Demi Vollering beams after win in Strade Bianche where she took it in a millimetre sprint from teammate Lotte Kopecky

Demi Vollering beams after win in Strade Bianche where she took it in a millimetre sprint from teammate Lotte Kopecky

"I can't grasp it yet"


The film of the final of the Strade Bianche is likely to replay in Demi Vollerings head several more times. The Dutch rider was shocked when she saw her pursuit of Kristen Faulkner initially briefly stalled by a loose horse. After a successful chase with Lotte Kopecky, the teammates sprinted for the win, after which Vollering triumphed. "I really wanted this race on my record," she said.

Linked race Strade Bianche - Linked cyclists Demi Vollering

"It was a bizarre day," insists Demi Vollering. "It hasn't landed yet what all happened. The image of that horse falling is more burned on my retina than my win. I still have to let it all sink in."

"That horse scared the hell out of me. The moment it entered the road, it also kicked backwards. Going past it was far too dangerous. I found it really scary and immediately distanced myself. I just braked on the descent and was confused. At the end of the descent, I hoped the horse would go straight on, but it wanted to turn left with me and missed the turn, then went full down. I hope the horse is okay."

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After which Demi Vollering was reinforced on the final gravel stretch by Lotte Kopecky. "We immediately joined forces. By now you know each other inside out and so we went head-to-head full on. I could see from Lotte's body language that she was also confident that we would grab Faulkner. That final climb doesn't lie. When we joined Faulkner, she just barely drove me into the fences. My knuckles are open from it."

Demi Vollering and Lotte Kopecky came together at the top of Via Santa Catarina. "I looked at Lotte with a smile and a look of we just flicked it. But she went full ride before the turn. Okay, we're going to race for it, I thought, so I shifted gears too. After the finish, it was a bit awkward for a while. We had to let it settle a momentum. But even before we knew who won, we started laughing and hugging each other. Then when I saw her in the tent, we held each other tightly for a few minutes and Lotte also said she was super happy for me. Lotte and I are going to have a lot of fun together this spring."

Vollering can thus tick off one of her favourite races. "We made it super exciting, everyone was on the edge of their seats until the very last millimetre. I think everyone enjoyed this race. I definitely wanted Strade Bianche on my palmares. I always liked the race, but I was never really confident I could win it. Chantal van den Broek-Blaak called me after the first training camp and peppered me that I had to start believing I could win here. This gives a lot of confidence. One and two in the Strade Bianche after also being one and two in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last week... I'm already looking forward to the future."

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