The Heroines of the UCI Women’s World Championship

By Megan Flottorp

Excitement filled the air in Glasgow these past 10 days as the UCI Women’s World Championship offered an impressive tapestry of talent, determination, and triumphs. From the velodrome to the road, from mountain trails to BMX tracks, the stage was set for an electrifying showcase of the world’s finest cyclists — hosted all together for the very first time. Let’s dive into some of the highlights!

Kopecky’s road to glory

Lotte Kopecky
There is, apparently, nothing Kopecky cannot do on a bike. © Profimedia

In another display of prowess, Lotte Kopecky, a Belgian force of nature, emerged as queen of the road. Fresh from her dual victories in the velodrome, Kopecky carried her momentum to the road race, seizing the top spot. The final kilometers were intense as Kopecky surged past her rivals. Demi Vollering, her SD Worx comrade, celebrated Kopecky’s triumph with a sprint for second place, followed by Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig. This victory wasn’t just another win; it marked the first time in half a century that a Belgian cyclist claimed the coveted World Championship road race rainbow jersey.

The course, with its challenging 154-kilometer route, was hailed as one of the most grueling races on the pro women’s calendar this year. From the outset, the peloton charged forth with unyielding determination, attacking each ascent and curve with ferocity. The pace was unforgiving, the accelerations fierce, and the competition cutthroat. When Kopecky unleashed her final surge at 5.6 kilometers to the finish line, the victory was sealed. A tearful Kopecky summed up her emotions, “It’s really a dream that’s come true. I look forward to wearing the rainbow jersey next year.”

BMX: Shriever’s mastery

As the dust settled on the BMX track, one name emerged as the clear winner – Beth Shriever. The British dynamo reclaimed her women’s BMX world title with an enthralling display of speed and skill. From start to finish, Shriever dominated the track. With the rainbow bands once again adorning her jersey, she shared her elation, “The crowd was amazing, it is so special… I am speechless.” Amidst the twists, turns, and adrenaline of BMX, Shriever’s victory was a testament to the finely tuned balance of precision and daring that defines this exciting discipline. The 2018 winner Laura Smulders was second for the Netherlands, with US rider Alise Willoughby, who won in 2019, crossing the line in third.

Mountain Biking: Ferrand-Prévot’s mountain dominance

Amidst the stunning landscapes of Scotland’s Glentress Forest, Pauline Ferrand-Prévot carved her legacy deeper into the mountain biking realm — retaining her women’s mountain bike cross-country world title with another stellar performance. The French phenomenon seized the lead early on, briefly forming a pair with compatriot Loana Lecomte, before the road race world champion quickly dropped her teammate.

The INEOS Grenadiers rider kept increasing her gap and finished more than a minute clear of Lecomte to secure her second rainbow jersey at these championships after taking the cross-country short track event on Thursday. As she crossed the finish line, securing her fifth world mountain bike cross-country Olympic discipline title, Ferrand-Prévot’s mastery was palpable as she proved once again that there’s really no stopping her.

Time Trial: Dygert’s race against the clock

In the world of time trials, where seconds can separate victory from defeat, Chloé Dygert reaffirmed her supremacy. The American powerhouse clinched her second title in the Elite Women’s Time Trial Championships, a testament to her ability to perform under pressure. Dygert’s precision and raw power were on full display as she conquered the course with. Grace Brown of Australia captured silver, with just 6 seconds separating the pair at the finish line. Christina Schweinberger (Austria) also put in a heck of a ride to take bronze.

Farewell to a legend

Annemiek Van Vleuten
Van Vleuten had plenty of time to soak up the adoration of the crowds in Glasgow.

And of course, we need to mention the final World’s performance for one of cycling’s greatest — Annemiek van Vleuten. A figure synonymous with determination and class, she encountered a twist of fate on the Glasgow roads. A puncture dashed her hopes of a win, but in her graceful wave to the crowd, we witnessed the spirit of a true sports ambassador.

Coming in eighth place, Van Vleuten had plenty of time to soak up the adoration of the crowds in Glasgow. “I love the UK people, they have a special place in my heart,” Van Vleuten said to reporters after the finish. “It was not nice to have a flat tire in the last lap. I was able to not get angry or disappointed, I felt like, ‘I need to enjoy this’.”

But please note that this is not her last hurrah, as the Dutch rider announced she’ll be continuing on with a series of criteriums and two stage races, the Tour of Scandinavia and the Simac Ladies Tour. So thankfully we have a few more chances to see her in action!

Full Results: Women’s UCI World Championships

Road Race: Lotte Kopecky (BEL) ahead of Demi Vollering (NED) and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (DEN)

Omnium: Great Britain ahead of Australia and France

Points race: Lotte Kopecky (BEL) ahead of Georgia Baker (AUS) and Tsuyaka Uchino (JPN)

Omnium: Jennifer Valente (USA) ahead of Amalie Dideriksen (DEN) and Lotte Kopecky (BEL)

Sprint: Emma Finucane (GBR) ahead of Lea Sophie Friedrich (GER) and Elisse Andrews (NZL)

Mixed Relay TTT: Switzerland ahead of France and Germany

Elite E-MTB: Natalie Schneitter (SUI) ahead of Sofia Wiedenroth (GER) and Justine Tonso (FRA)

XC Mixed Team Relay: Switzerland ahead of France and Denmark

Elite MTB Marathon: Mona Mitterwallner (AUT) ahead of Candice Lill (RSA) and Adelheid Morath (GER)

Elite ITT: Chloe Dygert (USA) ahead of Grace Brown (AUS) and Christina Schweinberger (AUT)

U23 ITT: Antonia Niedermaier (GER) ahead of Cedrine Karboal (FRA) and Julie de Wilde (BEL)

BMX Freestyle Flatland: Aude Cassagne (FRA) ahead of Leticia Moda (BRA) and Kiara Nagakawa (JPN)

Elite XCC short track: Pauline Ferrnd-Prevot (FRA) ahead of Puck Pieterse (NED) and Evie Richards (GBR)

U23 XCO: Samara Maxwell (NZL) ahead of Ginia Caluori (SUI) and Ronja Blochlinger (SUI)

Elite XCO: Pauline Ferrand-Privot (FRA) ahead of Loana Lecomte (FRA) and Puck Pieterse (NED)