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AG Insurance – Soudal secures two top ten finishes in the second edition of the Antwerp Port Epic. After a demanding 140 kilometer race through the province of Antwerp, featuring no less than 56 kilometers of unpaved roads and cobblestones, Ilse Pluimers and Julia Kopecky rode strongly and finished in sixth and tenth place, respectively.

The race was marked by a long breakaway from two riders, Mieke Dockx and Jenčušová Nora, who managed to build a significant lead. Unfortunately, there was also a crash involving Laura Lizette Sander 38 kilometers from the finish, forcing her to abandon the race.

Our riders, Julia Kopecky and Ilse Pluimers, found themselves in the decisive lead group of nine riders heading towards the finish line. With 1,5 kilometers to go, Julia Kopecky launched an attack in an attempt to secure the victory, but a counterattack from the lead group quickly closed the gap.

Ilse Pluimers ultimately secured an impressive sixth place. The victory went to Lara Gillespie of UAE, with Zoe Bäckstedt and Sanne Cant taking the second and third spots on the podium. Julia Kopecky also finished in the top ten.

“We rode a strong race, and we performed well as a team. We actually took control of the race. In the first round, Mirre and Julia attacked, creating an immediate gap. In the final, Zoe went, and we ended up in a lead group of ten. Unfortunately, Mirre had a mechanical issue, so Julia and I continued together. Julia rode incredibly strong. I got a flat tire with sixty kilometers to go but was able to come back. Julia and I both had a plan for the final: she would attack at 1.5 kilometers, and I would go at 800 meters. Unfortunately, I fell behind in the peloton again, putting us too far back for the sprint. There was more potential today, but in the final sprint, we gambled and lost, so that was disappointing. However, I'm pleased that we rode a strong race”, said Ilse Pluimers.