Lotte Kopecky lives up to favourites and wins world road title, Demi Vollering takes silver
“Dream come true”
Lotte Kopecky came, saw and conquered. The 27-year-old Belgian was pushed into the role of top favourite beforehand and she lived up to it. Just over five kilometres from the finish, she flew away from Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig uphill and raced to the world title. Seven seconds after Kopecky, Demi Vollering took the silver medal. Kopecky made history by giving her country Belgium another gold in the World Road Championship exactly half a century after Nicole van den Broek. The highlight in a week in which she had previously captured two world titles on the track. “2023 is a fantastic year on the one hand, but at the same time also very tough. This title is a dream come true,” said a particularly emotional Lotte Kopecky beyond the finish line.
Lotte Kopecky continues to string together successes. Just two weeks after she stood on the final podium of the Tour de France Femmes in Pau as runner-up in the overall classification and won the green jersey of the points classification, she adds another three world titles. “For me to become a three-time world champion in seven days is crazy. Belgium is a great cycling nation, but in women’s cycling we had yet to close a gap. That we can now win the biggest one-day race in the world is the result of all the efforts made.”
“The Belgian team supported me perfectly. Sanne Cant and Julie van de Velde played an important role in the beginning. Justine Ghekiere made sure the gap with Elise Chabbey did not get too big.” The Swiss built up a lead of a minute and a half. “Justine Ghekiere kept up the pace. I told myself beforehand not to get nervous, because I knew that I would be watched especially. Still, I was a bit frustrated. I felt tremendously strong. Then, when I was at the front with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, I played all or nothing on the final slope. To arrive solo and grab the rainbow jersey is a dream come true. I’m already looking forward to riding around in that jersey for a whole year soon.”
Seven seconds after Kopecky, Demi Vollering took the silver ahead of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig. “It is heartening for Lotte that she is world champion. I’m happy for her,” Demi Vollering said. “Lotte was a bit annoyed with me because I wasn’t riding full behind Chabbey. She shouted at me, “Demi, it’s now or never.” I replied that I still had Annemiek van Vleuten behind me. After the finish, Lotte and I had a good laugh about it. At our embrace, I said to her, “Lotte you’ve just become world champion and that I was proud on her.” This was not the most ideal course for me. I prefer slightly longer climbs. That’s no excuse because Lotte was by far the strongest. After she just missed out on the world title last year, it’s nice that she does win the rainbow jersey this year.”
The road race in Glasgow was a great success for Team SD Worx. In addition to the first two places in the elite race, the team also captured the world title in the Under-23s. Blanka Vas proved the fastest in the sprint for 11th place behind Kopecky and Vollering. That ranking earned the Hungarian the U23 world title. Anna Shackley finished third in this category, ending the World Championship in her hometown in a fantastic way.
Team SD Worx can look back super satisfied at this Super World Championships with five world titles and a total of eight medals. Lotte Kopecky became world champion on the road, points race and elimination. Marlen Reusser took the world title in the mixed relay with Switzerland and Blanka Vas took the rainbow jersey on the road in the U23. Demi Vollering (silver on the road), Lotte Kopecky (bronze in the omnium) and Anna Shackley (bronze on the road at U23) completed the medal tally of eight.
Video – 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships Women’s Road Race
Blanka Vas succeeds Niamh Fisher-Black as world U23 champion, Anna Shackley takes bronze in home town
“Proud to take rainbow jersey”
The party for Team SD Worx in Glasgow was completed behind Kopecky, Vollering and Reusser by Blanka Vas and Anna Shackley. Four and a half minutes after Lotte Kopecky became elite world champion, Blanka Vas won the sprint for the U23 world title ahead of Shirin van Anrooij. Anna Shackley took bronze. So Team SD Worx captured four of the six medals in the road race. “I didn’t expect to win because I didn’t feel super in the beginning. But it’s a great feeling to be able to put on the rainbow jersey.”
After finishing fifth at the U23 mountain bike cross-country on Friday, Blanka Vas was able to don the coveted rainbow jersey for the first time in her career on Sunday. Right from the start, Blanka Vas coloured the race by slipping into the early breakaway. “That was the right decision because my legs didn’t actually feel super. I couldn’t follow the pace on the climb and blew back to the peloton. When we got to the local circuit, I almost had to drop out on the first lap, but I felt myself getting better towards the end.”
Vas rode in a group of nine towards the finish. In it were also Shirin van Anrooij and teammate Anna Shackley who were also in with a chance of winning the U23 title. Blanka Vas won the sprint of the chasing group for 11th place, making her the best performing promise. Good to succeed her teammate at Team SD Worx Niamh Fisher-Black as U23 world champion.
Vas: “I really didn’t expect to become world champion. I am very happy about this. It might have been even nicer if this was a separate race and you actually crossed the finish line first. It is special to be able to put on that coveted jersey. The fact that Lotte crowned herself elite world champion only makes it more beautiful. Whether I also hope to achieve this one day? Of course, but for that I need to improve a lot. For now, let me just enjoy this U23 title first.”