the race hard from there on because I knew that was my strength, and I felt super good today. I knew it was a tailwind to the finish line for the most part. I had a really good day.”

“I never could have dreamt of this as a child. I was super motivated for this year. I wanted to show the jersey in a nice way. It goes beyond expectations. I’m a bit loss for words,” the World Champion added.

121st paris roubaix 2024
Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) in second place, race winner Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) in third place pose on the podium ceremony after the 121st Paris-Roubaix 2024.Dario Belingheri - Getty Images

Saturday’s Paris-Roubaix Femmes was an entirely different race from the 2023 edition, with a lead group featuring multiple World Champions and six racers who all could handily win a race like Paris-Roubaix. But it was reigning World Champion Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) who played the race flawlessly from the early moments, including an on-bike handlebar adjustment to a picture-perfect sprint finish. Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) finished second, and Pfeiffer Georgi (dsm-firmenich PostNL) third.

“This was the goal of the season,” said Kopecky in the post-race interview. “The confidence the team has given me the whole season, but especially this week—they made me laugh as much as possible, and they made me feel like I could win this race.”

“It’s always nervous. You are here with two very fast sprinters, Vos and Balsamo, so you’re never sure. One moment, I thought, ‘Now I’m boxed in,’ and I had to start the sprint pretty early, but I could keep sprinting,” the Belgian added.

Kopecky is the first woman to win Paris-Roubaix Femmes in the World Champion colors.

4th paris roubaix femmes 2024
Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) in second place, race winner Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime), and Pfeiffer Georgi (dsm-firmenich PostNL) in third place pose on the podium ceremony after the 4th Paris-Roubaix Femmes 2024.Luc Claessen - Getty Images

How Paris-Roubaix unfolded

As the peloton rolled out from Compiègne, anticipation was heavy. Riders knew they would face a true test of grit and endurance across 29 punishing cobblestone sectors spanning nearly 260 kilometers. Among the favorites were Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck), alongside stars like Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek), and Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers).

Numerous attempts at breakaways were made throughout the early kilometers, but it wasn’t until Kasper Asgreen (Lidl-Trek) made his move that a serious threat to the peloton formed. Asgreen, along with a select group of riders, including Per Strand Hagenes (Visma-Lease a Bike), Marco Haller (Bora-hansgrohe), and Rasmus Tiller (Uno X-Mobility), managed to carve out a gap, signaling the beginning of a strategic battle.

Behind them, the peloton, led by Alpecin-Deceuninck, remained vigilant, unwilling to let the breakaway gain too much ground. The dynamic changed continuously as attacks and counterattacks peppered the race, with each rider jockeying for position on the unforgiving roads.

Van der Poel positioned himself strategically throughout the race. His Alpecin-Deceuninck team worked tirelessly to control the pace and keep him in contention. Despite challenges like punctures and crashes that plagued some riders, Van der Poel remained focused on staying near the front of the race.

As the race entered its decisive phase, Van der Poel showed his prowess, leading a chase group that gradually reeled in the leaders. With each cobblestone sector, the tension mounted, and the gaps narrowed.

Ineos-Grenadiers rider disqualified

Josh Tarling (Ineos Grenadiers) was disqualified from the race after taking an illegal tow from his team car following a puncture. Tarling was part of the select 30-rider front group, which formed after Alpecin-Deceuninck forced the pace for Van der Poel with 150km to go.

After an impressive performance from the young Brit at Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Tour of Flanders, his race ended early with 130km to go when he was officially disqualified by race commissaries and visibly disappointed.

60 kilometers to go

With 59 km to go, Van der Poel unleashed a blistering attack on the Mons-en-Pévèle sector, leaving his rivals struggling to respond. Behind him, the chase group fractured, unable to match Van der Poel’s relentless pace. Riders like Pedersen and Pidcock fought bravely but couldn’t close the gap. Philipsen, meanwhile, was happy to sit in the group while his teammate Van der Poel stormed away from the group.

With his lead approaching almost a minute, Van der Poel’s victory seemed increasingly inevitable. As he navigated sector 10, his lead grew to over one minute and thirty seconds. His lead extended to 2 minutes and 46 seconds as he finished sector 9 unscathed. Despite attempts by the chase group to close the gap, Van der Poel’s lead remained substantial.

10 kilometers to go

With just 10 kilometers to go, Van der Poel’s lead continued at over 2 minutes. And despite the efforts of the chasers, including Pedersen, Küng, and Politt, Philipsen maintained a strong position for the podium.

Van der Poel navigated Carrefour de l’Arbre with ease, extending his lead to 2 minutes and 46 seconds. However, a crash for Laurence Pithien (Groupama–FDJ) interrupts the chase behind them as he loses control on a corner.

Philipsen makes a decisive attack on sector 3, putting pressure on the chasers. Despite no attacks from the chase group, Pithie and Vermeersch struggle to bridge the gap, trailing by almost 30 seconds.

