Who will succeed Lizzie Deignan and Elisa Longo Borghini in 2023 as the winner of Paris–Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift? Once again, the world cycling elite will shine on the cobblestones of the Nord department, making the crowds go wild and adding a new page to the legend of cycling. Welcome to the city that transformed its thousand chimneys and old industrial bastions into fertile ground for creativity, experimentation and innovation.
Roubaix, a land of cycling… and soft mobility
The long-running connection between Roubaix and cycling is epitomised by the Paris–Roubaix classic The city is home to the Parc des Sports, a cycling venue like no other in Europe. Its main site is the historic André Pétrieux Velodrome, where the legends of cycling proudly hold the fabled cobblestone trophy of Paris–Roubaix aloft. There is also the Jean Stablinski regional indoor velodrome, which hosted the 2021 UCI Track Cycling World Championships and the 2023 French Track Championships. Last but not least, the BMX circuit is where the annual BMX Open takes place. The Vélo Club de Roubaix and its Continental team, which flies the flag for pro cycling, are also part and parcel of city life.
The city has also been adding more bicycle lanes and paths regularly and they now span the entire municipality. It also boasts a public bicycle sharing system completed by City Hall in 2021, with 500 bicycles and e-scooters available from over 150 stations in the city. Finally, Roubaix is heavily sport-oriented and proud of its "Terre d'Excellence Cycliste" and "Terre de Jeux 2024" labels, as well as its 3-laurel wreath "Ville active et sportive" rating and its 2-bicycle "Tour de France Cycle City" rating.
A city of art and history
The history and heritage of Roubaix are worth exploring and sharing. The award of the "City of art and history" label in 2001 spurred on new efforts to write and rewrite history. In Roubaix, heritage is so much more than just old stones. It also impregnates the everyday life of Roubaisiens. Roubaix delivers on its promise with La Piscine Museum, which welcomes 250,000 visitors a year, as well as reimagined spaces such as La Condition Publique, a real laboratory for culture and social, urban and environmental innovation.
There are, of course, other must-see places such as La Manufacture (a textile history museum), the churches of Saint Joseph and Saint Martin, the Motte-Bossut factory, the City Hall and Parc Barbieux, the largest urban park to the north of Paris.
Located 2 hours from Paris, 1 and a half hours from Brussels and 45 minutes from Lille, Denain is a land of contrasts. This green and blue town, packed with trees and crossed by the Scheldt Canal, is at the junction of a road and river network that puts it in a prime location in the heart of the Hauts-de-France region. The ongoing revitalisation of the Pierre Blanches area unlocks the full potential of Denain as a trimodal hub.
The former capital of coal and steel still boasts a rich architectural and historical heritage from its mining and industrial heyday, including a couple of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Its majestic Italian-style theatre is a 1/5 replica of the Opéra Garnier, while its festival hall stands as a symbol of the town's prosperity and growth at the turn of the 20th century. However, Denain's greatest asset are its human values. Its sharp values were forged in the fires of industry: first, an appreciation of effort through work, then, solidarity in everyday life, and finally, respect for people of all origins and social status.
Numerous athletes have embodied this state of mind: The legendary Jean Degros, Hervé Dubuisson and Valéry Demory from the Denain Voltaire basketball club, which now plays in the Pro B league; Fabien Gilot, a gold winner in the 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay at the 2012 Olympic Games; the ladies of the Tennis Club de Denain, who secured the French team championship in 2012 and 2014; and many others who continue to make Denain a hotspot of competitors!
The town boasts modern and attractive sports facilities such as the NaturéO water park, the Yannick Noah tennis center and the Bayard stadium. It received the "Ville active et sportive" label in 2022 and has also been named a "Terre de Jeux 2024", highlighting its ambition to be part of the adventure of the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games. Yet Denain is and has always been a land of cycling. The Grand Prix de Denain, a UCI ProSeries race first run in 1959, is an unmissable annual event that draws the best pro riders. Denain has also hosted the start of Paris–Roubaix Femmes since 2021. Starting from the Town Hall forecourt, the world's top female cyclists will do three laps around the city before taking the same route as their male counterparts.
Diversion for sector no. 17 (Hornaing) In Hornaing (km 62.2), continue on D81 towards Wandignies-Hamage and merge back onto the course at km 67.
Diversion for sector no. 13 (Orchies) At the exit from Orchies (km 84.6), continue on D938, drive over A23 and turn right onto D549. Merge back onto the course at km 89.4 (Auchy-lez-Orchies).
Diversion for sectors no. 11 and 10 (Mons-en-Pévèle) Right before cobbled sector no. 11 (km 96.8), continue straight ahead on D917 until Pont-à-Marcq. Merge back onto the course at km 104.8 (Pont-à-Marcq).
Diversion for sectors no. 7, 6, 5 and 4 (Cysoing) In Cysoing (km 118), go straight ahead at the traffic light and follow D90. Merge back onto the course at km 130.4 (exit from Carrefour de l'Arbre).