Kopecky takes 2nd win in a row
The Belgian top favourite, Kopecky, took complete control of the finale soloing to victory in the 20th edition of the Tour of Flanders for women. Vollering sprinted to second place, ahead of Longo Borghini.
The 20th edition for women was a closed race for a long time. A leading group of three riders eventually formed. Wollaston (AG Insurance – Soudal Quick-Step Team) embarked on a solo adventure, but was eventually joined by Chabbey (Canyon//SRAM Racing) and Barker (Uno-X Pro Cycling Team).
The Koppenberg traditionally heralded the finale and it was there that the race exploded completely. Four remained on the top of the Koppenberg: Reusser, Wiebes and Kopecky for Team SD Worx and Persico for UAE Emirates ADQ. The world champion Van Vleuten was not to be seen at the front. She fell in the run-up to the Koppenberg and reached the summit a long way behind.
The chase consisted of a group of 9 riders: Vollering (Team SD Worx), Chabbey and Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing), Labous (FDJ-Suez), Sierra Canadilla (Movistar Team Women), Henderson (Team Jumbo-Visma) and the trio of Brand, Van Anrooij and Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo). On the Steenbeekdries, Brand, Chabbey, Labous and Longo Borghini struggled, while things were too quick for Wiebes at the front on the Taaienberg and Reusser on the Kruisberg. And the result? We were left with just Kopecky and Persico at the head of the race.
But the difference was not huge. Just 20 seconds behind was the chasing group, thanks to the Italian Longo Borghini. At the foot of the Oude Kwaremont it all seemed to come together, but then Kopecky shifted gear. Persico was initially able to get to the Belgian favourite, but eventually had to let go. Kopecky went solo over the Oude Kwaremont and sped to the foot of the Paterberg.
On the Paterberg the chasing group thinned out. Persico, Van Anrooij, Vollering and Niewiadoma went in pursuit of leader Kopecky. From behind, Reusser, Labous and Longo Borghini were able to get back and expand the chasing group to 7 riders.
Meanwhile, Kopecky soloed convincingly to the Minderbroedersstraat in Oudenaarde to win in this 20th edition. Places two and three were decided in the sprint. Vollering completed the Team SD Worx party, ahead of Longo Borghini. With her second win in a row, Kopecky also becomes co-record holder on the Tour of Flanders honours list.