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With an impressive and strong performance, 19-year-old Julia Kopecky secured second place on Saturday afternoon for AG Insurance – Soudal NXTG. Julia, who has been part of the AG Insurance – Soudal NXTG cycling team since she was 16, has proven that she is taking another step closer in her progression towards competing at World Tour level.

The race, which started and ended in Eijsden, in the heart of the South Limburg hills, offered a challenging course of 119.2 kilometers, consisting of six local laps. The riders faced a total of 13 climbs, including the Heiweg, Eckelraderweg, and Moerslag, each with a gradient of seven percent.

After a while, Niamh Fisher-Black and Femke Markus, together with Julia Kopecky, formed a breakaway group. With six kilometers to go, Fisher-Black had to drop back, but about 4 kilometers before the finish, the group came back together. In a sprint, Femke Markus managed to seize the victory, while Niamh Fisher-Black secured a commendable third place.

“From the second lap, SD Worx started to put pressure on. Their strategy seemed to be aimed at thinning out the peloton as quickly as possible, which in such races, with their mix of experience, is always a bit more dangerous. After two laps, we already had a breakaway group of about 30 riders, including Noëlle, Lore, and myself. We communicated with each other, and Lore was in excellent shape, but I also felt strong. Our plan was to start at the front at each climb. When SD Worx pushed hard on a climb, we eventually ended up with just three of us. At the next climb, SD Worx accelerated again, and I made the jump. I also tried to attack, and we remained with just the two of us until the last round. Niamh Fisher-Black joined us again, which put me in a difficult position against two riders from SD Worx. They attacked in turns, and I responded as quickly as possible. At one point, I decided to attack myself, because constantly defending against two riders would only make it harder. Eventually, it came down to a sprint. My legs were almost empty, but I finished second and am really super satisfied with the race. This was my third race of the season and despite having ridden Dwars door Vlaanderen last Wednesday, I did not expect to feel so good. But after two days of rest and light training, I felt surprisingly good. I am very happy with the result!” said an enthusiastic Julia Kopecky.