Women Elite history
The 2022 edition was historic for several reasons. Not only was the Koppenberg part of the circuit for the first time, the winner also received the same amount of prize money as her male colleague for the first time in the history of cycling. The fact that Lotte Kopecky then sent the Flemish public into a frenzy by sprinting to victory in the Minderbroedersstraat in her tricolour jersey was the icing on a fantastic cake. The Belgian was one of the number one favourites and she certainly lived up to that role. She beat Annemiek van Vleuten and her teammate Chantal van den Broek - Blaak, both of whom know what it is like to win the Tour of Flanders. Kopecky took her place in the history of women’s cycling and in the hearts of Flemish cycling fans.
Three riders can currently call themselves the record holder of Flanders’ Finest. For now, two wins is the most number of victories that has been achieved.
Mirjam Melchers - Van Poppel won the second and third editions of the Tour of Flanders for women in 2005 and 2006. In 2005, she beat Sweden’s Susanne Ljungskog and Italy’s Monia Baccaille. A year later, she was again the best in Meerbeke, this time ahead of the Austrian Christiane Soeder and her compatriot Loes Gunnewijk.
Germany’s Judith Arndt also managed to win the Tour of Flanders twice. In 2008, she beat American Kristin Armstrong in a sprint between the two of them. And in 2012, the final year of Arndt’s career, Armstrong again had to acknowledge the superiority of the German.
Annemiek van Vleuten celebrated victory in the Tour of Flanders for the first time in 2011. The Dutch rider beat Tatiana Antoshina in a sprint between the two of them. Ten years later, it was again a victory for Van Vleuten. The former European champion made the difference on the Paterberg and arrived solo in Oudenaarde.