2017 was a season full of ups and downs for Lotte Kopecky (22). In summer she was out for a few weeks and due to a hamstring strain she couldn’t participate in the Road World Championships at the end of September. Throughout the season she set some remarkable performances though. In the beginning of the year she won a World Cup for the first time in her career, as she won the omnium in Cali. Together with Jolien D’hoore, Lotte became the first ever female world champion madison, not even a fortnight after she had finished fifth at Ronde van Vlaanderen. This month Lotte and Jolien won the madison at the World Cup in Poland and Lotte won the points race too.

After Lotte had participated in the Lotto Six-Day of Ghent, she took a week off the bike. The perfect moment to analyse her season and to look ahead to future goals.

Lotte Kopecky: “I have mixed feelings about the past season. I had a successful spring with the fifth place at Ronde van Vlaanderen and the world title madison with Jolien D’hoore. Becoming second again at the Belgian Road Championships, for the fourth time in a row, was frustrating but I managed to put things into perspective quite soon. It’s no shame to be beaten by Jolien D’hoore. Afterwards I got ill and suffered from injuries. Being injured is scary. In August I got back in competition and I rode very well at the Lotto Belgium Tour in September, but then I couldn’t go to the Worlds due to my hamstring strain. That’s hard, because you always got to start from scratch. On the track I recently set some good results and I’m doing fine now. I’m going to the physio and I do stabilisation exercises.”

“World title madison as highlight of the year”

“The world title madison is my highlight of the year. That was a dream come true. It’s for those moments that you become an athlete. Before the World Championships Jolien and I had only ridden two madisons together, which we both had won. We are compatible: Jolien is very fast and I have a big engine. We can certainly still become better and that is promising for Tokyo 2020. We are over the moon that the madison has been added to the Olympic programme. We want to work towards that goal together. You notice that the level of the madison has become higher during this year and that will keep increasing as we get closer to the Olympics. This is an opportunity that many track riders want to seize. That way we can push each other to a higher level.”

“My fifth place at Ronde van Vlaanderen was unexpected. Of course I would like to win the Ronde one day and this result has given me confidence. Next year I will be standing at the start in a different way. This year I could start without much pressure, I had nothing to lose; that will be different from now on. I will need to deal with this pressure. Becoming fifth again would already be a good result next year, I want to build up step by step.”

“We have some reinforcements in our team for next season. Demi de Jong is definitely an asset. With Valerie Demey and Kelly Van den Steen we also have two new Belgian riders who can play a role for our team in the spring races. I hope we can ride some beautiful finales with our team next year.”

“After this week of rest I will start my build-up to the Track World Championships in Apeldoorn (28/02 – 4/03). In December and January I will go on training camp with the Belgian federation and in February a few days with the team. Before the Worlds I will ride a few track races. Those are the Belgian Championships at the end of December (23/12 – 30/12), the Six-Day of Rotterdam in the beginning of January (4/01 – 9/01) and the International track meeting in Ghent at the end of January (27/01 – 28/01).”