World Championships Gallery: The ultimate race of attrition at Road Worlds
The final event in the 2023 Cycling World Championships was a doozy.
Even though the top favourite won the women’s road race world title, that didn’t make the race any less thrilling. Lotte Kopecky was pushed to her limit by her many rivals, and by an incredibly difficult finishing circuit, in what was a dizzyingly dynamic and hard-fought race around Glasgow.
The Belgian attacked multiple times but was never able to get away. At least not until a move finally stuck with around 5.5 km remaining, and the 27-year-old was free, riding away to the win so many predicted.
As the first-ever cycling ‘Super Worlds’ comes to a close, join us for a look back at the final road event: the elite and U23 women’s road race. In the gallery below you’ll see photos from Kristof Ramon and Ashley & Jered Gruber, plus a handful of podium shots from the Cor Vos photo agency.
After a 60 km opening section from Loch Lomond to Glasgow, the riders began six and a bit laps of a tough and technical inner-city circuit. It’s become a cliché to refer to races as attritional but when more than 200 riders start, and there’s only around 30 riders left in the peloton with 70 km to go, that’s definitely a race of attrition. Three-time world champ Marianne Vos wasn’t on her best day. She came to the front early in the race but ultimately finished a long way back. The Glasgow circuit was defined by a bunch of punchy climbs … … several of them very steep indeed. The Montrose Street climb was particularly brutal. Lorena Wiebes was forced to abandon early due to illness. Meanwhile, Alison Jackson was happy to take a donut hand-up from a couple of roadside fans. The race split and reformed at the front a whole stack of times … … but it was an elite group of six that came to the fore in the closing kilometres. Among them, former world champion Lizzie Deignan (on the front), Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (right of frame), Christina Schweinberger, Demi Vollering, Marlen Reusser, and Lotte Kopecky. One of the rides of the day came from Swiss rider Elise Chabbey. Ever aggressive, Chabbey was in an early move before the race hit the circuits, and she then spent 60 km off the front solo on her way around Glasgow. While she was caught at the start of the final lap, 14.1 km from the finish, Chabbey managed to hold on for a wonderful seventh place. Uttrup Ludwig was having her best race of the year … … and put even Tour de France Femmes winner Demi Vollering in trouble. After her shock abandon in the ITT earlier in the week, Marlen Reusser was back at the pointy end in the road race. With Chabbey off the front for so long Reusser was able to sit back and save energy in the chase group (as much as that was possible on the Glasgow circuits). She ended up just off the podium in fourth. Vollering put in one of several surges on the Montrose Street climb with just over a lap to go. Kopecky was able to follow her trade teammate. Defending champ Annemiek van Vleuten had a frustrating day. She had two mechanicals, including one just before the final lap began. She’d been in the elite lead group but never rejoined the front after needing a bike change. The winning move came at 7.2 km to go. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig attacked uphill and Kopecky followed. With 5.6 km remaining, Kopecky got clear of Uttrup Ludwig … … leaving the Dane to chase. Kopecky held on to win her first world title on the road, adding to the two track world titles she took earlier in the meet. Note Uttrup Ludwig desperately trying to hold on for silver in the background. She’d fall agonisingly short, with Vollering catching her right on the line. Road world champion, as expected. Hugs from Vollering. Do we count this as another 1-2 for SD Worx? Deignan had an amazing race, fighting gallantly for sixth place after being part of the early breakaway and just about every important move afterwards. Elise Chabbey had every right to be happy with her ride. Early breakaway, multiple attacks, 60 km off the front alone, a seventh-place finish – excellent. Van Vleuten waved and smiled for the crowd as she came in to finish her final Road Worlds, but the frustration of an ill-timed mechanical will certainly sting. Gold for Kopecky, silver for Vollering, and bronze for Uttrup Ludwig. Blanka Vas (centre) took out the U23 women’s race, winning the sprint ahead of Shirin van Anrooij (left) and Anna Shackley (right). The trio were 11th, 13th, and 17th respectively in the combined elite/U23 field. What a year it’s been for Lotte Kopecky. Three world titles, second overall at the Tour de France Femmes with a stage win, the Tour of Flanders, a total of 11 wins on the road … She’s certainly earned some time off now. What did you think of this story?
😐Meh 😊️Solid 🤩Excellent