154 km starting from Loch Lomond and finishing in Glasgow would face the Women, although what would make this race different to any of the other races was the fact there would be two races in one. Both the elite and under 23 Women would start together and compete in the same race, but there would be two separate podiums and jerseys awarded at the end, to signal the podiums of each category. It won’t be until 2025 when both categories get their own race, a little like the men’s races.

As the riders lined up awaiting the drop of the flag there were two big names not in attendance. Both Chloe Dygert (USA) fresh off winning the TT World Champs jersey and Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland) would not take to the start line due to illness.

The first 30 minutes of the race saw much tension in the bunch as riders attempted to break away. With such a technical finishing circuit, many riders were wanting to get a head start on the chasing bunch, much like in the under-23 men’s race on Saturday where winner Axel Laurance was part of a break that formed well before the finishing circuits.

Eliska Kvasnickova (Czech Republic) was the first rider to succeed in opening a gap to the bunch, but with no riders who were willing to go with her and 142 km to go, it looked like she could be in for a long day out. But with numerous crashes occurring in the bunch and tension rising even further the pace started to be picked up in the peloton behind with one of the main initiators being Marianne Vos (Netherlands).

With the bunch strung out from the countless attacks already launched by riders it was Kata Blanka Vas (Hungary) and Lizzie Deignan (Great Britain) turns to try their luck. With a number of bike lengths opening up to the bunch Vas and Deignan were soon joined by Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (South Africa), Juliette Labous (France), Sanne Cant (Belgium), Mischa Bredewold (Netherlands) and Elise Chabbey (Switzerland). With the few bike lengths opening up to 5 seconds and then 10, would this group be able to make it to Glasgow?

The Australians, Italians and Germans were the three big nations to miss out on the move and reluctant to let the group of 7 gain too much of an advantage would attempt to close the gap. However with the riders up front combining to work together extremely well, the gap continued to open up to the chasers. With Crow Road looming, the day's main climb, and the time gap edging out towards a minute Soraya Paladin (Italy) was the rider to take charge, attacking off the front of the peloton at the base of the climb in an attempt to bridge the gap.

Without race radio it was impossible for riders in the break to know the situation behind them, but sensing that the bunch might use the climb as an opportunity to close the gap it was Chabbey from Switzerland who was the first to ramp up the intensity. Blanka Vas, one of the riders to initiate the break, suffered with this pace and was soon dropped by the break.

With the front group down to 6 the Germans were the next nation to start taking control of the peloton and in doing so would bring Paladin's lone effort to an end. With the increase in pace really stringing the bunch out, there were some big names such as Marianne Vos (Netherlands) who were unable to hold the pace. Cresting the brow of Crow Road with a gap of 36 seconds, the front 6’s lead was very quickly reduced along the exposed upper sections.

Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) suffered a puncture just as the gap was closed to the 6 in front. With riders and team cars all lined out from the consequences of the intensity up Crow Road it looked like one of the big favourites could be in for a tough chase back. Luckily a fast bike change and a sit-up of pace on the front of the bunch meant Kopecky was able to quickly get back into the peloton without too much stress or energy expenditure.

As the riders started to enter the streets of Glasgow and all the groups back together the pace dropped even further. With positioning going to be crucial on the finishing circuits and with close to 50 corners and numerous short, punchy climbs making up the circuit Kim Cadzow (New Zealand) decided she wanted to take the race on from the front, attacking solo as the finishing circuit beckoned.

It wasn’t long before Cadzow was caught and so it was Elise Chabbey (Switzerland) to be the next to go on the attack with Kopecky straight on her case, obviously on some good form after her chase back from her bike change. The duo were joined by Liane Lippert (Belgium), Anna Henderson (Great Britain), Elise Chabbey (Switzerland), Silvia Perisco (Italy), Grace Brown (Australia) and Demi Vollering (Netherlands), a very strong group indeed. The danger of this group was quickly picked up by the group behind which meant it wasn’t long before the front of the race was all back together.

With a very whittled-down group and many nations not willing to take control, it was Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) to try her luck next, soon joined by Henderson flying the flag of Great Britain. The duo were joined by 5 others only a few kilometres later. These riders were Elise Chabbey (Switzerland), Soraya Paladin (Italy), Riejanne Markus (Netherlands), Cecilie Ludwig Uttrup (Denmark) and Agnieszka Skalniak-Sojka (Poland).

With 85 km to go and the group of 7 now with a slender advantage of 10 seconds it was Kopecky who again would take up the charge from the group behind to close the gap. 75 km to go and only around 30 riders left in the front group things started to become very cagey as no singular nation was willing to take control and this caginess was clearly getting to Kopecky who could be seen trying to encourage other riders to come through and pull a turn.

Elise Chabbey (Switzerland) used this lack of cohesion to her advantage and with just over 70 km to go she put in a massive attack. Behind it would be Justine Ghekiere (Belgium) who would take charge of the chase on behalf of Kopecky.

