Belgian Lotte Kopecky wins second consecutive Tour of Flanders title
Belgian rider Lotte Kopecky (Team SD Worx) won the Tour of Flanders for women on Sunday. It was not only her third win of the season but also a second consecutive victory in the Flemish classic.
In the 20th edition of the Tour of Flanders for women, Kopecky triumphed after a 156.6km race. In a similar ending to the men's race, won earlier in the day by Slovenian Tadej Pogacar, she crossed the finish line in Oudenaarde alone after an impressive 18km solo - having escaped Italian competitor Silvia Persico on the Oude Kwaremont slope. Kopecky's Dutch teammate Demi Vollering sprinted to second place ahead of Italian Elisa Longo Borghini.
"This is a special feeling," Kopecky said after the race. "I didn't expect to win after a solo."
Minke Bakker, Mette Egtoft Jensen, Trine Holmsgaard and Emanuela Zanetti tried but failed to mount an attack fairly soon after the start. A grouped peloton climbed the Tiegemberg, the first slope of the day, 10km into the race. Katrijn De Clercq then went on the attack alone but didn't last long. New Zealand's Ally Wollaston later mounted the Wolvenberg slope alone - the third slope of the day after 67km. The 22-year-old then started the Molenberg climb with a 20-second lead. The peloton, with riders from Team SD Worx, Movistar and DSM, allowed Wollaston to ride in front.
Stepping up the pace
After the Valkenberg, Elise Chabbey and Elinor Barker joined the New Zealand rider. A group including Christine Majerus, Yara Kastelijn, Marit Raaijmakers and Chiara Consonni rode just ahead of the peloton and followed at 20 seconds. Dutch world champion Annemiek van Vleuten eliminated herself by riding into a gutter and falling. Next came the Koppenberg, where SD Worx stepped up the pace, but many had to drop out. In the end, four riders joined forces on the descent: Reusser, Persico, Kopecky and Wiebes. Wiebe fell away on the Taaienberg, the 10th slope of the day, 37km from the finish.
Shortly after, Reusser had to let go, leaving only Kopecky and Persico at the front. The duo started the final climb of the Oude Kwaremont slope with a half-minute lead over a group including Vollering, Reusser, Niewiadoma, Labous, Henderson, Van Anrooij and Longo Borghini. Kopecky abandoned her only companion and rode the remaining 18km alone, winning the Tour for the second year running.
This was Kopecky's third win of the season, following the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Nokere Koerse. The men's title was won by Tadej Pogacar.
#FlandersNewsService | Lotte Kopecky © BELGA PHOTO TOM GOYVAERTS