2021 was an exceptional year in which the British champion Elizabeth Deignan ascended to the throne as the first queen of Paris–Roubaix Femmes. After several delays, the race was held in October in atrocious weather conditions such as had not been seen in a long time. In 2022, the contenders for the cobblestone trophy will definitely be as numerous and determined!
Welcome to the city that transformed its thousand chimneys and oldindustrial 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 Roubaix 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. Last but not least, the BMX circuit is where the annual BMX Open takes place. The Vélo Club de Roubaix and its Continental team, Go Sport–Roubaix–Lille Métropole, which flies the flag for pro cycling, are also part and parcel of city life. Roubaix has almost 40 km of bicycle lanes and a further 33 km of roads with measures to make cycling easier. 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. 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. Its most recent label is the "Tour de France Cycle City", awarded by ASO, with a two-bicycle rating in the inaugural edition.
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 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 culture: Jean Degros, who won the 1965 top-tier French basketball league with Denain Voltaire, which now plays in the Pro B league; Fabien Gilot, a gold medallist in the 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay in the 2012 London Olympics; the ladies of the Tennis Club de Denain, who claimed the French team championship in 2012 and 2014; and many others who continue to make Denain a hotspot of competitors and champions!
Denain has also been an Olympic and Paralympic hub since it was awarded the "Terre de Jeux 2024" label in 2021, proving its commitment and aspiration to be at the heart of the adventure of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024, put more sport in the lives of the people who call it home, promote sports across the board, and foster the development of women's sports and disabled sports.
Cycling lovers also feel right at home in this land of cycling. Since 1959, the town has helped to organise the Grand Prix de Denain, a bicycle race currently ranked as a UCI ProSeries that never fails to attract famous pros and big crowds that know their stuff when it comes to cycling. Furthermore, since 2018 it has been the only French race other than Paris–Roubaix to feature the cobbled sectors.
In 2021, our town was filled with pride to host the inaugural edition of Paris–Roubaix Femmes. Building on the popular success of this historic sporting celebration, Denain and the people who call it home are eager to roll out the red carpet for the international elite of women's cycling again.