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Lotte Kopecky adds World Cup in Hulst to foray into cyclo-cross

OUDENAARDE BELGIUM OCTOBER 18 Start Lotte Kopecky of Belgium and Team Lotto Soudal Ladies during the 17th Tour of Flanders 2020 Ronde van Vlaanderen Women Elite a 1356km stage from Oudenaarde to Oudenaarde RVV20 FlandersClassic on October 18 2020 in Oudenaarde Belgium Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Lotte Kopecky finished second at this year's Tour of Flanders (Image credit: Getty Images)

Lotte Kopecky will don new team colours in the new year, but has not hung up her Lotto Soudal pursuits after the close of a successful road racing season. The reigning Belgian road and time trial national champion took part in her first cyclo-cross race in October, planned as a one-time experience, and will continue her new programme into January for two more races, according to Sporza.

"I am having fun. There is no stress, nothing is required," said Kopecky in a report by Sporza. “So yes, I always look forward to racing. I have fun, there is no stress, nothing has to be done. I do not assume that I will be on the podium, although I do not exclude it. Everything is allowed, but nothing is required. That's the fun part of the cross.”

Kopecky is expected to line up this Sunday at the World Cup race in Hulst, followed by the Belgian nationals on January 9. Her 2021 road season will see her move from Lotto Soudal, her home for the past five seasons, to Liv Racing, where she will focus on the Spring classics, as well as track cycling for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games in the summer.

In October, Kopecky raced at Ruddervoorde, the second stop of the Telenet Superprestige series, and finished in the middle of the field in 38th position. Following her first taste of cyclo-cross, Kopecky took to Instagram and posted: “I enjoyed today sooo much! I wanted to do a cx for such a long time. Even 2 mechanicals couldn’t make me stop!”

She has since completed four more races, including her first World Cup competition. She has three top 20s so far, including 11th at the X2O Trofee Koppenbergcross in Oudenaarde. This past weekend she was not deterred by all the rain and mud at the World Cup event in Dendermonde.

"I thought it was the max in Dendermonde on Sunday," Kopecky told Sporza. "I also like to ride in the rain in a road race and I was really looking forward to that race. I had never driven in the mud before. I would have been sorry if the race had been canceled due to the storm."

Kopecky was named ‘Flandrienne 2020’, one of the top prizes in Belgium for cyclists as voted by peers and handed out by newspaper Het Nieuwsblad. The 25-year-old had a solid 2020 season, taking national crowns in both the national time trial and road race and a stage at the Giro Rosa. She also had six podiums, including a silver at Gent-Wevelgem and third at Tour of Flanders.