Women’s Pro Cycling Gets Its Own Paris-Roubaix—And It’s About Time

As the UCI announced the revised 2020 WorldTour calendar, eagle-eyed observers spotted a welcome addition: a women's Paris-Roubaix.

By Jessica Coulon |

  • The women’s pro peloton will get their own Paris-Roubaix, set to take place on October 25 as a prologue before the men’s race.
  • The announcement came as part of UCI’s revised calendars for the men’s and women’s WorldTour teams.
  • The Paris-Roubaix is one of the five Monuments of the sport, and the addition of a women’s race is significant progress for women’s pro cycling.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has announced the revised men’s and women’s WorldTour calendar, and tucked within that was some pretty big news: women professional cyclists are finally getting their own Paris-Roubaix.

The men’s Paris-Roubaix, first held in 1896, is one of the five Monuments—the sport’s oldest, toughest, and most prestigious races. The race is known for its velodrome finish, along with sections of cobblestones throughout that are often so brutal, it’s earned the nickname “the Hell of the North.”

Now, 124 years later, the women will finally have their chance to compete on those same iconic cobbles.

“It was in the pipeline and we have been pushing very hard. There is no reason not to have a Paris-Roubaix for women and we have had good, productive messages from ASO on this,” UCI President David Lappartient said to Voxwomen.

Typically held in early April, the men’s race was postponed due to the spreading coronavirus pandemic, along with most of the WorldTour races since then.

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The women’s Paris-Roubaix was not originally on the calendar for the 2020 season. On the revised calendar, the women’s edition will serve as a prologue to the men’s race, with the revised date set for October 25 this year.

The UCI had announced some revised dates previously on April 15, with a focus on the Tour de France and several other prominent events. That announcement however did not include any revised dates for the women’s WorldTour. Days later, The Cyclist’s Alliance—a support and advocacy organisation for women pro cyclists—called upon the UCI for “adequate representation” for the women’s peloton.

“The new calendar will preserve the exceptional character of the 2020 season, marked by the professionalization of women’s road cycling with the introduction of UCI Women’s WorldTeams and new major measures such as a minimum salary for cyclists in these teams, live TV coverage of all events in the series and the integration of a women’s version of Paris-Roubaix, at the initiative of the UCI in collaboration with ASO,” the UCI stated in the press release.

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Along with the new Paris-Roubaix, the UCI included new dates for La Course, the women’s Giro d’Italia, and more. The revised women’s WorldTour season is currently set to recommence on August 1 with the Strade Bianche.

READ MORE ON: Paris Roubaix pro cycling Women in Cycling

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