Lotte Kopecky takes silver at world championships in Wollongong

Lotte Kopecky takes silver at world championships in Wollongong

"I lose gold here"


On a tough course in Wollongong, Annemiek van Vleuten took the world title. The Dutchwoman made it through with a late attack, after which Lotte Kopecky convincingly won the sprint for the silver medal. "This was the chance of a lifetime for the world title for me. When Annemiek attacked, I hesitated one second too long. I lose gold there," Lotte Kopecky responded.

Linked race Wereldkampioenschap individuele tijdrit Wollongong - Linked cyclists Lotte Kopecky

The Mount Pleasant was heralded beforehand as the decisive test of the world championships road race. On the last two passages, the same five secluded themselves: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Elisa Longo-Borghini, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Kasia Niewiadoma and Liane Lippert. On two occasions, cooperation was lost. A group including Lotte Kopecky, Marlen Reusser and Niamh Fisher-Black found themselves 15 seconds behind the five in the final lap. 

A kilometre from the end they still came together, after which Annemiek van Vleuten made the decisive move from behind. "I saw Annemiek coming, but nobody reacted. Everyone was looking at me, because I am the fastest. But Silvia Persico is also fast, that's why I hesitated. If I had sprinted after Van Vleuten, Persico would jump into my wheel. Then there was a good chance the Italian would win the sprint." 

Disillusionment radiated from it. "I feel like I'm losing gold here. Marianne Vos was not there, this was the chance of a lifetime for the world title. On Mount Pleasant, I just couldn't keep up. I knew that if we got the chase going, we could come back later with our little group. Everyone rode very calculated, but just after the last kink at one and a half kilometres from the finish, it still came together."


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"When Annemiek van Vleuten went next, I actually knew immediately that the gold medal might be gone. That kilometre will play out repeatedly in my head. Still, I'm glad I travelled to Wollongong after initially having doubts. That I grab Belgium's first medal since 1994 at a women's elite World championships is poor consolation for now. I would rather have won. I still have to let it sink in a bit. Next year there will be a new chance in Glasgow, but right now I'm mostly bummed."

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