With 65 km it was the defending champion in trouble, Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) who suffered a front wheel puncture, receiving a very slow wheel change it was going to be a tough chase for her. A few kilometres later, Vleuten was seen switching onto her spare bike, the reasoning unknown but one thing was for sure was that it would just make her chase even harder. Would we see her make it back and be able to defend her jersey?

With 4 laps to go Chabbey’s lead was now 23 seconds to the chasing group behind, with Van Vleuten even further behind at 49 seconds from the leader.

Over the next few laps, an almost uncountable number of attacks would be launched, most of which were soon jumped upon and shut down. Elena Cecchini (Italy) was one of the few riders to escape and it wasn’t long until she had a 20-second gap over the bunch. With so many corners making it near on impossible to see the riders out front it was almost as if the bunch had forgotten about Chabbey whose lead was now close to 90 seconds to the bunch.

With Kopecky keen to get things back under control after an attack from Van Vleuten and crashes for the likes of Henderson, Justine Ghekiere could be seen lining the bunch out to catch Cecchini to leave only the lone leader of Chabbey out front with only 45 km to go.

Justine Ghekiere (Belgium) and Shirin van Anrooij (Netherlands) were the two riders to take over from Ghekiere in an effort to bring the gap down and regain control for both their leaders, Kopecky and Van Vleuten. However, with the gap to Chabbey not dropping too quickly, would anyone be willing to take things on for themselves?

It was the defending champion to take charge first, as Van Vleuten put in a massive attack with 35 km to go, sensing the danger Kopecky responded by going straight over the top with Demi Vollering right on her wheel. The consequences from these bursts of accelerations meant that Chabbey’s lead was now down to only 25 seconds.

The constant accelerations within the bunch also meant constant lulls of pace, Van Vleuten took advantage of one of these lulls after Kopecky’s attack and managed to open a small gap but at this point in time it looked to be Kopecky’s race to lose as she was the one to take charge and bring the race back together yet again.

The penultimate time up Montrose Street Demi Vollering was the one to light things up, stomping through the gears in an attempt to open a gap to the group. With Kopecky right on her wheel there was no getting away from Vollering but it did mean Chabbey was finally caught as the riders passed over the finish line for the final time.

Van Vleuten ran into trouble yet again, with a rear wheel puncture putting her hope of defending the rainbow jersey to bed.

With the front group now down to only 7 riders, it was both Vollering and Kopecky who seemed to be on best form. Knowing this the two could be seen very closely marking one another out and sensing this Deignan took this to her advantage, attacking with Christina Schweinberger (Austria). The group seemed unfazed by this and the duo soon opened up a handful of seconds before Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) was the next rider to try her luck and break away.

With Vollering on the front of the 4 riders in pursuit, Kopecky launched a massive attack from the rear, quickly closing the gap to Reusser and then to the gap to the duo out front. Vollering not willing to let Kopecky just ride away, the Dutch Women put in a massive turn to close the gap before attempting to attack straight over the top up one of the numerous climbs on the finishing circuit.

As the riders out front regrouped once again, Vollering was visibly struggling with cramp and could be seen unclipping and stretching out her left quad on the final lap. At this point surely it was Kopecky’s race to lose?  

With 7 km to go it was Uttrup Ludwig who launched her attack in pursuit of the title but with Kopecky right on her wheel was it going to be a two-up race for the line? Kopecky didn’t want to risk a sprint and soon attacked over the top and with Ludwig unable to follow, Kopecky was off in pursuit of the win.

Ludwig wasn’t going to give up that easily and with the gap at only 11 seconds as the riders climbed Montrose Street for the final time it was going to be a close race. However, there was no stopping Kopecky who powered on and headed under the flamme rouge with still a 10-second lead to the lone chaser.

Flowing through the final corners there was nothing Ludwig could do as Kopecky continued to power off and take the win

Lotte Kopecky is your 2023 World Champion!!!

Behind it looked to be Ludwig who was going to take the silver medal, however Vollering looked to be recovering from her cramp as she put in a massive push during the final kilometre to just pip Ludwig to the line.

Behind there was still the race on for the under 23 women's rainbow jersey and with Kata Blanka Vas (Hungary) taking 11th place it was enough for her to take the title with Shirin Van Anrooij (Netherlands) taking the silver medal and Anna Shakley (Great Britain) in third.

Elite Women’s top ten:

Lotte Kopecky (Belgium) 1st

Demi Vollering (Netherlands) 2nd

Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Denmark) 3rd

Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) 4th

Christina Schweinberger (Austria) 5th

Lizzie Deignan (Great Britain) 6th

Elise Chabbey (Switzerland) 7th

Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) 8th

Riejanne Markus (Netherlands) 9th

Mavi Garcia (Spain) 10th

Under 23 Women’s podium:

Kata Blanka Vas (Hungary)

Shirin Van Anrooij (Netherlands)

Anna Shakley (Great Britain)

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