Home hero Lotto Kopecky defended her Tour of Flanders crown to become only the second female rider to win consecutive Ronde titles.
It was an emotional victory, coming a few weeks after the death of her brother. When Kopecky won Nokere Koerse last month, just days after the bereavement, the former Belgian champion said she "raced with two" that day, a mental fortitude on show again today.
Copying the decisive move of Tadej Pogačar earlier in the afternoon, Kopecky shelled her lone companion Silvia Persico on the ascent of the Oude Kwaremont and never looked like cracking across the Paterberg and flat run to the line in Oudenaarde.
Back-to-back victories in the Tour of Flanders for Lotte Kopecky 👑
— Eurosport (@eurosport) April 2, 2023
Crossing the line, Kopecky took in the glory of becoming just the third woman to win the Tour of Flanders twice. Not 28 until the autumn, who would bet on the SD Worx Classics star taking the record outright?
Behind, SD Worx teammate Demi Vollering was the fastest in the sprint for the places, taking second ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini.
Just as in the men's race earlier the pre-finale action was sadly, in part, taken up by a series of crashed, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio hitting the deck as other riders were left to scramble out of a roadside ditch before world champion Annemiek van Vleuten fell too.
New Zealand national champion Ally Wollaston had been the first attacker of the day and was later joined by Great Britain track star Elinor Barker and Elise Chabbey ahead of the Koppenberg before chaos ensued.
— Gert-jan Warrink (@GWarrink) April 2, 2023
Over the top, Persico found herself in the daunting position of being alongside defending champion Kopecky and her teammates Marlen Reusser and Lorena Wiebes.
Job done, Wiebes and Reusser eventually dropped back leaving Kopecky to repeat the familiar Kwaremont display of dominance from the men's race, soloing to a second Tour of Flanders win in as many years.
Speaking afterwards Kopecky acknowledged the pressure of being the pre-race favourite but said SD Worx's performance had been "amazing" for "the whole race". Explaining the incident which saw her run up the Koppenberg cyclo-cross style, Kopecky said "it was so slippy" there was just no grip.
"There were a lot of people cheering, it was very nice," Kopecky said of the crowds on the Kwaremont. "It's just amazing for the team to win Flanders again and also be second."
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.