Femke Markus and Lotte Kopecky cannot cash in on strong performance in Paris-Roubaix

Femke Markus and Lotte Kopecky cannot cash in on strong performance in Paris-Roubaix

Costly falls for Team SD Worx


At the Roubaix Vélodrome, Femke Markus had perhaps the opportunity of her career. From the early breakaway, the 26-year-old rider from Team SD Worx looked set to sprint for victory in Paris-Roubaix on the race track. Until she crashed unfortunately the last lap and was immediately hopeless. "This is going to keep me awake for a long time," Markus concluded bitterly.

Three-quarters of a lap before the end, Markus was at the bottom of the course on the Côte d'Azur blue zone. There it was a bit wet and when the rider in front of her skidded a bit and she was touched briefly by the later winner Alison Jackson riding next to her, she immediately felt things were wrong. "I got a push and then my wheel slipped. I couldn't do anything anymore and in went down. I was extremely bummed. We came here to win. It feels especially bad for me towards the team." 

Top favourite Lotte Kopecky also had to deal with bad luck in the third edition of l'Enfer du Nord. At 37 kilometres from the line on the cobbled section of Pont-Thibault, last year's winner Longo Borghini went down from the lead. The Italian first took Lorena Wiebes and then also Lotte Kopecky in her fall.

Kopecky: "I couldn't move. I was in a lot of pain after the fall and initially feared my ankle was broken. I didn't think I could continue. In the end, I got back on the bike and then it went better and better. It proves that in Paris-Roubaix it's never done." 

Although Kopecky's group approached the early breakaway to within 10 seconds, the gap was never bridged. In the end, the Belgian did win the sprint of the chasers for seventh place. "I can't blame myself for anything," Kopecky concluded. "Without that fall, we will definitely be back at the front. I felt very strong, even after the fall. But in Paris-Roubaix, the bad luck factor also plays a big role now. Next year I will come back. One day I will manage to win here."

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