Lotte Kopecky remembers her brother with emotional solo win at Nokere Koerse: ‘Today I raced with two people’
Belgian rider puts in big ride just days after her brother's death.
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Just days after the death of her older brother Seppe, Lotte Kopecky blasted to an emphatic solo win at Nokere Koerse on Wednesday.
The Belgian racer asked to be put on the SD Worx roster for the one-day Belgian classic after her brother passed away during the weekend, and she looked determined throughout to put in a big performance.
After a big acceleration with 11km to go to catch an earlier attack, Kopecky put in her race-winning move four kilometers later. She won just under 30 seconds from her teammate Lorena Wiebes, with Marta Bastianelli rounding out the podium.
“I made the decision to ride this race last week and I really wanted to race today no matter what,” Kopecky said. “It was our goal to really make it a hard race and I think we did. These have not been easy days, it’s just no use to let your head hang and today I just wanted to race and I’m happy that it worked out. I think that today I raced with two people.”
While there was hardly a lick of wind, it was far from a relaxed race with multiple attacks off the front thinning out the main group. As the lead group crossed the finish line for the penultimate time, it was sitting at just over 40 riders with another sizeable group 48 seconds down the road.
A late attack from Movistar’s Aude Biannic with just over 20km to go, was kept at arm’s length with SD Worx and Christine Majerus keeping a watchful eye. Her gap held at around 15 seconds for some 10 kilometers, before she was caught by a big acceleration from Kopecky, who took Eleonora Gasparini (UAE Team ADQ) with her.
With SD Worx now up the road, it would come down to other teams to try and bring the move back and AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step and Trek-Segafredo took up the pace-setting. The attacks kept coming and Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) tagged onto the back of a move by Anna Handerson (Jumbo-Visma), but the move was quickly ended when she crashed on a corner with about seven kilometers to go.
Kopecky made her move shortly after, pushing a big acceleration on the flat to drop her companions. Pushed on by the grief of the recent death of her older brother, the Belgian quickly built up a lead of over 30 seconds.
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