Closes at
See all

Vollering and Kopecky, will it come down to another SD-Worx solo?


We all vividly remember last year’s finale: a thrilling shoulder-to-shoulder until the last metre between Demi Vollering and Lotte Kopecky, which was only resolved by the photo finish in favour of the former. What made this sprint all the more special was that both were racing for SD Worx, in other words, the two were teammates. Once they hit the centre of Siena, however, no team orders were given, and the two could battle it out like true rivals. The challenge ended by a margin of a few centimetres, the smallest gap recorded at the finish of a Strade Bianche, both for women and men.

What if the same thing happened again this year? The scenario is unlikely, but certainly not impossible. Firstly because both the Dutch and the Belgian still race with SD Worx-Protime, and secondly because they are, according to the international ranking, the two strongest athletes in the world. Since last year’s edition, Vollering has won a further 16 races, all of them high-profile, including the Ardennes Triptych, while Kopecky has taken home 14, including the Tour of Flanders, the Glasgow World Championships and this year’s UAE Tour. Moreover, the Belgian star already won the Strade Bianche in 2022, making her an expert on this particular terrain.

It’s pretty clear, then, that SD Worx-Protime will be the team called upon to lead the race, but plenty of girls will no doubt try to spoil their plans. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon/SRAM) has a score to settle with the Strade Bianche: she has finished second three times (2016, 2017 and 2018), third another time (2019) and, overall, she has finished in the Top 10 eight times out of nine participations, but has never managed to win. Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl Trek), on the other hand, has already won it in 2017 – the only Italian to do so – and in turn has never finished outside the Top 10. 2023 was not her best season, which means she is eager to kick-start 2024 with a solid performance.

It may sound somewhat surprising, but the queen Marianne Vos (Team Visma | Lease a Bike) has never stood on the podium of the Strade Bianche. However, it is never too late, because the Dutch superstar, with 250 career victories, seems to be in great form, after winning the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

If we think of gravel roads, however, cyclocross riders must be granted attention. Thus, let’s watch out for Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ), Puck Pieterse (Fenix-Deceuninck) and Shirin Van Anrooij (Lidl Trek), who have all the right cards to try and chase a good result. An eye must also be kept on Mavi García (Liv Jayco AlUla), second in 2020, and Ashleigh Moolman (AG Insurance-Soudal), third in 2022, as well as Juliette Labous, Pfeiffer Georgi (dsm-firmenich PostNL) and Christina Schweinberger (Fenix-Deceuninck), Elise Chabbey, Soraya Paladin (Canyon/SRAM), Erica Magnaldi (UAE Team ADQ), Evita Muzic (FDJ-Suez), Riejanne Markus (Team Visma | Lease a Bike), Niamh Fisher-Black (SD Worx-Protime) and Kristen Faulkner (EF Education-Cannondale).

Follow us
on social media
# StradeBianche
top sponsor