Kopecky Claims Coveted Cobblestone

All eyes were on Lotte Kopecky of Team SD Worx-Protime on Saturday April 6th, with the rainbow jersey on her shoulders and a status of hot favourite for the 4th edition of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift. The Belgian icon lived up to her name and delivered a stunning victory in the André-Pétrieux velodrome after an impressive performance all day long. From the first cobbles, she was the first to light the fuse and the most active rider. Eventually, as a group of six favourites entered the velodrome, SD Worx-Protime’s leader, a world champion on both the road and on the track, made the most of her power to get the better of Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) and Pfeiffer Georgi (dsm-firmenich PostNL), with Marianne Vos (Team Visma | Lease a Bike) finishing 4th. Kopecky is the first Belgian winner of Paris-Roubaix since Philippe Gilbert claimed the men’s edition in 2019. She is also the first reigning world champion to claim the winner’s cobble since Peter Sagan in 2018. Such historical landmarks had never been achieved in the women’s race until this weekend. After this coveted victory in the Hell of the North, Lotte Kopecky enthused, “This was a win we had been chasing for a long time with Team SD Worx-Protime. To finally succeed and in such a beautiful way, as world champion on the Roubaix track, is wonderful,”

“Paris-Roubaix was THE goal of the season. The team had a lot of confidence in me last week. My teammates tried to make me laugh all the time to keep the atmosphere nice and relaxed. That certainly did me good. After the Tour of Flanders I wondered why I didn’t feel so fit. It’s in your head. Everyone around me always stressed that I had to keep faith in my own qualities,” Lotte Kopecky added after her monumental win.

“In the race, the team worked fantastically for me. I had to waste little strength and was always in a perfect position to tackle the cobbled sections. Lorena Wiebes in the second group was maybe the key to the win for me. She was just off with the first group, but just her presence with the chasers was worth gold to me.”

“When turning onto the course I am always nervous. With two fast sprinters Marianne Vos and Elisa Balsamo in the leading group, it was not a certainty that I could win the sprint. It was very difficult to get into good position. In all the jostling on the track, I was passed from below and above. They started the sprint very early. Probably, they were a little less and therefore lacked explosiveness. I was fortunately able to keep sprinting until the line. I still had enough power in my legs for such a long sprint and am happy to add Paris-Roubaix to my palmarès. This cobblestone gets a special place at home!”

Behind Kopecky, Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek), taking second, said shortly after crossing the line, “Actually, if you had told me at the start I would finish 2nd, I wouldn’t have believed it, so I’m extremely happy, but when you’re runner up in such a race, you can’t help to feel some disappointment. It’s normal, but ten minutes have passed, and now I have to say I’m super satisfied and I want to thank my team. We did a very good job to position ourselves and Ellen [van Dijk] was really really strong. She did an amazing race and then she worked for me in the finale. I always said I don’t really like this race, but I have to say I felt really good today. I think I did a good sprint but Lotte [Kopecky] was just stronger after such a hard race. It’s okay. To hold on with such champions is incredible. I surprised myself. Now I need to believe in myself because I didn’t think I could do well here. I’ll try again in the coming years!”

Pfeiffer Georgi (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) said of her third place, “When we crossed the line, I was not sure if I was 3rd or 4th and I was really hoping to get on the podium… So when it came on the screen, it was very emotional. It’s a Monumental race, a dream race of me and a big goal, so coming on the podium means a lot. I felt a lot of pressure coming in the velodrome because it’s a rare opportunity to find yourself in a position to win Roubaix. I didn’t want to mess up, I didn’t want to get boxed in… It was a tough challenge to win the sprint, but in Roubaix anything can happen and I did a big launch to get on the podium. The first edition was crazy for me, I kind of wrote it off… But I got two top 10s in the last couple of years. It’s a love and hate relationship, it’s a dream race and I will keep coming back fighting for this stone!”

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