Cobble Queen

Alison Jackson dances for a different reason: winning Paris-Roubaix 2023.

She’s fast. She’s funny. She’s a competitor. And she’s your 2023 Paris-Roubaix champion.

Among many talents and a long list of achievements (like claiming Canada’s road race, time trial, and criterium championships over the years), EF Education-TIBCO-SVB rider Alison Jackson has an enthusiastic following on social media in part due to her amusing antics. She unabashedly showcases the rigors of a pro cycling in equal measure with dancing, lip-syncing, and general tomfoolery, often joined by her teammates.

But on April 8, 2023, Jackson claimed a new and certainly more serious accolade aboard her all-new LAB71 SuperSix EVO: winning Paris-Roubaix – the first Canadian ever to do so – in a final sprint around Vélodrome André-Pétrieux that capped off one of the most exciting chapters of the famous race in years.

Of course, Jackson crossed the line, came to a stop, hopped off her bike, and busted out a dance number.

The race’s extension by 20km this year (from 124.7 to 145.5) meant it would take just that much more grit to reach the podium. Recent rains supplemented the challenge, threatening to make the race’s famous cobblestones more slippery than usual.

Within the first 15km of the race, Jackson was already in the lead breakaway with 17 other riders, but her grit on the bike would drive the break to be the successful move in the third edition of the women’s Roubaix (it was even debated later whether she had done too much work for the group).

The pavé punished riders and bikes alike, wreaking wrecks and technical issues that slowed or stopped the race for a handful of riders. Jackson’s breakaway group would maintain a relentless pace, however, eventually growing their gap to over five minutes in front of the rest of the peloton.

Down to the final kilometer, however, that distance had closed to only 12 seconds. Leading up to it, pulls were made, and breakoffs were attempted, by big names in the sport who had equally big expectations for the day.

But in the velodrome, at the line, it was Jackson who couldn’t be topped, digging deep in the final 300m to pull ahead of Katia Ragusa and Marthe Truyen, who would finish second and third, respectively.

“I saw it coming. I had clear space,“ Jackson said after the effort. “It’s a dream come true. I dream of winning. A lot of times, all those dreams have stayed dreams. It’s unreal to make it happen in real life. I have few words.”

She may have few words, but we know she’s got moves.