Lotte Kopecky secures UAE Tour Women crown as Amber Kraak wins final stage

Belgian rider becomes race's second champion after finishing 13 seconds clear in general classification

Lotte Kopecky, wearing the race leader's red jersey, celebrates on the podium in Abu Dhabi after after winning the UAE Tour on February 11, 2024. Getty Images
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Lotte Kopecky has become the second winner of the UAE Tour Women after securing overall victory following the fourth and final stage in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The Belgian rider finished 13 seconds ahead of Neve Bradbury (Canyon//SRAM Racing) with Margarita Garcia (Liv-AlUla-Jayco) third, a further 31 seconds behind.

Team SD Worx Protime were denied a clean-sweep of victories in this year's race when Amber Kraak held on to win ahead of Lorena Wiebes – who took the first two stages before teammate Kopecky's victory on top of Jebel Hafeet on Saturday – and Daria Pikulik to seal Stage 4 honours.

But it was Lopecky who became the race's second general classification winner following Elisa Longo Borghini's victory in last year's inaugural edition.

“Coming to the UAE Women Tour, I hoped that I could win but it’s very early in the season and I didn’t know how my opponents were,” said 28-year-old Kopecky.

“As for myself, the outcome shows that I’ve worked in the right direction. Racing here is completely different than in Europe.

“If the wind blows in the right direction, it can make a very interesting racing. Before the race, I went sky diving for the first time and I enjoyed it too. I didn’t know what to expect when I jumped out of this plane but it was a very nice learning experience.

“I really wanted to do it. I don’t get easily scared. In a sprint or in a downhill, you can control yourself, but in sky diving, you just have to trust the person you are jumping with.”

Dutch rider Kraak spoiled the Team SD Worx party by going solo from the day's breakaway to hang on and take the stage win.

Wiebes came closest to catching the winner, just falling short after launching her sprint with Kraak in sight. Behind her, Pikulik (Human Powered Health) rounded out the podium.

“In the radio I heard my teammates shout 'go, go, go', so I understood it was really tight and I didn’t dare to look back,” said Kraak.

“This is my first solo victory in the WorldTour. I’m not really used to that but next time I will maybe celebrate with my arms up in the air.

“Our plan was really to go for the attack. When we got three minutes lead, I believed we could make it today. I actually wanted to go for the sprint but the others slowed down so I went solo. This is my first race for my new team FDJ-Suez.

“Yesterday, I was supposed to go full gas on the climb and it didn’t really work out. I didn’t have a good day so it’s a really great feeling to make it up the day after.”

We expected a breakaway and this front group was really strong,” said Lopecky. “They deserved to get the win today.”

Updated: February 11, 2024, 5:20 PM