What's Cool In Road Cycling

Lotte Kopecky looks ahead to her second Ronde van Vlaanderen

Two more days to go till the fourteenth edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen for women. The race of 153.2 kilometres starts and finishes in Oudenaarde. The route is different than last year. The riders have to overcome twelve hills and five cobblestone sections.

The women don’t get much time to warm up, because after fifteen kilometres they already have to ride over the cobbles of the Lange Munte. Twenty kilometres further, the cobbles of the Lippenhovestraat and Paddestraat lie on the route. By then, the riders will not yet have covered any hills. The Achterberg is the first hill, after 55 kilometres of racing. The Eikenberg, Wolvenberg, the cobbles of the Holleweg and Haaghoek and the Leberg all lie in the next twenty kilometres. When the riders get on the top of the Leberg, they are almost halfway the race.

The Muur van Geraardsbergen is new on the route. Before the peloton arrives at the bottom, it first passes over the Berendries and Tenbosse. After the Muur, there are twenty kilometres without obstacles before the finale begins. The Pottelberg is the next hill on the route, followed by Kanarieberg and Hotond. A few kilometres further down the road, the riders arrive at the bottom of the Oude Kwaremont. Afterwards they have to climb the Paterberg. In the last thirteen kilometres there are no more hills.

Lotte Kopecky will ride her second Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday. Last year, she got 33rd at 3’26” of Lizzie Deignan.

Lotte Kopecky: “The new course is harder than the previous one. There are already three cobblestone sections in the beginning of the course. Fifteen kilometres after the Paddestraat we have to climb the Achterberg and then we get into a section where the hills and cobbles succeed each other quickly. From that point on, riders will start to drop. I didn’t know the Achterberg until the recon of last week. It’s narrow and pretty steep. Like the rest of the race, you need to be positioned at the front of the bunch.”

“I am glad the Muur is part of the course. It’s a hill that suits me pretty well. I think we can expect a selection on that hill. After the Muur, it takes a while before we reach the next hill, but the road does go up a bit and I think it will be difficult to return to the peloton. We will have to wait till the Kanarieberg for the favourites to attack though.”

“Last year, I managed to remain in a good position in the peloton all race long and that is the goal again this year. I want to follow as long as possible. I am able to set a good result if all goes well and I don’t crash or get any punctures. There are several riders who can win. Elisa Longo Borghini is riding very well at the moment, just like Elena Cecchini. Boels-Dolmans has a strong team, with among other Lizzie Deignan and Chantal Blaak. I also expect Ellen van Dijk to set a good result. And I hope Jolien D’hoore will do well.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal Ladies:
Jessie Daams, Elise Delzenne, Annelies Dom, Chantal Hoffmann, Lotte Kopecky and Kaat Van der Meulen.

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