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Lotte Kopecky wins Tour of Flanders again as SD Worx dominate

Kopecky's teammate Demi Vollering won the sprint for second, while Elisa Longo Borghini was third...

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.

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.

> "You can watch these 'tourists' in the Tour of Flanders": Pro women's team mistaken for fans as Van Aert climbs the Koppenberg

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.

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.

"Very special"

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.

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quiff | 10 months ago
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road.cc wrote:

Kopecky took in the glory of becoming just the third woman to win the Tour of Flanders twice.

Not taking anything away from her, or the race, but (a) to contextualise it, there have been only 20 editions and 16 different winners; (b) she's the fourth woman to win it twice, after Mirjam Melchers-Van Poppel (2005 & 6), Judith Arndt (2008 & 12) and Annemiek van Vleuten (2011 & 21).     

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dubwise | 10 months ago
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So GCN+/Eurosport highlight the Belgian press "cyclotourist" stuff, staying women's cycling doesn't get the proper recognition but then fails to shown the podium presentation properly.

Well done Orla and co.

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Rendel Harris replied to dubwise | 10 months ago
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dubwise wrote:

So GCN+/Eurosport highlight the Belgian press "cyclotourist" stuff, staying women's cycling doesn't get the proper recognition but then fails to shown the podium presentation properly. Well done Orla and co.

? I was watching on Discovery+ onine, which takes the same coverage, and they covered the women's presentation pretty much in full, including Kopecky's speech (admittedly it would've helped to have had a translator for that) in the same way that they covered the men's. 

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dubwise replied to Rendel Harris | 10 months ago
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The studio chat after the race showed the men's podium in full but only had the women's on in the background screen of the studio until Lotte's speech.

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Awavey replied to dubwise | 10 months ago
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I was watching via the app, but switched off after the sprint, because that's exactly what they did earlier in the season on Eurosport, and we got a few seconds victory speech and they cut it for more indepth banter in the cube about the men's race and some weird promo for a round the world yacht race.

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Simon E replied to dubwise | 10 months ago
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dubwise wrote:

Well done Orla and co.

I'm sure the presenters, commentators and pundits, particularly female ones, want parity. I'd blame the editors (and often the provider of the feed), not the people you see in front of the camera.

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Awavey | 10 months ago
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Tbf I think Kopecky had to work harder for that victory than it would appear, I think had the chasing group mounted a real challenge and pressured her, it might not have ended the way it did, but Persico ran out of steam at the vital point, and SD Worx had numbers in the 2nd group so Kazia couldn't work with the group to bridge the gap back as Demi could chase it down, plus Trek were trying to bring Elisa back into play almost conceding going for a win and just aiming best of the rest podium placings, which ultimately worked for them.

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Rich_cb replied to Awavey | 10 months ago
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I think you're spot on.

If her team mates hadn't been in the positions they were the chase would undoubtedly have been more effective.

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Awavey replied to Rich_cb | 10 months ago
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Elisa Longo Borghini gave an interview post race saying the other teams should attack SD Worx more in those situations, though fwiw she has been as guilty of this in the past as have Trek, where they'll let a perceived stronger rider go and only focus to ride for the minor places, instead of working together to challenge and put those riders back under pressure. Strade was the only race where riders, ironically SD Worx, went nope not riding for 2nd or 3rd we chase it down.

But then Elisa admits Treks race plan changed very last second to give her a shot at the sprint, fine she got 3rd so it worked. But I think Shirin could have worked with Kasia and a small group to counter SD worx as Demi said she was in agony the last 10k, and I think Lotte was close to blowing the way she was riding, she couldn't hold a position or regular tempo in her pedalling.

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Rich_cb replied to Awavey | 10 months ago
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She did look completely spent!

It's a tricky one for Trek, a podium is better than nothing but I agree the racing is far more exciting if teams don't settle.

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