Simac Ladies Tour stage 2: Lotte Kopecky storms to time trial victory and yellow jersey

Riejanne Markus just misses out on stage win and race lead, Zoe Bäckstedt rounds out day's podium in Canyon-SRAM colours

Clock12:13, Thursday 7th September 2023
Lotte Kopecky en route to victory in the Simac Ladies Tour time trial

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Lotte Kopecky en route to victory in the Simac Ladies Tour time trial

Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) stormed to victory in the stage 2 time trial at the Simac Ladies Tour, taking the yellow jersey as the new overall leader in the process.

The Belgian champion blitzed the 7.2km course in Leuven, Belgium, which featured a couple of kickers and several technical bends, in a time of eight minutes and 59 seconds.

There was more second-place frustration for Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma), who was runner-up behind Charlotte Kool (dsm-firmenich) in the opening prologue. She was second again here, two seconds slower than Kopecky, and as a result two seconds off the overall lead.

Read more: Simac Ladies Tour prologue: Charlotte Kool blasts to victory

Zoe Bäckstedt put in an impressive time trial in her first race in Canyon-SRAM colours following her mid-season switch from EF Education-TIBCO-SVB. The 18-year-old was third on the day, 11 seconds down on Kopecky.

“I’m really happy. This was just 7km full gas and that really suits me,” said Kopecky. “It wasn’t an easy time trial, there wasn’t really a pacing place you could use - you just have to go right to the limit."

As for the yellow jersey, she wasn’t overjoyed about it. ”I would love to race tomorrow in the rainbow jersey,” she said, referring to her status as road race world champion, “but that’s a first world problem."

Read more: UCI World Championships: Lotte Kopecky solos to rainbow jersey in Glasgow

An explosive effort

Just two days after the opening prologue, the riders were back on their time trial bikes on Thursday for a time trial around Leuven, host of the 2021 World Championships, where stage 1 winner Elisa Balsamo (Lidl-Trek) took the rainbow bands in the road race. It was another short TT course, making for an explosive effort, especially with the accelerations required out of the corners and on the three gentle kickers.

Raising the distance from the prologue’s 2km, the course wasn’t so favourable to the sprinters like Kool, but it was still too much on the short side for the more endurance-oriented rouleurs, such as the Olympic champion Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) who finished down in 24th place in the final time trial of her career.

For Kopecky, the course was perfectly suited to her explosive strengths, and she did the Belgian champion’s skinsuit proud as she tore out of the blocks and raced on home roads with the race taking a detour out of the Netherlands.

As she came to the line, it was clear she’d be bringing Bäckstedt’s short time in the hotseat to an end, and she stopped the clock a shade under the nine-minute mark for an average speed of 47.4kph.

Having set off a minute later, it was all eyes on the clock as Markus neared the line, but the victory and yellow jersey just slipped past, by an agonising two seconds, and the disappointment was evident on the Dutchwoman’s face.

The final three finishers were the race’s top sprinters, Kool, Balsamo, and Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx). The increase in distance counted against Kool, who finished in 32nd place just ahead of Wednesday’s stage winner Balsamo.

Wiebes, however, produced a strong ride to take eighth place on the day, 18 seconds down on her victorious teammate, and remain on the virtual overall podium.

In terms of how the time trial leaves the general classification, Kopecky leads Markus by two seconds, with Wiebes at 13 seconds. Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) is up to fourth at 14 seconds thanks to a strong display, while Bäckstedt is fifth at 15 seconds.

Demi Vollering (SD Worx), who settled for sixth on the day, is poised in sixth place at 17 seconds.

Head to the Simac Ladies Tour race page for the latest news and results from the race.

Race Results

1

be flag

KOPECKY Lotte

Team SD Worx

8' 59"

2

nl flag

MARKUS Riejanne

Team Jumbo-Visma

+ 2"

3

gb flag

BACKSTEDT Zoe

CANYON//SRAM Racing

+ 11"

4

gb flag

HENDERSON Anna

Team Jumbo-Visma

"

5

at flag

SCHWEINBERGER Christina

Fenix-Deceuninck

+ 13"

6

nl flag

VOLLERING Demi

Team SD Worx

+ 15"

7

au flag

BAKER Georgia

Team Jayco-AlUla

+ 16"

8

nl flag

WIEBES Lorena

Team SD Worx

+ 18"

9

nz flag

WOLLASTON Ally

AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step Team

+ 19"

10

gb flag

GEORGI Pfeiffer

Team dsm-firmenich

"

Provided by FirstCycling

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