Team SD Worx was omnipresent in the Tour of Flanders. The team was alert throughout the race. Just before Koppenberg the team took complete control. After the Taaienberg the race broke completely open. Team SD Worx had every pawn in the front group. First Christine Majerus slipped away, then Marlen Reusser crossed the line. The Swiss champion led the forcing until the top of the Paterberg, where Annemiek van Vleuten tried in vain to get rid of Lotte Kopecky.
Chantal van de Broek-Blaak crossed the line a little later, after which she immediately went on the attack. “It was a Blaak moment, indeed. This was the decisive move for the victory,” said the Dutch former world champion. “When the connection came, I looked back and saw that only Annemiek van Vleuten and Lotte Kopecky were still in my wheel. Then I quickly changed gears, because Lotte is the fastest of the two of us. So I rode myself empty for her so we stayed in front. The whole Team SD Worx was so strong today. This was the perfect team performance, from the text book.”
This was the perfect team performance, from the book.”
From the follow car, the advice came to push Van Vleuten to the front as well, but in the end Blaak took the lead for the most part. “I didn’t think it was the moment to gamble,” Kopecky said. “There were two of us on the podium anyway, we just had to have faith in my sprint. I assumed my own strength. I had beaten Annemiek on her terrain, on mine I believed she would not beat me.”
After which Kopecky perfectly remounted Van Vleuten’s sprint and brought Belgium into ecstasy with its second win in the Tour of Flanders for women. Twelve years after Grace Verbeke. “I really don’t realise it yet. This is a dream come true. This is the biggest race there is for a Belgian. To win it in the national champion’s jersey… unbelievable. I had two goals before the season: the Strade Bianche and the Tour of Flanders. And now they are both on my palmares, just crazy,” Kopecky said.
It is relaxed riding with this team. We controlled from start to finish. It is a childhood dream to win the Tour. Team SD Worx played a very big role in my wins in the Strade Bianche and the Tour of Flanders.
She concluded as follows: “People wondered whether Team SD Worx was the right choice. Whether I would be able to go my own way with such a star ensemble. The answer is clear. Team SD Worx plays a very big role in these victories. In the past I was always isolated and had to compete against this strong block, now these are my teammates and we work together. It’s really relaxing to ride with this team. We controlled the race from start to finish. I am so happy that I was able to finish,” she concluded.
Good for the fifth Tour victory of this team since 2014: Ellen Van Dijk (2014), Lizzie Deignan (2016), Anna van der Breggen (2018), Chantal van de Broek-Blaak (2020) and now Lotte Kopecky (2022).