Lotte Kopecky stays motivated after double win for Paris-Roubaix

Lotte Kopecky stays motivated after double win for Paris-Roubaix

"Everything that comes with it is extra"


The 2022 season is so far a dream year for Lotte Kopecky. Beforehand, the 26-year-old Belgian champion hoped to win one classic, but in the meantime the Strade Bianche and the Tour of Flanders are already on her palmares. Paris-Roubaix is also still on her wish list. "But that doesn't have to be this year. If I can do something for my teammates, I'll do it with pleasure."

Linked race Parijs-Roubaix - Linked cyclists Lotte Kopecky

How do you live up to Paris-Roubaix? 
"Relaxed. If I get in a situation to win the race, I will certainly not miss the opportunity. One day I want to add Paris-Roubaix to my palmares, but that doesn't have to be this year. With my wins in the Tour of Flanders and the Strade Bianche, the pressure is off. Of course I still have goals this year, but everything that comes with it is extra. That's a very nice feeling."

Does it bother you to be a top favourite for Paris-Roubaix? 
"No. In the run-up to the Tour of Flanders it was much more so. I hardly feel any pressure for Paris-Roubaix. I have a different view on it. Before, I was sometimes too tense in the run-up to a race and lost too much energy. This year was the first time I was so relaxed before the Tour of Flanders. With success."

How do you now look back on your transfer to Team SD Worx?  
"Beforehand, there was some scepticism. 'Are you going to get enough of a chance yourself?', people asked me. I always said that I had no problem with not being the only leading lady anymore. I knew it would be give and take. But if I could win one classic, who cares if you have to ride other races as a team? Partly thanks to this transfer, I have now won my absolute dream race. What gives the victory even more sparkle is that it really was a victory for the team as well."

Did you expect the team atmosphere to be so strong? 
"It did surprise me. We have only been teammates for four months. To go through fire and water for each other like the team did for me in the Ronde... I find that really special. If I get the chance to give something back on Saturday in Paris-Roubaix, I will do it with pleasure." 

"The fact that I am no longer the only leading lady has also liberated me. If you have a bad day, it's not so bad. If you have teammates who can also finish, you turn the switch and ride in service."

"It is a race where the pace never stops. You also have to be mentally strong. Even if things go wrong, you can never give up."

Lotte Kopecky

How confident are you after your victory in the Tour of Flanders? 
"I already knew I had what it takes to win such a race, but this was the confirmation. I love racing in this team. When I saw how Team SD Worx rode in the Brabantse Pijl and how Demi Vollering won... I just sat in my chair with a smile. It clicks very well within the team. The way a former world champion like Chantal van den Broek-Blaak rode her heart out for me in the Ronde, is simply impressive. It clicks well, but such an action not only makes you get along even better, it makes you really grant it to each other." 

What do you expect for Paris-Roubaix?

"It will be a very tough race. I have already looked at the wind, and it looks like it will be against us. It will be very nervous towards the first cobblestone and then the finish. I think a lot of teams will try to have strong riders in the early breakaway. Last year we saw with Lizzie Deignan that it was possible, although we had slanted tailwinds then."

What makes Paris-Roubaix the Hell of the North?

"It is a race where the pace never drops. There is a constant battle to get the best position towards the lanes. If you get side winds on the cobbled sections, it becomes absolutely terrible. Then you can't hide. This race is for riders who keep going and are mentally strong. In Paris-Roubaix you can never give up. Even if you have a puncture or you fall, you never know what bad luck they will have at the front. You need a lot of luck to win this race. But although it is an unpredictable race, there will never be an unfamous winner. When will I be happy at the Vélodrome on Saturday? When someone from Team SD Worx is showing off the cobble trophy."

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