Kopecky solos to opening stage win on women

Lotte Kopecky celebrates winning stage one of the Tour de France Femmes
Lotte Kopecky is the current Belgium road race champion, a title she has won three times

Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky won the opening stage of the Tour de France Femmes with a late breakaway.

The SD Worx rider attacked on the Cote de Durtol climb towards the end of a largely flat 124km stage that started and ended in Clermont-Ferrand.

Team-mate Lorena Wiebes took the sprint for second from Charlotte Kool of DSM-Firmenich, 41 seconds behind Kopecky.

With a time bonus of 10 seconds for winning and six seconds for second, Kopecky leads by 45 seconds overall.

The second edition of the Tour continues on Monday with a 152km hilly route from Clermont-Ferrand to Mauriac. The eight-stage race finishes next Sunday.

Defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten was among a group that crossed the line 43 seconds after Kopecky, who claimed her 11th win this season and her first in the Tour.

She said: “It’s been on my mind for quite a long time. In the last three weeks I’ve been joking with my friend, saying ’10km out to go for yellow’, and it’s amazing I could do it.

“On the final climb I had the feeling I had something left, so I just went. I thought probably somebody would follow but nobody could.

“We had two strategies. If Lorena could make it over the final climb we should go for Lorena in the sprint, but I also had my chance to go. I’m happy they gave me the chance and very happy I could take it.”

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Wiebes, who won the first stage of the inaugural Tour last summer, joined SD Worx at the end of last season.

Victory was the Dutch team’s 49th of 2023, and the 16th in which they have claimed a one-two finish.

“In the team we have been laughing about it,” Kopecky said. “The team is so strong and it’s super nice.”

Stage 1 results

1. Lotte Kopecky (Bel/SD Worx) 3hrs 4mins 9secs

2. Lorena Wiebes (Ned/SD Worx) +41secs

3. Charlotte Kool (Ned/DSM-Firmenich) Same time

4. Marianne Vos (Ned/Jumbo-Visma)

5. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (SA/AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step) +43secs

6. Demi Vollering (Ned/SD Worx) Same time

7. Tamara Dronova (Rus/Israel Premier Tech Roland)

8. Cecilie Ludwig (Den/FDJ-Suez)

9. Mavi Garcia (Spa/Liv Racing TeqFind)

10. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita/Lidl-Trek)

General classification

1. Lotte Kopecky (Bel/SD Worx) 3hrs 3mins 59secs

2. Lorena Wiebes (Ned/SD Worx) +45secs

3. Charlotte Kool (Ned/DSM-Firmenich) +47secs

4. Marianne Vos (Ned/Jumbo-Visma) +51secs

5. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (SA/AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step) +53secs

6. Demi Vollering (Ned/SD Worx) Same time

7. Tamara Dronova (Rus/Israel Premier Tech Roland)

8. Cecilie Ludwig (Den/FDJ-Suez)

9. Mavi Garcia (Spa/Liv Racing TeqFind)

10. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita/Lidl-Trek)

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