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Tour de France Femmes

Tour de France Femmes: Lotte Kopecky rues missed opportunity on stage 6

The Belgian crashed with just over 22km to go but caught the peloton and contested the sprint.

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ROSHEIM, France (VN) — Lotte Kopecky equaled her best performance at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift with third on stage 6 into Rosheim, but the SD Worx rider felt like it was a missed opportunity for a win.

With double-stage victor Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) ruled out of the sprint after an earlier crash, the chance for a victory was suddenly far bigger. Kopecky was right on the wheel of Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) throughout much of the final kilometer but moved left when the Dutchwoman went right to start her sprint and found herself boxed in behind others.

The Belgian was not able to get herself into free air on the sprint to the line and even had to dab on the brakes towards the end with Vos claiming her second victory of the week.

“I think I had a pretty good position before these two corners and then the short turn at 400 meters, the Trek train came on the left side and I was a bit boxed in. I was sad that I could not sprint full gas because I feel like this could have been a pretty nice opportunity,” Kopecky said at the finish line.

Also read: Marianne Vos bosses bunch sprint while wearing yellow

Kopecky was involved in the same crash as Wiebes with about 22 kilometers to go. She had been behind Wiebes when the DSM rider went down and had no option but to go over the top of the stricken rider before falling herself.

Worryingly, she was seen holding her head after the crash. Kopecky did hit her head in the fall but said she was actually protecting herself in case she was hit from behind by another rider.

“I don’t know, I think [Wiebes] got stuck behind another wheel in front of her and I couldn’t go anywhere other than full gas over it,” she said. “I had the feeling that I really smacked my head pretty hard and then I was just trying to wait and hope that nobody would ride into me. Now, it feels good. It was just a pretty hard hit to the ground.”

Unlike Wiebes, Kopecky was able to get back on her bike quickly and regain contact with the bunch before it approached the finish line. Despite the fall and the long chase, she thinks that it may have helped her.

“I think it was good to have this extra adrenaline actually. I had some help from the Planta Pura car, so I have to say thank you for that. Once I got back, I knew that it was only two short climbs and I just had to fight in my head and my legs to stay in a good position,” Kopecky said.

Friday was the last chance for the sprinters. Mountaintop finales this weekend will decide the inaugural edition of the race.