Belgium were crowned world champions for the seventh time in the women’s category, marking a significant milestone by claiming their first title since 1973 in the road cycling competition. Lotte Kopecky, who had previously won two track gold medals in Scotland, scored her first road win and became the hero of the day. Kopecky, 27, from Flanders, revealed her amazement at her achievement by saying that she would never have imagined this feat when she was a child, especially after her recent successes on track.
Kopecky’s victory was fueled by her excellent strategy in the online race, as she staged a breakaway just over three miles from the finish. In a thrilling finish, she outscored her rivals by a seven-second margin, leaving behind Demi Vollering of the Netherlands and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig of Denmark, both part of a group of eight runners competing on the same technical and challenging course as the men who previously competed.
Kopecky’s hug with Vollering at the finish line symbolized camaraderie between teammates, as Vollering had previously triumphed in the women’s Tour de France. Kopecky’s victory not only honored her individual prowess but also avenged Mathieu van der Poel’s loss to Wout Van Aert in the men’s category, depriving the Netherlands of her sixth title in seven years.
This achievement will resonate in Belgian cycling history, and Kopecky’s triumph in the road race demonstrates her versatility and strength in different modalities. Her success at the Cycling World Cup is not only celebrated in her native country but also highlights the perseverance and dedication that led Kopecky to write her own chapter in the world of sport.