Skip to main content

Alberta-born cyclist makes Canadian history with win at Paris-Roubaix


A Canadian professional cyclist from Alberta became the new queen of cobble traction this past weekend with a win at the famed Paris-Roubaix Femmes race.

Alison Jackson is the third woman and the first Canadian to win the esteemed one-day race.

"It's a big deal for Canada," Jackson told CTV News Edmonton.

Born and raised on a bison farm east of Edmonton in Vermilion, Jackson first competed in triathlon as a young adult. She transitioned to professional cycling after finishing her studies at Trinity Western University.

Jackson finished 32nd at the 2020 Summer Olympics and won both the Canadian National Road Race Championships and National Time Trial Championships the year after. She also has dozens of top-10 finishes in European and North American events.

Alison Jackson shows off pins from around the world of place she has competed at (Supplied).

While the Olympics may be the most recognizable win for a professional athlete, Jackson says this race represents one of the most prized achievements for cyclists.

First run in 1896, Paris-Roubaix is one of the oldest professional road cycling races. It has been run yearly except during the COVID-19 pandemic and the two world wars.

"For a long time, we really petitioned for this race to have a women's race and really fighting for equality," Jackson explained. "It was a real triumph for women's sport."

"This race is totally for the fans," she added. "It's such a spectator race. There's so much action and things that happen that make it entertaining."

Most of the 145-kilometre route goes through bumpy terrain and cobblestones. Riders also have to contend with less-than-ideal weather conditions.

"It's really rough on the body," Jackson shared. "It's really rough on the equipment.

"So the type of rider that wins is going to be someone who's had a lot of good luck, has put themselves in the right position [and] has a fighting spirit.

"What I love about cycling now is the game inside the race. So it's not just the strongest who wins but the smartest on when you use your energy and timing."

Alison Jackson competes at the Paris-Roubaix Femmes race on Sunday, April 9, 2023 (Source: Gruger Images).

The winner of Paris-Roubaix gets a special trophy modelled after the type of bumpy cobblestones riders race upon.

"It's such a good memory of what you had to go through in the race," Jackson said with a smile. "My whole career has been trying to win big at bike races like this."

"It's really hard to do and pretty rare to be the winner," she added. "This is eight years of my life working up to something like this. It's so satisfying."

Alison Jackson of Canada holds the trophy after winning the women's Paris Roubaix ahead of Katia Ragusa of Italy, left and second place, and Marthe Truyen of Belgium, right and third place, at the velodrome in Roubaix, northern France, Saturday, April 8, 2023 (AP Photo/Michel Spingler).

Her entire family was watching and cheering her on back at the farm in Vermilion on Easter Sunday, said Mavis Farkash, Jackson's mother.

"We were just yelling and screaming at the computer screen: go, go, go!" Farkash recalled. "It was exciting to see her pull ahead and win the race.

"It's a dream come true for her," she added. "For me, it's always a little nerve-wracking following the race and watching her. It's exciting to see her, especially coming to the end of a race when she's in a good position."

After a brief respite, Jackson will compete in several European circuit events and then fly to Panama for the Pan American road championship from April 18 to 23.

She will be in Edmonton this summer to compete in the national road cycling event.

"She loves competing," Farkash said. "It's just part of her personality."

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Miriam Valdes-Carletti Top Stories

Katy Perry sings goodbye to 'American Idol'

Katy Perry said her goodbyes on 'American Idol' after seven seasons. On Sunday night’s live 'idol' season finale, a medley of Perry's hit songs were performed, including 'Teenage Dream,' 'Dark Horse' and 'California Gurls.'

Stay Connected