Kopecky Does The Double At Strade Bianche

Lotte Kopecky has won the Strade Bianche for an incredible second time in her career. The world champion and last year’s winner raced to the finish with fellow breakaway rider Elisa Longo-Borghini on the Via Santa Catarina to triumph in the Piazza del Campo. 

“Very special to win here in the rainbow jersey. I didn’t have my very best day, but I didn’t panic. When Demi Vollering and I were in front, we were able to play the team game. Winning the Strade Bianche this way is very special,” a delighted Kopecky said after her win.

After the final gravel stretch, five riders separated from the peloton: Demi Vollering, Lotte Kopecky, the duo Elisa Longo-Borghini and Shirin van Anrooij and Kasia Niewiadoma. An acceleration by Demi Vollering threw Van Anrooij overboard. Niewiadoma responded, after which Lotte Kopecky strongly attacked and only Elisa Longo-Borghini was able to follow. On the final climb in the streets of Siena, on the Via Santa Catarina, the world champion accelerated and crossed the line solo.

Kopecky concluded, “We had more control than last week in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The whole team did a fantastic job. On Le Tolfe, Demi Vollering and I were in the front, which allowed us to play the team game perfectly. Demi went on, but was caught back. I was actually almost at the limit, but I had to attack. It was my turn to go.”

“I actually didn’t have the best day. I suffered the whole race. When I left this morning, I immediately felt I didn’t have the best legs. But I often have that in a race and usually they don’t really get worse as the race progresses. Again, my legs felt the same throughout the race, so I tried not to panic. On the Via Santa Catarina, it was important not to attack too early. When I attacked, I went full speed until the last corner. Then I knew this win was in and that I could triumph in a very special way as world champion in the Piazza del Campo.”

Sports manager Danny Stam was of course pleased with his team’s performance. “This was a clever piece of team play. Where we were behind last week, this time we were present everywhere. Barbara Guarischi, Elena Cecchini, Mischa Bredewold and Niamh Fisher-Black showed excellent helpers. We found ourselves in the perfect situation with Lotte Kopecky and Demi Vollering ahead. This allowed them to attack in turn. When Lotte Kopecky was alone in front with Elisa Longo-Borghini, we were able to keep pressure from behind with Demi, forcing Longo-Borghini to keep on riding. The ideal scenario. The way Lotte won and how much surplus she had left was impressive.”

Stam added, “I had polled in the race how Lotte felt. ‘Definitely not super, not good either, but not bad either,’ she indicated. But if you then win like this… Then she just did really well. Because of the course change, the race was locked for longer. I think everyone had some trepidation about the tougher final, but in the end you do get the same strong riders at the front. This race never lies. Usually the best rider wins here.”

Team SD Worx-Protime wins the Strade Bianche for the fourth year in a row, amounting to seven wins out of ten editions for the Dutch team and an incredible run of dominance. “That is a very special statistic,” Stam said with pride. “This is a very nice race, where you can really make course. With Lotte Kopecky victorious in the rainbow jersey, we have another great win!”

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