Demi Vollering won a sprint-a-deux against her teammate Lotte Kopecky, with the pair emerging victorious after hunting down the lone break of Kristen Faulkner and passing her on the Via Santa Caterina. The pair sprinted against each other in the final 100 metres, with Vollering coming through in the final metres in Siena.
Vollering attacked 17km from the finish, with Lotte Kopecky bridging over to her. The SD Worx pair then worked together to close down the more than a minute to Kristen Faulkner who had attacked in response to Karlijn Swinkels much earlier. Faulkner proved a tough catch but they caught up at the base of the final climb. A brief issue saw Faulkner move to the side, managing to pin Vollering against the barrier. Despite the close riding, both riders stayed up and Vollering’s stronger legs allowed her to rejoin Kopecky on the steep gradient.
It was around 2 minutes back to the rest of the finishers, those who had been unable to go with the SD Worx move. The likes of Annemiek van Vleuten, Puck Pieterse, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Kasia Niewiadoma were all in the next group behind. For Pieterse, it was a sign that the young cyclocross star can do a great job on the road as well. She made and responded to attacks and the company she found herself in at the end is a sign of what we may come to expect in the future.
“This victory means an incredible amount to me. It was a very crazy final. I think we did really well as a team. The other girls killed themselves several times today, I’m thankful for that. The team, and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak in particular, has given me faith. That helped me a lot. I thought: now is the time. I rode alone for a while and then suddenly Lotte was with me.
Together we rode to Faulkner. We knew at the bottom of the final climb that we were going to catch her. That last climb does not lie. If you ride alone for so long, you will not make it. This one means an incredible amount to me, I think it’s one of the most beautiful races. In recent years I worked a lot for teammates, but now the team – and Chantal van den Broek-Blaak in particular – gave me faith. That helped me a lot to win this competition.”Demi Vollering
“Of course it is nice to win yourself. But in the end, the most important thing is that someone from SD Worx comes first. No agreements were made. As soon as we knew that we had no longer to reckon with Kristen, it was Demi against me. Demi and I just made the best of it and sprinted for the win.
It was exciting. Immediately after the finish we did not know who had won. Of course it is nice to win yourself. But in the end it doesn’t matter who wins, as long as someone from SD Worx comes first. I am happy for Demi that she has put this competition on her honours list.
Last week I won the Omloop, today Demi wins. This is hopeful for the great competitions that are still to come.”Lotte Kopecky
“There was never a moment of calm in the race. That was good for the audience, but I didn’t play a part in the final. I was not good enough, and others were stronger,. I had very good legs, but I made a big mistake. Because I was actually well placed all day, but I made a mistake in the place where I really wanted to. I was too far back. And then it was over in a second. I actually wanted to attack there. That was a shit moment, but on the other hand Demi Vollering was the strongest today.
That was really crazy. I was able to avoid the horse, but he didn’t bother me. Now I’m going to Teide in Tenerife. I need to get a little better, although I think I was good. But you have to be super good to win in women’s cycling. I’m back for Flanders.”Annemiek van Vleuten
2023 Strade Bianche Women result
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