Kopecky disappointed after second place in world championship: "Huge shame and a big missed opportunity"
Belgian cyclist Lotte Kopecky narrowly missed out on a unique opportunity for a first world road title. Despite winning silver, having finished right behind the new world champion Annemiek van Vleuten from The Netherlands, Kopecky showed only disappointment: "It's a huge shame. This is a big missed opportunity."
In Australia's Wollongong on Saturday, she was clearly the fastest rider in the group of favourites, but only sprinted to a second place, after a late breakaway by Annemiek van Vleuten. The Dutch rider, at 39 and with a fractured elbow, won her second rainbow jersey. Italy's Silvia Persico came in third.
"I also have the feeling I'm losing the gold anyway", silver medalist Kopecky told Flemish public sports broadcaster Sporza in a first reaction. "I would like to see the last kilometre again. I will relive it a few more times tonight."
"When Van Vleuten went for it, I actually knew right away"
Kopecky was intrinsically the fastest of the frontrunners, especially as Dutch rider Marianne Vos had had to let go. "When I noticed that, I thought this would be the opportunity of a lifetime", Kopecky said.
Van Vleuten, who turns 40 on October 8, mounted a surprise attack on the final kilometre to win the 164,3km race from Helensburgh to Wollongong, shortly after a leader group of five had been caught.
"When Van Vleuten went for it, I actually knew right away", Kopecky commented afterwards. "Persico is not too slow either and would win if I rode up the gap. Oh well, I have to watch the footage again but it's a huge shame. This is a big missed opportunity."
Kopecky (photo, left), said she "knew right away" as soon as Annemiek Van Vleuten (right) whent for it. © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM