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Movistar set up Emma Cecilie Norsgaard for the reduced bunch sprint, and the Danish national champion pounced early only to see Kopecky pass her in the final meters to claim her first victory in 2021. Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo) crossed the line third.
Fair weather produced ideal racing conditions in the cobblestoned semi-classic, and there were a flurry of attacks throughout the race. Some call Le Samyn the “mini-Paris-Roubaix,” and the race delivered an exciting finale.
National Belgian champion Kopecky was part of an early move of about half-dozen riders that pulled clear, but the collective weight of the bunch brought it back together in the final hour of racing in the 92.5km race. Several attacks went off the front between 15km and 8km to go, but Kopecky, 25, had the legs to stay at the front of the race, and then finish it off with a winning sprint.
Despite the bruising cobble sectors, the group yo-yo’d as it paced off the kilometers. Small groups would pull clear only to be reeled in. The final pavé sector saw a late-race split, but it came together coming into the final kilometers for a reduced bunch sprint.
Women’s racing continues Saturday with the WorldTour opener at Strade Bianche.
Le Samyn des Dames 2021 women’s results
- Lotte Kopecky (Liv Racing) 2:20:04
- Emma Cecilie Norsgaard (Movistar Team), at s.t.
- Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo Women), at s.t.
- Gladys Verhulst (Team Arkéa), at s.t.
- Marjolein Van’t Geloof (Drops), at s.t.
- Amy Pieters (SD Worx), at s.t.
- Laura Tomasi (Alé BTC Ljubljana), at s.t.
- Anna Henderson (Team Jumbo-Visma Women), at s.t.
- Amber van der Hulst (Parkhotel Valkenburg), at s.t.
- Romy Kasper (Team Jumbo-Visma Women), at s.t.