Lotte Kopecky claims dominant fourth Belgian road race title in Zottegem

World champion Lotte Kopecky secured her fourth Belgian road race championship in Zottegem with a commanding solo victory. The SD Worx-Protime rider crossed the finish line with a gap of over three minutes, showcasing her strength and determination. This win goes with her 6th time trial national championship secured this week as well.

Early moves and decisive attack

The race began to heat up with more than 50 kilometres remaining when Kopecky launched an attack from a chasing group, putting the rest of the field under significant pressure. She was quickly joined by Fleur Moors, Sanne Cant, Justine Ghekiere, and Jesse Vandenbulcke. However, finding the pace insufficient, Kopecky decided to go it alone with 30 kilometres left.

Her move on the cobbled sections of Kruiswaterplein and Lippenhovestraat proved decisive as she extended her lead significantly. By the final lap, Kopecky had a lead of one and a half minutes, which she more than doubled by the time she reached the finish line.

Battle for the remaining podium spots

The fight for second and third was intense. In the final stretch on Lippenhovestraat, Cant launched an attack with Ghekiere the only one able to follow. This duo was clearly racing for the remaining podium places as Kopecky was well out of reach.

Cant eventually secured the silver medal by outsprinting Ghekiere, who settled for bronze. Cant, visibly emotional after the race, mentioned that despite her initial plan to retire, recent changes in her life might alter her future. “I had it tough after the finish. I don’t often get emotional, but this was one of those moments. I can’t close my career in a more beautiful way than this.”

Cant also reflected on the race dynamics, recognising Kopecky’s superior performance. “When Kopecky attacked, I was in the worst position to respond. I got close but then she accelerated again, and my legs couldn’t keep up.”

For Justine Ghekiere, this was her debut podium at the Belgian Championships. Despite a mechanical issue that hampered her initial response to Kopecky’s attack, she was satisfied with her performance. “I wanted to shift gears when Kopecky made her move, but my chain took a while to settle. I tried to keep up but couldn’t maintain the pace.”

Ghekiere acknowledged Kopecky’s exceptional form, saying, “Lotte is in a class of her own. We weren’t idle at the back, but she just kept extending her lead.”

In the sprint for second, Ghekiere was outpaced by Cant but remained pleased with her result. “I’m not that explosive, so I wanted to be in Cant’s wheel. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, and I finished third, but I’m very happy with the podium.”

2024 Belgium National Road Race Championship Women result

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Main photo credit: Getty