Strade Bianche Donne: Lotte Kopecky storms to thrilling win over Annemiek van Vleuten

Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio completes podium in Italian one-day classic.

Photo: Getty Images

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Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) got the better of Annemiek van Vleuten (Team Movistar Women) to win the 2022 Strade Bianche Donne.

The two were locked in a gripping battle on the climb to Piazza del Campo, and Kopecky had to dig extremely deep to stay onto van Vleuten’s wheel.

Having done so, Kopecky then used her superior sprint to take the win.

Kopecky’s teammate Ashleigh Moolman Pasio finished third, ten seconds back.
The Belgian was also the only rider able to keep up with van Vleuten’s earlier accelerations on the last of the race’s eighth gravel sections through the Tuscan countryside, where they went clear from the rest of the race.

But the pair were joined by ten other riders ahead of the run-in to Siena, in what was an unusually large group for Strade Bianche.

Three of those riders (Demi Vollering, Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, and Chantal van den Broek Blaak) wore SD Worx kit, and Kopecky was quick to thank her team for the role played in the victory.

“I cannot believe it. This was actually the plan from the team. Racing like this with SD Worx is super-nice to do, as I can attack myself, and have my teammates behind me who have my back. I think today was just perfect. I cannot believe this,” Kopecky said at the finish.

Despite her quick sprint finish, Kopecky was not confident of beating van Vleuten at the finish.

“No, you’re never confident, as I think we saw last week [when van Vleuten defeated Kopecky’s teammate Demi Vollering in a two-up sprint]. But I had a good feeling today, and I knew that the person to follow was Annemiek.

“First I had to let her go a bit, and then, I don’t know what happened in my head, but I just kept going and when he turned to the right I passed her, but then on the other corner, she passed me again. It was just one sprint through the last corner.”

Prior to that thrilling finishing sprint, the race had been a tough war of attrition, on gravel roads that were this year dry rather than muddy due to the dry, albeit cold, conditions.

Rebecca Koerner (Uno-X) and Emily Newsom (EF Education-Tibco-SVB) were the early escapees in the race, and Newsom went clear of the latter to become the sole leader of the race.

Her lead reached over three minutes but began tumbling down as the pace increased in the peloton.

Newsom was reeked in around 50km from the finish whicch sparked a battle in the peloton — already been reduced to about 40 riders — for a new breakaway group to form.

Jeanne Korevaar (Liv Racing Xstra), Mavi Garcia (UAE Team ADQ), and Grace Brown (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine-Futuroscope) were among those to briefly go clear, but were chased down as the group remained intact.

Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) and Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM) later counter-attacked a move Chantal van den Brock Blaak (SD Worx), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), and Liane Lippert (DSM), but they too were all brought back as the race reached the sixth gravel sector.

Movistar set a fearsome pace heading onto it, before van Vleuten took over to string out what was left of the peloton, with Kopecky remaining attentive on her wheel.

Kopecky then launched an attack on a rise shortly after the sector, and had a lead of 17 seconds by the start of the seventh and penultimate gravel sector.

That lead quickly evaporated, however, as Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) led a group of five that caught her, also featuring van Vleuten, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), Cecile Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Acquitaine Futuoscope), and Moolman Pasio.

This lead group of six became eight when Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) and Demi Vollering (SD Worx) paced back up, then doubled as another eight riders including Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) and van den Broek Blaak caught them.

Van den Broek Blaak gained a small advantage with an attack just prior to the final gravel sector, but inevitably it was van Vleuten who came to the fore, launching the committed move as the gradient tilted upwards that everyone knew and feared was coming.

Only Kopecky was able to stick on her wheel, and the two rode away from the rest.

The chasers did not give up, however, as Niewiadoma and Ludwig dragged up a group containing Vos, Moolman Pasio, Vollering, and Borghini.

With a numerical advantage, SD Worx attempted to work over the rest of the bunch with Moolman Pasio and Vollering both attacking in tandem.

But the group actually got bigger rather than smaller by the foot of the final climb, with more stragglers catching up.

Kopecky was the only rider able to follow another fearsome van Vleuten acceleration, however, and beat her to claim the biggest win of her career.

