After winning Strade Bianchi and the Tour of Flanders in quick succession, Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) was a hotly-tipped favourite to take the win in the second year of Paris-Roubaix Femmes, but despite an aggressive ride she was unable to match Elisa Longo Borghini’s (Trek-Segafredo) decisive solo win.
Launching an attack with 50km to go, Kopecky found herself in a breakaway group containing Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) and Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo), but when this was brought back, Borghini made her winning move.
"I tried something here to put the other teams under pressure," Kopecky said of her choice to make the move when she did. "But others were not cooperating 100 per cent. So I tried to keep the gap, but didn’t put too much work in it, to save the legs.
"So it's more about putting all the teams in the pressure or under pressure than really going for that move," said the Belgian road champion.
Speaking about the pressure of coming in as the most successful rider of the Classics so far, Kopecky said she didn’t let it get to her.
"After two victories… I was really prepared to try the best I could for my teammates. And that's the mentality of how I started this race. I didn't let any pressure [get to me], and just to enjoy racing and try to race with heart and attack. And put all the teams under pressure.
"That's Paris-Roubaix - things change so quickly."
When Borghini attacked, SD Worx may have been in a position to get Chantal van den Broek-Blaak on her wheel in the counter move, but instead it was Elena Cecchini who followed Borghini, along with Emma Norsgaard.
"That's how we raced at that moment," Kopecky said. "Elena probably was in the best position to follow Elisa there, and she did. But in the end Elisa was just too strong.
"Norsgaard is a really strong rider too, and she dropped her too. So that is a sign that Elisa is very, very strong."
Kopecky made a final strong move on Sector 7, Cysoing à Bourghelles, which closed the gap to Borghini substantially but couldn’t bridge the distance, largely as Kopecky attacked mostly unassisted.
"At that moment I didn’t think we would get any assistance. It was just to maintain a high pace so we could try to make a nice group to try to reach Elisa. But Elisa was pretty strong today."
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Peter Stuart has been editor of Cyclingnews since March 2022, overseeing editorial output across all of Cyclingnews' digital touchpoints.
Before joining Cyclingnews, Peter was the digital editor of Rouleur magazine. Starting life as a freelance feature writer, with bylines in The Times and The Telegraph, he first entered cycling journalism in 2012, joining Cyclist magazine as staff writer. Peter has a background as an international rower, representing Great Britain at Under-23 level and at the Junior Rowing World Championships.
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