Jolien D’Hoore: “I had an upset stomach”
Jolien D’Hoore will have to wait another year before achieving a victory in the Tour of Flanders. Today, the top-class racer from East Flanders was unable to claim a lead position at any point during the race. The Wiggle-High5 team’s member lagged behind by more than five minutes, ultimately ending in sixty-first place. ‘I did not want my team to sacrifice themselves for me, just so that I might have a chance at coming in fifth. That simply wouldn’t have been fair. Particularly because, with Elisa Longo Borghini on board, we had someone in the team who really did stand a chance of winning. That she was unable to keep up with the other three escapees in the end makes it all the more devastating, of course. However, another scenario for me just wasn’t possible.’
‘I just didn’t feel up to it today. There was no power in my legs, so I made a quick decision to put my energy into helping my team,’ says Jolien D’Hoore. ‘Our team had two strategies ready for today. One had to do with me competing in the sprint, and the other with Elisa Longo Borghini in the escape. For the finale, we had put all our money on the latter. I even tried to bring back Claudia Lichtenberg because I knew I would have to be among the pursuers, but that didn’t work out,’ continues Jolien D’Hoore, who thinks she knows why the race did not go as expected.
‘I had an upset stomach, and after my ascent over the Muur, I started to drink water to soothe my stomach. I have no idea what’s the matter with me, but I hope it doesn’t get any worse in the next few days to come.’ This Friday, the multiple-time Belgian Champion will be leaving for the World Championships where she will be competing with Lotte Kopecky on the Hong Kong track for the world title.
Lotte Kopecky: “Came in fifth in the Tour thanks to track training”
Earlier, Lotte Kopecky had looked forward to achieving a place in the top 10. Just for a second, the member of the Lotto Soudal Ladies team thought that she might have won when, with the pursuing group, she was able to join the four frontrunners less than two kilometres before the finish line. However, for the last sprint she had to make do with fifth place. ‘When we joined the frontrunners, I decided to latch on to Cecchini’s wheel. However, she started lagging behind, while the others started preparing for the final sprint. I had only just started getting ahead when Rivera overtook me. I wasn’t able to ride the sprint the way I’d imagined,’ lamented the Antwerp cyclist.
‘Actually, I shouldn’t be disappointed. I’m 21 years old, and came in fifth in the Tour of Flanders. That should give me cause for satisfaction. I think I only made a few mistakes. I was always at the head of the group and was able to get out of the wind,’ explains Kopecky, who is already thinking about her next race. Kopecky will be leaving for the Hong Kong track this Friday, where she will be joining Jolien D’Hoore in an all-out attempt to win the World Championship.
‘In the approach to the WC I trained on the track last week. In the end, that practice didn’t turn out too badly when it came to racing successfully in the Tour of Flanders. I checked out the Tour of Flanders circuit at quite an early stage. Winning the World Championship had become more important than ever as of today. When I was with the juniors, it was almost within reach, but now, together with Jolien, getting that rainbow jersey has really become a goal unto itself,’ concludes Kopecky. ‘Will road racing now become a main goal? No, I want to continue combining track and road, certainly up to and including the Tokyo Games in 2020.’
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