Lotte Kopecky once again proved she could win on almost all terrain, taking the fourth stage of the Simac Ladies Tour after following an attack by Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), who ultimately ended up third on the stage. Kopecky’s SD Worx teammate Lorena Wiebes followed the move by Niewiadoma to take second.
It is Kopecky’s second stage win in a week, the first being the time trial on Thursday, which extends her overall lead going into the final stage on Sunday.
How it happened
- It was a very aggressive start to the day with a few moves going and coming back throughout the first 70 km. Lidl-Trek, Canyon-SRAM and SD Worx were all particularly aggressive throughout the early stages.
- Things were a bit hectic for a while after the crash, and subsequent abandon, of second-overall Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma) and Lidl-Trek’s Lucinda Brand with around 63 km to go. A group of four containing Maike van der Duin (Canyon-SRAM), Charlotte Kool (DSM-Firmenich), Barbara Guarischi (SD Worx) and Ruby Roseman-Gannon (Jayco-AlUla) slipped off the front with 60 km to go.
- Then with 53 km to go Annemiek van Vleuten attacked – a move everyone and their mother should have seen coming. The Movistar rider was followed by Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), Pfeiffer Georgi (DSM-Firmenich), Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma), race leader Kopecky, and her teammate Lorena Wiebes.
- In the chaos Niewiadoma and Georgi managed to slip away from the selection of riders, leaving behind a group of ten. With the two off the front, the others stopped working, and once the peloton caught up everyone turned to SD Worx to pull them back.
- As the peloton entered Valkenburg the gap to the two escapees dropped to only 21 seconds, and although they were able to stay out for a while longer once the race reached the city circuits, they were caught with 28 km to go. Almost immediately there were more attacks from Canyon-SRAM and Lidl-Trek. Nothing got away but with each acceleration, the group got smaller and smaller. At one point, with 15 km to go, Kopecky herself was following moves.
- An attack by Floortje Mackaij (Movistar) lured a group containing Elena Cecchini (SD Worx), Tour de France Femmes stage winner Yara Kastelijn (Fenix-Deceuninck), Elise Uijen (DSM-Firmenich) and Quinty Schoens (Parkhotel Valkenburg) off the front. With 5 km to go Mackaij attacked again, leaving her break mates behind.
- It wasn’t the chase that ultimately brought the Dutch rider back but an attack by Niewiadoma. The Polish rider was followed by Kopecky and Wiebes, who in the end outsprinted Niewiadoma to take one-two on the stage.
Brief stage results
GC standings after Stage 4
Quote of the day
It was the SD Worx show we have all become accustomed to on Saturday. The Dutch team was in control from the moment the race rolled off the line, and even more motivated to win after two disappointing performances in the bunch sprints on stages 1 and 3.
I have to say thanks to the team first and foremost. They did an amazing job controlling everything, and that’s not nothing, They brought groups back and closed gaps, and to go one-two is thanks to the teammates.Kopecky said while cooling down on the rollers
- Demi Vollering, favourite for the stage, did not take to the start on Saturday morning due to illness, so SD Worx went one-two without one of their strongest riders, or perhaps we were saved from an SD Worx one-two-three…
- Behind the winning trio groups rolled in looking quite tired, a combination of the relentless racing and the heat that continues to affect – well – everyone.
Next up: Stage 5, the final stage
The final stage is basically two circuit races. The peloton will start with seven laps of a 14 km loop before riding over to an 8 km-long finishing circuit they will race five times. There is a punchy climb in both courses that will wear down the legs and probably reduce the peloton, however, will it be enough to tire out Lorena Wiebes? We will see.
With Markus out and Kopecky showing the strength she has (not just this week but since July), it’s hard to see anyone unseating the road world champion to steal the lead of the Simac Ladies Tour, but it will be the final race for Van Vleuten, and if anyone can surprise us it’s the multi-time world champion herself.
It’s a good one for some solid attacks as the direction is changing all the time, so it’s likely to be a great race to watch.
Live coverage can be found on GCN+ starting at 14:25.
What did you think of this story?