Lotte Kopecky triumphs atop Jebel Hafeet and grabs power in UAE Tour

Lotte Kopecky triumphs atop Jebel Hafeet and grabs power in UAE Tour

"This is crazy"


Lotte Kopecky has another cabinet piece up her sleeve. The world champion rode away with an elite group on the final climb of the third stage of the UAE Tour. On top of Jebel Hafeet, she thus took her first-ever mountain victory. "This is crazy. I had dreamed of this beforehand. I was hoping to win here, but then to make it happen... This is the perfect confidence boost with an eye on the classics."

Linked cyclists Lotte Kopecky Gekoppelde ploegleiders: Danny Stam

"This is my first mountain victory ever. This is crazy," Kopecky said. "I was very motivated. I did make it a goal beforehand to stay with it as long as possible on Jebel Hafeet. I felt the team had a lot of confidence in me and I had also studied the climb well in terms of the gradients. Of course I had hoped for this beforehand, but to live up to it.... This is very good for confidence. This always hurts the legs. On a climb, you can feel good one minute and practically explode thirty seconds later. That's why I wasn't thinking about victory yet and just watched mile by mile how I felt. When Bradbury went, I panicked for a moment, but luckily I quickly found the right rhythm again. As I approached her, I still had the confidence somewhere that I could win. I'm very happy with this."

"It would be nice to get through tomorrow safely and then pocket the overall victory," Kopecky continued. "I didn't expect this right away. But this is only good for confidence and motivation. The condition is obviously good. If you don't have a certain level now, you won't be there for the classic spring. The Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are still far away, but I do think I'm well on track given the training build-up I've had and the training sessions that are still to come."

Sports manager Danny Stam is pleased with the world champion's progression. "This is a very nice win. We had secretly bet on it beforehand. But the fact that she then just lives up to it is just fantastic. Jebel Hafeet is a tough climb after all. This is a preparation race for the classic spring. This performance shows that Lottes form is heading in the right direction. To take three wins in a row is something we are very satisfied with. One more tough day follows tomorrow, but this race is already a success."

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