Paris Roubaix 2019

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!!!SYRT Win in Roubaix!!!

SYRT took one rider to the Youth Paris Roubaix this year Abbey Thompson. Abbey has had a good year to date in Under 10s. She has won every race she has finished including the U10 girls National Championships, the National Youth Series Road Race in the Isle of Man along with many more. The pinnacle of Abbeys season was a weekend trip to France and back (referred to as a bounce) last weekend.

We had to get to the hotel early Saturday afternoon, change, then find the start of the course, recce the Paris Roubaix course (including exactly where to start, lines though the neutralised zone, how to make a decisive break, how to deal with the top international riders fighting for the win, how to stay relaxed and not stress and above all… “self-belief”. Then it was back to the hotel by 9pm, eat, sleep and be up by 07:30 to eat breakfast, pack the car, check out of the hotel and drive into Roubaix some 20 miles away to sign on. Unfortunately, even the locals didn’t understand the race, so no helpful answers. The toilet signs at Roubaix existed, which started off being promising, but they were circular which infuriated even the French riders. The bottom-line being there were no toilets.

Once signed on, we took the option to not mess and drive straight to the start. We used our own prepared food and drink, rather than take a chance with upset tummies. We arrived into the village of Chereng, where the start appeared to be. Once at Chereng we soon made friends with the famous Maindy Flyers, who we had met in other racers during the season, the French team with national and regional, as well as department champions (I need to google that), as well as lovely Dutch riders and families etc. Our one common theme was that no-one knew what the heck was happening and we had to literally prize the information from the officials, who to be fair were lovely people

Two hours to go, we found a building site with an unofficial Portaloo hidden on site, behind Team Frances awnings. A few beers exchanged, as currency, and the loo’s were now marshalled by Team France with access to the British riders given. This turned out to be quite a big deal and gave the Brits some Kudos.

There was a lot of posturing, team riders swarming of the local village centres etc going on.

1 hr to go and nearly all of the riders were making mistakes in the 32-35 degrees of heat. Abbey played it cool, and did her standard prep. The start was neutralised, so it was important to work out where to be in the role out. The girls started at the same time as the boys, but were allowed to start at the front of the 80 plus field. The race was very professional looking with motor cycle out riders, commissaires car, and general convoy. At the last minute the organisers realised that they needed to get a police car from the back of the stationary peloton to the front…. on a narrow road. The shuffle took about 10 mins with a lot of smiling parents. The riders rolled out at quite a pace.

Parents were not allowed to follow the course which caused a bit of mayhem getting back to Roubaix before the riders.
Back to the race, Abbey took her first planned attack, which turned out to be decisive. She reached the first of three sections of Pave (very, very tough cobbles) in first place.

We know boys are faster than girls, so it was only a matter of time before the faster boys passed Abbey, which happened during the first cobbled section. Abbey then pushed hard utilising the lines the boys used ahead, as she was not that familiar with the course. Over the short 10Km course Abbey maintained first place with a 30 second gap all the way to the last 2Kms. We think the marshals expected the riders to know whereto go, but at 2k to go there was a fork in the road that she hadn’t seen on our recce ride the previous day. After some waved arms and a foot down, the marshals saw the issue and pointed the way to go. The gap to 2nd place had reduced, but Abbey has been taught to not panic and got back into her rhythm and pushed hard into the famous Roubaix Velodrome.
I managed to park 2Kms from the stadium and missed Abbey winning, but found her and she told her story.

The presentations came straight after the U23s finished with British World champion, Tom Pidcock, winning his race. Abbey received a lovely presentation and a jovial mention alongside Tom Pidcock that made her smile.

We then literally rushed home with Abbey laden with flowers, a piece of Pave and a Trophy.

Next year we should have a strong team out there and hopefully more success.

The team is always looking for more riders, so contact us if you are interested in joining in the fun.

The team is always looking for more riders, so contact us if you are interested in joining in the fun.

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