Strade Bianche Donne Results

1KOPECKY LotteTeam SD Worx3:59:14
2VAN VLEUTEN AnnemiekMovistar Team0:00
3MOOLMAN AshleighTeam SD Worx0:10
4NIEWIADOMA KatarzynaCanyon//SRAM Racing0:19
5LUDWIG Cecilie UttrupFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:24
6CHABBEY EliseCanyon//SRAM Racing0:28
7VOS MarianneTeam Jumbo-Visma0:29
8LONGO BORGHINI ElisaTrek - Segafredo0:29
9VAN ANROOIJ ShirinTrek - Segafredo0:34
10PERSICO SilviaValcar - Travel & Service0:34
11BROWN GraceFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope0:39
12VOLLERING DemiTeam SD Worx0:50
13LIPPERT LianeTeam DSM1:37
14MACKAIJ FloortjeTeam DSM1:39
15KASTELIJN YaraPlantur-Pura1:53
16VAN DEN BROEK-BLAAK ChantalTeam SD Worx2:07
17KOSTER AnouskaTeam Jumbo-Visma3:24
18ROSEMAN-GANNON RubyTeam BikeExchange - Jayco3:28
19PALADIN SorayaCanyon//SRAM Racing3:28
20STULTIENS SabrinaLiv Racing Xstra3:28
21LABECKI CorynTeam Jumbo-Visma3:31
22AMIALIUSIK AlenaCanyon//SRAM Racing3:31
23GERRITSE FemkeParkhotel Valkenburg3:33
24FISHER-BLACK NiamhTeam SD Worx3:37
25CORDON-RAGOT AudreyTrek - Segafredo3:37
26LABOUS JulietteTeam DSM3:37
27MAGNALDI EricaUAE Team ADQ3:46
29GARCÍA MaviUAE Team ADQ3:48
30HENDERSON AnnaTeam Jumbo-Visma3:55
31VALLIERES MagdeleineEF Education-TIBCO-SVB4:16
32BUJAK EugeniaUAE Team ADQ4:16
33WILLIAMS LilyHuman Powered Health4:33
34LACH MartaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling4:38
35GUAZZINI VittoriaFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope4:44
36FIDANZA AriannaTeam BikeExchange - Jayco6:21
38ZANARDI SilviaBepink6:21
39PATIÑO PaulaMovistar Team6:21
40WILLIAMS GeorgiaTeam BikeExchange - Jayco6:27
41SMITH AbiEF Education-TIBCO-SVB6:31
42KOREVAAR JeanneLiv Racing Xstra6:31
43DRONOVA-BALABOLINA TamaraRoland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad6:31
44SCHOENS QuintyParkhotel Valkenburg6:34
45BALSAMO ElisaTrek - Segafredo6:34
46BUIJSMAN NinaHuman Powered Health6:40
47DEMEY ValerieLiv Racing Xstra6:40
48LE NET MarieFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope6:40
49SHACKLEY AnnaTeam SD Worx6:43
50CURINIER LéaTeam DSM6:54
51GONZÁLEZ AliciaMovistar Team7:05
52ROOIJAKKERS PaulienaCanyon//SRAM Racing8:43
53JASKULSKA MartaLiv Racing Xstra8:46
54BORGHESI LetiziaEF Education-TIBCO-SVB8:58
55CANT SannePlantur-Pura9:54
56BARIL OliviaValcar - Travel & Service10:04
57MARTURANO GretaTop Girls Fassa Bortolo10:29
58ARZUFFI Alice MariaValcar - Travel & Service11:19
59CARBONARI AnastasiaValcar - Travel & Service12:41
60ALESSIO CamillaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling12:41
61BEEKHUIS TeuntjeTeam Jumbo-Visma12:57
62KIRCHMANN LeahTeam DSM12:57
63CROMWELL TiffanyCanyon//SRAM Racing12:58
64DRUMMOND MichaelaBepink12:58
65VAN DE VELDE JuliePlantur-Pura12:58
66CONFALONIERI Maria GiuliaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling12:58
67QUAGLIOTTO NadiaBepink12:58
68RIEDMANN LindaTeam Jumbo-Visma12:58
69VITILLO MatildeBepink13:02
70EIBL RonjaPlantur-Pura13:02
71RAGUSA KatiaLiv Racing Xstra13:02
72SÜßEMILCH LauraPlantur-Pura13:02
73MALCOTTI BarbaraHuman Powered Health13:10
74LUTRO AmalieUno-X Pro Cycling Team13:14
75DE JONG DemiParkhotel Valkenburg13:18
76GUILMAN VictorieFDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope13:18
77BALDUCCI FrancescaAromitalia - Basso Bikes - Vaiano13:18
78HANSON LaurettaTrek - Segafredo13:18
79SPRATT AmandaTeam BikeExchange - Jayco13:21
80POIDEVIN SaraEF Education-TIBCO-SVB13:21
81NILSSON HannaCeratizit-WNT Pro Cycling13:21
82REALINI GaiaIsolmant - Premac - Vittoria13:21
83BARNES HannahUno-X Pro Cycling Team13:31
84BIANNIC AudeMovistar Team14:09
85AALERUD KatrineMovistar Team14:09

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

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