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Lotte Kopecky is the first Belgian elite women’s world road race champion in 50 years

SD Worx rider also won two track world titles at Glasgow super worlds

For the first time since Nicolle Van Den Broeck in 1973, the world champion of the elite women’s road race is a Belgian, Lotte Kopecky taking her third gold medal of the Glasgow Superworlds. Silver medalist last year, Kopecky won on Sunday’s final day of competition, soloing away from a powerful sextet in the final 6 km. Kopecky was runner-up to Demi Vollering in July’s Tour de France Femmes. Vollering was runner-up on Sunday. Simone Boilard was top Canadian in 32nd.

The Course

The elite women’s course was similar to the U23 men’s course short of one lap of the Glasgow circuit. Starting in Loch Lomond and finishing in Glasgow, the field would ride 81 kilometres, including the 5.5-km climb of Crow Road, before the Glasgow circuits. In the city, the riders had six twisting, turning laps for a total of 154.1 km.

Course profile by La Flamme Rouge.

The Canadian contingent was Olivia Baril, Sarah van Dam, Simone Boilard, Maggie Coles-Lyster, Alison Jackson and Sara Poidevin.

Early breakaway

A high-powered breakaway containing Lizzie Deignan, Ashleigh Moolman, Sanne Cant, Blanka Vas and three others went clear early. Germany’s chase pace on Crow Road dropped several riders including Marianne Vos. With 111 km to go, the break was caught and Baril was part of several small groups that tried to bounce away on the way to Glasgow.

On Lap 1, Marlen Reusser initiated another short-lived escape group. Elise Chabbey of Switzerland tore away and led a 40-strong chase group containing Boilard, Jackson and Baril going into Lap 2. After a counterattack launched, Annemiek van Vleuten suffered a long bike change.

In the main chase on Lap 2, Boilard reaches for a gel.

Chabbey still had a 22-second gap entering Lap 3, so Italian Elena Cecchini lit out after her. Boilard and Baril were caught up in a crash with Brit Anna Henderson on a corner.

Boilard (left) and Baril caught up in Lap 3 crash.

Taking a 1:30 lead into Lap 4, Chabbey’s confidence increased. No Canadians were left in the main chase of 31. The Netherlands and Belgium set to work, Kopecky the main dynamo. Van Vleuten did a flier. All this action meant that Chabbey went into the penultimate lap with a 17-second lead, and the chase was down to seven: van Vleuten, Kopecky, Deignan, Marlen Reusser, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Austria’s Christina Schweinberger.

Various digs in the chase group kept Chabbey close. They caught her as the heard the bell. Van Vleuten had an ill-timed flat.

Deignan and Schweinberger dashed away. Kopecky and Reusser joined in. Ten kilometers remained. As soon as Vollering sewed it up again, she attacked on a rise. When the sextet took a breather, Vollering stretched her left leg. Ludwig attacked with 7.2 km to go. Kopecky slung around her and tried to make the crucial move. Kopecky dropped Ludwig on the Scott Street hill.

Kopecky wouldn’t be denied. Vollering came around Ludwig right at the line for the silver.

Kopecky’s victory meant that Belgium was the top road nation in Glasgow, with two gold, two silver, two bronze.

2023 Road Race World Championships, Elite Women

1) Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) 4:02:12
2) Demi Vollering (The Netherlands) +0:07
3) Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark) s.t.
32) Simone Boilard (Canada) +9:11