Lotte Kopecky sprints to first Paris-Roubaix victory

After a thrilling sprint finish, world champion Lotte Kopecky took her first cobblestone trophy in the fourth edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes on Saturday.

Paris-Roubaix Femmes was created in 2020 in response to demand from the women's peloton. Of the riders who finished in the top 10 at last weekend's Tour of Flanders, only three took part in this year's Paris-Roubaix, with many opting to prepare for the Ardennes classics instead.

Belgium's world champion Kopecky did make an appearance at the cobbled classic. After winning the world championship and the Tour of Flanders last year, winning Paris-Roubaix was still on her ​ bucket list. She ​ came closest in 2022, when she finished second.

No room for doubt

After her disappointing fifth place at last week's Tour of Flanders, not everyone was sure Kopecky had what it takes to win Paris-Roubaix. But she believed in her chances. "I'm really looking forward to it," she said before the start. "Because [the race] suits me and because I've never won here before."

And she proved her doubters wrong. After joining a breakaway, Kopecky thinned the field with attacks on the cobbles. She then outpaced five other riders in the Roubaix velodrome, finishing ahead of Italy's Elisa Balsamo and Britain's Pfeiffer Georgi.

Her victory in Roubaix is further proof that Kopecky is the best female cyclist in the world. It will give her confidence going into perhaps the most important competition of her career this summer: the Olympic Games in Paris.


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

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