Kopecky becomes the first Belgian to win Omloop het Nieuwsblad women
After a solo on the Muur van Geraardsbergen, Lotte Kopecky became the first ever Belgian winner of Omloop het Nieuwsblad women. Wiebes came second ahead of Bastianelli in the sprint.
None of the riders was able to break away early in the 18th Omloop het Nieuwsblad for women. Some 40 km from the finish, however, there was a first split in the pack, near Molenberg. A group of 16 riders formed, which included Van Vleuten (Movistar Team Women), Kopecky and Wiebes (Team SD Worx), Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez), Balsamo and Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo).
Some 27 km from the finish line, Sierra Canadilla (Movistar Team Women) accelerated alone, as she headed solo to the penultimate climb: the Muur van Geraardsbergen. On the Vesten, Kopecky took control of the race, setting the pace for the pack. Georgi (Movistar Team Women) chased the Belgian rider, but was soon forced to let go. Kopecky went in search of Sierra Canadilla alone. On Kapelmuur, the top favourite to win the race was able to catch up with her.
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The pace of the chasing group soon slowed again due to Kopecky’s teammates. At the head of the race, Sierra and Kopecky joined forces as Bosberg loomed up in front of them. At the foot of the final climb, Kopecky accelerated again, leaving Sierra behind and going off solo in search of victory in the opening classic.
She fought off the pack on her own, which gave chase, successfully, building up a lead of about 30 seconds. The headwind only made the last 12 km to the finish line even more difficult. But Kopecky refused to relinquish her lead, crossing the finish line solo and becoming the first Belgian to win the women’s opening classic. Wiebes, Lotte’s teammate and the reigning European champion, came second ahead of Bastianelli in the sprint.