Kopecky Battles to 26th in tough edition of Dwars Door Het Hageland

08 June 2024

As Team Novo Nordisk sped through the dust and bounced over the sharp gravel roads and up the punchy climbs you could be forgiven for thinking we were back in Kansas, racing Unbound…instead it was Belgium, Dwars Door Het Hageland and there were cobbles to contend with too. 

Of course there was. Would it be Belgium without cobbles? could it be? With the Gravel world championships coming here later this summer, Hageland was a great precursor to the spectacular action ahead and Matyas Kopecky once again showed his mettle in a race he clearly loves.

“I said a few days ago that I had good memories from last years race,” began Kopecky. “And today showed me that my memory wasn’t playing tricks on me – this a great one day race and I really enjoyed myself once again. It’s so tough and we thought that the early break wouldn’t be given much rope, so we had to be ready for the action to start early and it did.”

Five riders went clear over the first 30km and formed the days first breakaway, but not for long as the peloton held them at around one minute before finally calling time at the halfway point. Cue more attacks and a total split of what was left of the bunch.

I could feel early on that I didn’t have the same legs as last year,” continued Kopecky. “But it wasn’t until the final 50km that the lights started to go out. The final three times up All Saints Hill to the citadel I was struggling and knew that I wouldn’t make it into the top placings this time.”

“It’s such a stressful race because of the speed and the terrain and you spend so much energy, both physical and mental and it’s not until the final where you realize how much it’s taken out of you. I do love this race though. Now we stay in Belgium for the Baloise Tour next week and I’m already resetting and look forward.”

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