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Lotte Kopecky rules the cobbles and velodrome in Paris-Roubaix Femmes
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Lotte Kopecky rules the cobbles and velodrome in Paris-Roubaix Femmes

The world champion Lotte Kopecky delivered a devastating final sprint to claim the Paris-Roubaix Femmes title in a thrilling finish.

Belgium’s Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) was in a lead group of six when the 148.5km race arrived at the famous Roubaix velodrome and had enough in the tank to outpace her rivals. Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) finished second while Britain’s Pfeiffer Georgi (DSM-Firmenich PostNL) pipped Marianne Vos (Team Visma-Lease a Bike) to third place.

Vos made the first move on the velodrome lap and led into the final straight, but Balsamo went past her before Kopecky timed her victory surge around the outside to perfection.

“This was the goal of the season, to also do it is really nice. The team gave me so much confidence the whole season already, but especially the last week,” said Kopecky, who was the most dominant rider on the cobbles during the 148.5km race. “It’s always nervous, you are here with two very fast sprinters, Vos and Balsamo, so you’re never sure.”

Balsamo was pleasantly surprised with being the runner-up, admitting afterwards: “If you had told me at the start I would finish second, I wouldn’t have believed it, so I’m extremely happy, but when you’re runner up in such a race, you can’t help to feel some disappointment … Now I need to believe in myself because I didn’t think I could do well here. I’ll try again in the coming years!”

Lotte Kopecky, centre, leads the pack of riders over a cobbled sector.View image in fullscreen

The men’s race takes place on Sunday when Mathieu van der Poel will be aiming to retain his title and make it a golden double after winning last week’s Tour of Flanders.

Source: theguardian.com