Belgian Kopecky wins thrilling women's Paris-Roubaix

cycling06 April 2024 16:40| © AFP
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Lotte Kopecky @ Getty Images

World champion Lotte Kopecky won a six-rider dash for the line to claim the women's Paris-Roubaix cobbled classic on Saturday in a nail-biting finale.

The Belgian came from the back of the field on the final corner after half a dozen riders had entered the Roubaix velodrome ahead of the pack afer a 148.5km ride from Denain.

"I thought I'd left it too late for a moment, but the fact I have some track cycling background helped me stay calm," said Kopecky.

The course included 29.2km of bone-shaking cobbles along the old mining roads of the Picardy region bordering Belgium.

Italian Elisa Balsamo of Lidl-Trek was second after leading most of the two laps of the velodrome, while Briton Pfeiffer Georgi overtook Marianne Vos on the line to steal in for third.

"I know its not a win but it means a lot to me," said an overjoyed Georgi in her British champion's jersey.

"I grew up watching these girls and to be stood on the podium ahead of them is amazing."

Rain during the week combined with sunshine on the day made the road surfaces slick, with huge puddles in some sections and some riders flying off the road into ditches.

The race turned on one of the five-star rated cobbled sections, known as the Carrefour de l'Arbre, where the decisive peloton-splitting attack took place.

This was the fourth women's edition of the so called 'Hell of the North', with the 121st men's race over 260km taking place on Sunday.