Lotte Kopecky sprints to 3rd place in Nokere!
Top ten for Van den Steen and Dom too
Lotte Kopecky set the best time at the Belgian Time Trial Championship in Middelkerke this afternoon! She covered the course of 25.3 kilometres, consisting of two local laps, in 34’45”. She was 44 seconds faster than Jolien D’hoore. Teammate Annelies Dom claimed the third place, 48 seconds down on Kopecky. Two other Lotto Soudal Ladies finished on top ten too: Julie Van De Velde who got 5th at 58” and Alana Castrique who was 10th at 1’58”.
Lotte Kopecky: “Deep down I had hoped to win, but I hadn’t expected it. I only decided to come to this Championship two weeks ago. I didn’t do more than two trainings on my time trial bike. Last week I had a training camp in the Vosges and several long training blocks were scheduled, so that was a good preparation. I would never have started if I hadn’t known a good result would be possible. Several circumstances made me decide to do take the start. The course suited me and my condition is becoming better and better. There were also doubts about the shape of Ann-Sophie Duyck (five-time Belgian TT champion, LTS), but of course you never know how someone will perform on the day of the race. Nonetheless, I really wanted to take my chance.”
My first Belgian elite title! This is a special moment.
Lotte Kopecky: “Yesterday, I did a recon of the course. It wasn’t technical, but just a matter of riding hard. There was a lot of wind at the coast this afternoon and you needed to divide your strength very well over the whole race. Kevin De Weert had given me a schedule. I had good legs and I always had a higher power output than foreseen, but I managed to keep that up. I rode two pretty equal laps, I didn’t get tired. That’s a positive sign.”
“I knew I had the best intermediate time after one lap, but I didn’t know how big my lead was. Five seconds? Twenty seconds? Mentally, there’s a huge difference between that. Because I didn’t know how big the margin was, I just gave my all till the finish. I hadn’t expected a gap of 44 seconds.”
“Four riders still had to finish after me, so it were some tense minutes. I am very happy that I conquered this victory. My first Belgian elite title! This is a special moment. Sunday is another important day with the road race in Ghent, but I am more relaxed than previous years. After becoming four times second, I can better deal with it. No pressure. It would be wonderful to win, but I know there are many years ahead and that title will come one day. Today’s victory was unexpected too. Hopefully all goes well on Sunday for the team, that’s most important. Some riders and teams will want to avoid a bunch sprint, so I expect several attacks. I hope it will be an attractive race. And we have a strong team for Sunday.”
Photos: Photo News