Kopecky is made of a different material: Nokere Koerse wins after the death of his brother

Last Saturday his older brother, 29, died unexpectedly. But he went ahead and did not want to give up his participation in the Nokere Koerse, Belgian semi-classical that this Wednesday celebrated its fourth women’s edition. Her team, SD Worx, announced that, for obvious reasons, she would be away from the press in the hours leading up to the race, but she spoke out on the tarmac and cobbled stages where she flew to victory. Lotte Kopecky (27 years old) could with everything and everyone to win the victory, his second of the year, thanks to a recital: he attacked with about 7 km to go, after catching up with an Aude Biannic (Movistar) who was in front, and reached the finish line alone.

There, despite the joy, there was nothing to celebrate. Lotte’s serious face spoke for itself. Her deed, of great value due to the circumstances, what she will give him maximum confidence for his next big goal: Ghent-Wevelgem (March 26th). He has an almost immaculate career in 2023, with two wins and a second place in three days of competition, so he will start from pole position there again. Lorraine Wiebes won the group sprint to complete a new double for SD Worx (they already achieved one in the Strade Bianche) and celebrated with his fist raised in honor of his partner Lotte. top honors.

Merlier does not give a choice

The men’s event was much more disputed, although at the moment of truth the top favorite won: Tim Merlier. The Quick-Step revalidated his 2022 champion title in Nokere Koerse and signed his fifth victory of the year, which leaves him as the second top scorer of the course, only behind the nine imperial victories that he has Tadej Pogacar.

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The race, with its classic route of cobbled slopes and flat sections of pavés, It was open until the last bars. De Buyst’s battle with the peloton ended with 12km to go, by which time there were still two remaining final climbs: Lange Ast and Nokereberg. In the first one, the rhythm changed campenaerts, but it was not successful. In a rough outcome, with a multitude of hairpin turns, three falls left big contenders out of the game: Groves, Ackerman and Campenaerts himself. After frustrating an advance of Vermeersch, Vanmarcke and Pithie on the same finish line, Merlier launched his sprint in full Nokereberg to confirm, once again, that today very few can beat him in a massive arrival.

Results of Nokere Koerse (F)

1st Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) – 3h 15:03

2nd Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx) – at 28″

3rd Marta Bastianelli (UAE ADQ) – 29″

Results of Nokere Koerse (M)

1st Tim Merlier (Quick-Step) – 4h 19:14

2nd Edward Theuns (Trek) – mt

3º Milan Menten (Lotto Dstny) – 3″

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