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Lotte Kopecky subbed into SD Worx-Protime Trofeo Alfredo Binda squad

So far this season Lotte Kopecky has taken on three one day races, with two wins and a runner up spot to show for it so even though she may be a late replacement with ‘no expectations’ as she makes her Trofeo Alfredo Binda – Comune di Cittiglio debut, that’s hardly likely to make her rivals view the world champion as any less of a threat on Sunday.

It is a race her SD Worx-Protime squad hasn’t won since 2016, when Lizzie Deignan took victory for a second year running while wearing the colours of Boels Dolmans, a former incarnation of the team, but now Deignan will be lining up as just one of the many cards for Lidl-Trek, which has won the last three editions of the race. The most successful rider for SD Worx-Protime in recent years has been Chantal van den Broek-Blaak, who came second in 2018 and then fourth in 2022, but she has had to bow out late after a crash at Nokere-Koerse.

The team, however, is clearly not ready to fold its hand at Trofeo Alfredo Binda but instead added one of its most powerful trump cards to bolster it.

“So now we have the world champion at the start,” said sport director Anna van der Breggen in a statement. “Lotte can ride here without pressure. We have absolutely no expectations of her, because the change is last-minute. She is always an added value to have on the team. This is a tough race in terms of altimeters. Lotte is a big help anyway.”

Kopecky will be racing alongside the likes of Elena Cecchini – who has a strong record at the event and could well be a contender for the team – Niamh Fisher-Black, Femke Gerritse, Barbara Guarischi and also Marlen Reusser. Van der Breggen pointed to Reusser as a rider that the race could suit perfectly, but illness has delivered some doubt about her form.

“I really like this race,” said Reusser. “At first I had really high expectations, but I did suffer from that COVID infection. I couldn’t train and lost time because of it. Consequently, my form is not super, but I feel pretty good again.”

Either way, SD Worx-Protime is clearly entering the 140.5km Women’s WorldTour event with plenty of options, which could be crucial given the unpredictable nature of the race, which Van der Breggen said the team is heading toward with an open mind.

“Trofeo Alfredo Binda is always a great race to watch, precisely because of the unpredictability,” said Van der Breggen. “Here a breakaway can carry to the end. Sometimes that results in there being too many attack attempts, so nobody gets away and it ends up being a bunch sprint after all. A sprint with an elite group is also possible and in the past we have seen long solos here. In short: fascinating,”

SOURCE: CyclingNews   (go to source)
AUTHOR: simone.giuliani@futurenet.com
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