Highly promising Belgian champion Lotte Kopecky will join the world’s best women’s team, SD Worx in January.
The 25-year-old has signed with the squad for three years, taking her to the end of the 2024 season, and is part of the team’s restructuring ahead of the retirement of some key riders, including world champion Anna van der Breggen, at the end of this season.
Kopecky will join the team from Liv Racing which she joined at the start of the year, and with whom she has taken two wins and nine other top 10 finishes from only 14 days of racing.
The move is a logical one for all parties. While the team is Dutch-based and registered, SD Worx is a Belgian company and having the national champion on the squad will be a priority for them. Not only that, but with compatriot Jolien D’Hoore another of those retiring at the end of the year, the team would otherwise be without a Belgian on the roster.
“Of course it's nice for me that this international team has a Belgian flavour,” Kopecky said in a team press release. “The first talks with sports manager Danny Stam felt really good. I hope to be able to make some great steps in the Team SD Worx colours in the years to come.”
Kopecky has already made great steps in recent seasons. Though she has always been competitive on the road, her greatest international achievements were on the track, winning the first-ever Madison world championship with D’Hoore in 2017.
Last year, riding for Lotto-Soudal though, she took a real step forward, taking her first WorldTour victory at stage seven of the Giro Rosa before out-sprinting D’Hoore to win the Nationals, adding that to the time trial title she won earlier in the year.
Though she did not take another win, in the 2020 autumn Classics she was flying, with four consecutive top-four places including third place at the Tour of Flanders.
Kopecky has continued her progression in 2021, last weekend winning a stage and finishing second at the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour, finishing in the top eight on each of the six stages.
There was also victory from a bunch kick at Le Samyn des Dames in March, perhaps her most impressive performance this year was at Strade Bianche where she was able to follow Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) when she attacked on one of the steepest gravel sectors.
Though a mechanical thwarted bid for victory, she managed to finish 17th, sealing her reputation as rider able to compete in bunch finishes and get over all but the toughest terrain.
“When the best team in the world asks you to join you feel honoured of course," Kopecky said. "This season I also have a good feeling with Team Liv Racing, but I also have to look at my future. I know that with Team SD Worx I will always be surrounded by a strong team.”
Kopecky and D’Hoore recently finished third in the Madison behind Team GB’s Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald at the international track meet in Ghent, and will hope for the same or better at the upcoming Olympics.
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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