With a lead holding steady at about 2 minutes and 50 seconds, Van der Poel’s advantage was remarkable, reminiscent of his Tour of Flanders win. As the race entered the final kilometers, Van der Poel faced only two more sectors, both relatively tame.

As the tension mounted in the chase group behind, it was evident that only two podium spots remained, leaving one rider disappointed. Van der Poel smoothly navigated Sector 2, inching closer to a worry-free finish.

Van der Poel’s dominance continued as he began to relax and celebrate, even sharing a fist bump with his team car. Meanwhile, Küng fell further behind after being distanced by Philipsen’s earlier attack.

At the velodrome

Once at the Roubaix Velodrome, Van der Poel crossed the finish line with exactly a three-minute margin—the biggest the race has seen in 22 years. This is also his sixth monument victory, putting him inside the top sixteen riders to ever do so, joining the likes of Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara, and Johan Museeuw. Van der Poel is the first rider since Cancellara in 2013 to win both the Tour of Flanders and Roubaix in the same season.

Behind him, the group of three, consisting of Philipsen, Pedersen, and Politt, entered the velodrome for the sprint. Stefan Kung trailed seconds behind. Following the ring of the bell, Politt attacked first, but Philipsen came around the German for a 1-2 win, and Pedersen finished in third place.

For Jasper Philipsen this has been another great result in what has been an exceptional spring. He’s now won Milano-Sanremo and Brugge-De Panne, and made the podium at Paris-Roubaix.

How Paris-Roubaix Femmes unfolded

One-hundred thirty-nine riders took to the start in Denain on a warm, almost sunny day—definitely not your usual cobbled classic weather! The crosswinds were brutal, though, and riders spread across the cobbles, buffeted by 18 mph wind gusts.

Early in the race, there were some minor crashes, including Coryn Labecki (EF Education–Cannondale) and last year’s winner Alison Jackson (EF Education-Cannondale). Still, there were no major catastrophes, and all the riders made it back onto their bikes, though Jackson required a bike change and was forced to chase. Small breaks attempted to ride away early, but the peloton quickly swallowed them up.

At 15 kilometers, Victoire Joncheray of Komugi-Grand Est launched a solo attack, growing her gap to an impressive 1:50. She held her solo lead for over 20 kilometers before getting caught by the peloton as Jackson caught up from behind.

At kilometer 66, the first cobbled section of the race, from Hornaing to Wandignies. The peloton entered the 3.7km stretch of cobbles together, jockeying for position. SD Worx-Protime’s Lotte Kopecky—one of the top contenders for the win—controlled the pace at the front. Team dsm-firmenich also wanted to control the race, with Rachele Barbieri attacking at the front. Visma-Lease-a-Bike’s Marianne Vos also moved towards the front, using her cyclocross skills to fly over the cobbles.

Live coverage thankfully began with 80 kilometers of racing to go. As riders hit the road between the cobbled sectors, the peloton swarmed and bunched, jockeying for position. The pace seemed higher than you would typically see with 80 kilometers to go, with key riders clearly trying to stay close to the front after the early crashes in the day.

Strategic moves and on-the-fly adjustments

As they hit the fourth cobbled section, Kopecky attacked, spreading the peloton out across the cobbles, stringing out riders behind her. Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) stayed close as Vos accelerated to jump from the peloton into the newly formed lead group. While no serious breakaway had formed once the riders hit the pavement again, the peloton had certainly broken up quite a bit, with a group of 15 in the front and a large chase group close behind.

Jackson attacked out of the front group, with Lidl-Trek’s Ellen Van Dijk covering the move instantly. In the short sector 14 (Beuvry-la-Forêt to Orchies), the chase group worked to make that connection to the lead group as Van Dijk took control of the front of the race. A drone shot showed riders stretched across the entirety of the sector. Kopecky had a bike issue at 61 kilometers to go, asking the team car for an Allen key as she impressively tightened her handlebars on the fly.

Kopecky quickly raced her way back up to the lead group, moving towards the front just as the lead group hit Sector 13, the 1.7-kilometer Orchies segment, lead by Visma Lease-a-Bike’s Sophie Von Berswordt. Following the sector, the pace settled at the front as the peloton came back together.

At 53 kilometers to go, Kopecky made another attack on the cobbles, this time joined by her teammate Lorena Wiebes, who almost instantly began to struggle with a bike issue, Vos, Christina Schweinberger, and Pfeiffer Georgi. As Wiebes struggled with her bike, Vos attacked, bringing the lead group of four to a gap of 10 seconds.

Behind them, several riders, including FDJ Suez’s Grace Brown and two Human Powered Health riders, struggled with flats on the tricky cobbled section. The attack was reabsorbed into the dwindling peloton, forming a lead group of about 25 riders. Riders, including Kopecky and Van Dijk, tested small attacks, but they were quickly contained by the strong riders in the lead group.

