Lotte Kopecky — Strade Bianche

Strade Bianche captures the visual and visceral thrill of one-day bike racing in a way that very few other classics achieve. The rolling Tuscany landscape and the famed white ’sterrato’ exude a serene beauty — contrasting perfectly with the aggressiveness and velocity of the racing. We followed in-form SD Worx rider — Lotte Kopecky, the 2022 champion — as she returned to one of the most anticipated races of the year. When the fine, white dust settled, Strade Bianche, and all involved, delivered perhaps the most vintage edition yet.

“Because I had ridden such a good Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, I was calm in my head. I just went into the race with a feeling that if I could win Strade Bianche again, I would love to do so. But if it didn’t happen, it would be not a disaster.”

“The last three gravel strips follow each other in quick succession. Le Tolfe is a nice sterrato for me. That's short and explosive — and that kind of effort suits me well. If I compare everything to how it felt last year, it all seemed a lot shorter. That's positive and gives a lot of confidence for the future.”

“When the final break opens, sometimes there is almost no time to take gels at certain times. I just make sure I get sufficient carbs per hour for the first two hours. It means I easily get to 120 carbohydrates per hour, while the last two, I make sure I get at least 90 carbohydrates per hour.”

“We have a super strong team again. We’ve already shown it in the first two races. It's nice to be able to race and dominate like this. We always want to color the races and win wherever we can.”

After a hard-fought sprint, Lotte finished 2nd in a photo finish with team mate Demi Vollering.

Words by Robbie Lawless. Photography by Jojo Harper, Dan King, Eloise Mavian