Paris Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift: Kopecky Triumphs in Thrilling Finish

Written by: Niels Goudriaan
Posted 2 months ago

The fourth edition of Paris Roubaix Femmes avec Zwift unfolded with gripping drama as World Champion Lotte Kopecky of Belgium secured a stunning victory in a pulsating finale at the iconic Velodrome in Roubaix. “This was a win we had been chasing for a long time with Team SD Worx-Protime. To finally succeed and in such a beautiful way, as world champion on the Roubaix track, is wonderful.” It is the first time for the Belgian rider of SD Worx – Protime but also the first-time victory for the team in Roubaix.

Early Stages and Breakaways

The race started in Denain, a small French town just on the border with Belgium and already the fourth time as the start town for the race. The riders looked nervous coming onto the presentation podium and had high anticipation of what was to come. They were gearing up for a grueling 148.5 kilometers of intense competition with 17 cobbled stone sections, known as Pavé’s. When the peloton left Denain, they would pass the town three more times before heading Northeast towards Roubaix. On the local lap Victoire Joncheray of Team Komugi Grand Est took an early lead, breaking away from the peloton with a determined effort. Despite a valiant attempt, Joncheray’s lead was gradually reined in by the peloton as they embarked on the local lap around Denain.

Action-Packed Pursuits

As the race progressed, various breakaway attempts peppered the peloton’s dynamic, with riders from different teams striving to establish significant leads. However, these efforts were consistently neutralized, keeping the tension high and the race wide open.

Some minor incidents unfolded throughout the race, luckily nothing major, including a small crash involving last year’s winner, Alison Jackson, adding an unpredictable edge to the proceedings. Meanwhile, teams like Lidl Trek, Team DSM Firmenich PostNL and SD Worx Protime demonstrated strategic prowess, actively dictating the pace and maintaining a strong presence at the front.

When the peloton hit the first of 17 cobbled sections, Lotte Kopecky positioned herself to the front of the peloton, staying out of trouble. Pfeiffer Georgi looking sharp and right in her wheel. Marianne Vos and Elisa Balsamo were always close by.

The first part of the race the wind was blowing fiercely in the back of the riders, and it was anticipated that there might be crosswinds with possible echelons, so positioning was absolutely the key today.

My teammates tried to make me laugh all the time to keep the atmosphere nice and relaxed. That certainly did me good.

At the four-star sector Tilloy a Sars et Rosierese Kopecky proved why she is the one to beat today when she opened up the gas handle and split the peloton into multiple groups.

With 60 km to go, the World Champion asked for assistance, went back to the car and got an Allen key from her mechanic. Her handlebars came loose on one of the sections and calmly fixing the problem, finishing and just before the section 13 the Belgian rider was back in the main group.

The high pace of the riders upfront made the peloton stretch out on the cobbled section and some riders were already dropped.

Then, when a group of 20 to 30 riders split from the peloton and started to race in their own pace, dropping more and more riders,

In this group, Ellen van Dijk showed that, even after giving birth, she is as force to be reckoned with and on Mons en Pevele and she places attack after attack thinning the group out even more.

Amber Kraak of FDJ Suez attacks. The French team have been very active all day trying to get into breaks. The Dutch rider got almost a minute from the large chasing group. But who else than Ellen van Dijk closes the gap and then jumps toward Kraak. The two ride well together but the chase behind her was even more spectacular. Lotte Kopecky attacked the group, followed by Vos, Georgi and Balsamo. Then a crash dropping Pfeiffer Georgi, and Balsamo has to pass.

The three riders bridge to van Dijk and Kraak and Balsamo and Georgi fight with everything they have to get to the front group. And they manage to do so bringing the 6 riders into the Velodrome of Roubaix poised for a showdown on the hallowed grounds of the Roubaix Velodrome. Amidst thunderous cheers from the crowd, the intensity soared in the last lap, culminating in a breathtaking battle for victory.

Kopecky’s Triumph

In a display of sheer power, Lotte Kopecky emerged as the ultimate victor, crossing the finish line first in a spectacular sprint. Where Vos, Balsamo and Georgie fought for the best position for the final push, Lotte Kopecky knew from her experience on the track, how important the final corner was and launched her attack really late. Bt it paid off because her speed was really high and enough for the the final 100m. The Belgian World Champion showcased her unparalleled skill, clinching victory and proudly honoring her esteemed World Champion jersey. Elisa Balsamo managed to push for second followed by Pfeiffer Georgie, who was extremely happy with this result

“Paris-Roubaix was THE goal of the season. The team had a lot of confidence in me last week. My teammates tried to make me laugh all the time to keep the atmosphere nice and relaxed. That certainly did me good. After the Tour of Flanders I wondered why I didn’t feel so fit. It’s in your head. Everyone around me always stressed that I had to keep faith in my own qualities.” Said the new owner of the cobblestone award.

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