Lotte Kopecky delivered on the promise of favourite status in Glasgow, but with no shortage of action, thrill and suspense on the dynamic urban circuit. It’s been a phenomenal few weeks for the Belgian who also claimed two rainbow jerseys and a bronze medal at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, on top of her phenomenal performance at the Tour de France Femmes Avec Zwift last month.
Demi Vollering (Netherlands) joined her trade team teammate on the podium by sprinting past Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark) in the fight for silver. The Under-23 title went to Blanka Vas (Hungary) in the large chase group that finished 4:34 down, ahead of Shirin van Anrooij (Netherlands) and local favourite Anna Shackley (Great Britain).
- Elise Chabbey (Switzerland) was in an attacking mood from the very start, getting into an alarmingly strong early breakaway soon after the race left Loch Lomond that included Lizzie Deignan, Juliette Labous, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, Sanne Cant, Mischa Bredewold and Blanka Vas. They were all hauled back a while before arrival in Glasgow, where Chabbey made several more accelerations before making her virtuosic solo move stick with a massive 75 kilometres to go.
- The gap was still at around 90 seconds with 40 km to go, but the next climb through Kelvingrove Park saw a shift in momentum as Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) accelerated and split the bunch, resulting in the formation of the elite chase group: Van Vleuten, Vollering, Kopecky, Deignan, Uttrup Ludwig, Austria’s Christina Schweinberger and Chabbey’s Swiss teammate Marlen Reusser.
- Chabbey was finally caught in the finishing straight with one lap to go, making it a seven-rider lead group – Van Vleuten was back in chase mode about 40 seconds behind after suffering another puncture.
- An opportunistic acceleration by Deignan – who’s on happy hunting ground in Glasgow – briefly reduced the group to four, Schweinberger quickest to react, but it wasn’t until the last passage of the Kelvingrove Park climb that the decisive move was made, Uttrup Ludwig drawing out Kopecky and leaving the chasers flailing behind.
- The vicious climb of Scott Street was the scene of the final blow. Uttrup Ludwig led the duo onto the steep ramp and could not respond when her Belgian rival punched hard towards the top, Kopecky going solo with just under 6 km to go.
- As the Belgian rode away to victory, Uttrup Ludwig was left in purgatory between the two big favourites as Vollering charged after her, and despite her best efforts, the Dane had to settle for bronze as Vollering edged her on the line.
Quote of the day:
Kopecky was very emotional after the finish, taking a moment to reflect on what has been an unusually turbulent year for the versatile Belgian, her successful World Championships coming five months after losing her brother.
“It’s already been an amazing year but also a very hard year. I don’t know what keeps me pushing… I don’t know what I was thinking. It really means a lot to me. It’s a dream come true.”
Someone get this luxury helper a team gilet!
A huge season for the new world champion.
- Records fell at Leadville Trail 100 overnight (for those of us tuned into the Worlds), with Keegan Swenson and Sofia Gomez Villafañe coming out on top.
- Staying with the knobbly tyres, it was a good day for the Ineos Grenadiers MTB programme on Saturday as both their riders won elite XCO titles, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Tom Pidcock snatching victory in a crowded Glentress Forest.
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