FDJ-Suez’s Jade Wiel attacked out of Sector 8, building a slight advantage as Tiffany Cromwell of Canyon SRAM led the chasers. Wiel’s advantage grew to 10 seconds before Kopecky moved to the front, with Vos tight on her wheel. Van Dijk counterattacked, but FDJ-Suez moved into the lead group to cover moves as their rider moved up the road. Wiel’s advantage grew to over 20 seconds as Kopecky made a stop at the team car to pick up extra bottles. Wiel’s lead continued to extend, hitting 30 seconds with just under 28 kilometers and a few sectors of gravel of racing left.

20 kilometers to go

At the front of the chase group, Vos and Kopecky looked around, and Van Dijk attacked the group, aiming to shut down Wiel’s attack. But the FDJ riders hopped on her wheel, dropping the efficacy of Van Dijk’s attack. Wiel’s advantage dropped to 10 seconds, but then began to grow again. But in sector 6—Bourghelles to Wannehain—Wiel’s was reabsorbed into the lead group as Visma Lease-a-Bike and Van Dijk brought her back with FDJ’s Amber Kraak close behind. Van Dijk and Kraak both dropped into the time trial position, creating yet another small gap off the front.

Kraak and Van Dijk quickly extended their small gap as FDJ continued to play defense in the front of the race. As the gap grew to 15 seconds, the Visma Lease-a-Bike and SD Worx riders seemed unbothered by the two-woman attack, though the peloton’s pace accelerated as they hit the cobbles yet again.

Kopecky moved to the front and attacked with Balsamo, Georgi, and Vos on her wheel. The gap to the leaders quickly came down as Georgi fell off the pace and dropped back. Thanks to Kopecky’s massive surge, the gap to the rest of the peloton stretched aggressively in mere moments. The trio closed on Kraak and Van Dijk, putting two Lidl-Trek riders in the lead group with 18 kilometers to go.

10 kilometers to go

Van Dijk let into Carrefour de l’Arbre, and the group of five maintained a strong lead on the peloton as Georgi tried to claw her way back, only eight seconds behind. Balsamo started to separate slightly from the lead group, struggling to hold the pace. Georgi made contact with Balsamo, passing her in her quest to connect to the leaders.

At the front, the riders struggled to pull together, as Van Dijk didn’t want to pull since Balsamo and Georgi were coming close to bridging up to the group. Balsamo and Georgi closed the gap, and immediately, Van Dijk attacked, with Vos staying tight to her wheel. The group of six stayed together as they hit 10 kilometers of racing to go, 40 seconds ahead of the chasers.

With eight kilometers to go, the group’s advantage shrunk to 25 seconds as the riders at the front struggled to work together cohesively. As the gap dropped to 20 seconds to a chase group of 10, including Wiebes and Borghesi, Kraak worked at the front, seemingly trying to press their advantage as Kopecky calmly sat on her wheel.

At five kilometers, the gap was just under 20 seconds as Kraak attacked, then Van Dijk with Kopecky and Vos on her wheel, Georgi and Balsamo staying tight behind. Behind them, the group of chasers tried to bridge up, but couldn’t seem to make any headway. The lead group’s 20-second gap was still in place at 2.5 kilometers to go, as the six racers started to focus on being prepared for the finish sprint while maintaining their gap. Van Dijk took a pull on the front with Vos right on her wheel, and they hit the final small cobble sector.

The final sprint

The group of six—nearly all World Champions—hit the velodrome together, preparing for the final sprint.

The bell rang for one lap to go. Georgi was the first to go, followed by Vos, but it was Kopecky coming from the back and around the other riders to take her first-ever Paris-Roubaix Femmes win. “This was the goal of the season,” said Kopecky in the post-race interview. “It’s always nervous. You are here with two very fast sprinters, Vos and Balsamo, so you’re never sure. One moment, I thought, ‘Now I’m boxed in,’ and I had to start the sprint pretty early, but I could keep sprinting”

2024 Paris-Roubaix Top 10

  1. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 5:25.58

  2. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) +3:00

  3. Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) "

  4. Nils Politt (UAE Team Emirates) "

  5. Stefan Kung (Groupama-FDJ) +3:15

  6. Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Deceuninck) +3:47

  7. Laurence Pithie (Groupama-FDJ) +3:48

  8. Tim Van Dijke (Visma-Lease a Bike) +4:45

  9. Jordi Meeus (Bora-H=hansgrohe) +4:47

  10. Soren Waersenskjold (Uno X-Mobility) "

2024 Paris-Roubaix Femmes Top 10

  1. Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) 03:47:1302

  2. Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) + 0003"

  3. Pfeiffer Georgi (dsm-firmenich PostNL) + 0004"

  4. Marianne Vos(Visma-Lease a Bike) + 0005"

  5. Amber Kraak (FDJ-SUEZ) + 0006"

  6. Ellen van Dijk (Lidl-Trek) + 0607"

  7. Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx-Protime) + 2808"

  8. Victoire Berteau (Cofidis Women Team) + 2809"

  9. Marie le Net FDJ-SUEZ + 2810

  10. Kim Le Court (AG Insurance-Soudal) + 28"

You Might Also Like