Can Lotte Kopecky win her first Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift?

Written by: Neil Cormier
Posted 3 months ago

This Saturday, Lotte Kopecky and her SD Worx-Protime teammates are aiming to win their first-ever Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift. So far, team leader Kopecky has had mixed results at the Hell of the North, coming close to victory in 2022 when she finished second behind Elisa Longo-Borghini, but only managing seventh in 2023 after missing the winning break and crashing on the cobbles.

Since the race’s inception in 2021, rivals Lidl-Trek (formerly Trek-Segafredo) have gotten the better of Kopecky and her teammates by winning the race twice, once in 2021 with Lizzie Deignan, and again in 2022 with Elisa Longo-Borghini. On top of that, Lidl-Trek has also taken two podium spots at Paris-Roubaix with Elisa Longo-Borghini in 2021 (3rd) and Lucinda Brand in 2022 (3rd).

But Kopecky, who is presently ranked #1 in the Women’s WorldTour (WWT), goes into this year’s Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift in her best form ever and with one of the strongest teams in the peloton. On paper, she is the clear favorite, possessing the power and physique (1.71m and 66kg) to manage the 148.5 km distance and 17 secteurs of cobbles better than anyone else. But there will be challenges. Rivals Lidl-Trek will be looking to win for a third time and there will be stiff competition from other riders like Marianne Vos (Visma-Lease a Bike), Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek), and Pfeiffer Georgi (DSM-Firmenich PostNL). However, Kopecky’s greatest challenge may not be her rivals, but avoiding the perils that the Hell of the North throws at riders – crashes and punctures. Controlling these factors may prove to be the key to Kopecky winning her first-ever Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift.

Kopecky’s greatest challenge may not be her rivals, but avoiding the perils that the Hell of the North throws at riders – crashes and punctures

 

 

Supporting Kopecky on the cobbles this Saturday will be teammates Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, Lorena Wiebes, Femke Markus, Barbara Guarischi, and Christine Majerus.

Here’s a closer look at the SD Worx-Protime team.

Chantal van den Broek-Blaak (age 34) is one of the most experienced and successful riders on the team. Not only is she a former World Champion (2017), but she also has a long list of one-day victories to her name: Tour of Flanders (2020), Amstel Gold Race (2018), Strade Bianche (2021), Gent-Wevelgem (2016), Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (2019), and Ronde van Drenthe (2016). In her two previous appearances at Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift she finished 8th (2022) and 10th (2021). She is quite capable of taking a leadership role or riding in support of Kopecky.

 

Lorena Wiebes (age 25) is one of the fastest, if not fastest, sprinters in the peloton with 77 career victories and seven wins under her belt this year. She’s presently ranked 4th in the Women’s WorldTour with major victories this year in Miron Ronde van Drenthe and Gent-Wevelgem. Wiebes also has a remarkable ability to hang-tough in races that don’t necessarily suit her, as demonstrated in last Sunday’s Tour of Flanders where she stayed with the lead group over the climbs. If it comes down to a sprint in the Roubaix velodrome and Wiebes is still there, she’s the favorite to win.

Femke Markus (age 27) has an impressive record of top 10 placings since she joined the team in 2023. While she might not have as many victories as her teammates, she forms a vital part of the leadout train for Wiebes. She has ridden all three previous editions of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift and was in the velodrome with the winning break in 2023 when a crash took her out of contention. Her recent victory in the Volta NXT Classic in Limburg should confirm that she is ready for the Hell of the North.

Barbara Guarischi (age 33) has the primary job of leading out Lorena Wiebes in the sprints. With multiple victories from stage races among her palmares, she has raced all three editions of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift and brings much knowledge and experience going into this year’s race.

Christine Majerus (age 37) is the oldest and most experienced rider of the team. She has been Luxembourg National Champion (14x) and has ridden every type of race imaginable. Her experience from having ridden all three editions of Paris-Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift and competing at the WorldCup level in cyclo-cross will be invaluable to the team.

 

Paris Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift starts Saturday April 6th at 13:25 CET. The finish is expected around 17:30 CET. You can follow the race live with our live map tracking and updates in our app, right from the start!

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