By Steve Medcroft & Brecht Decaluwé
Dutch national cyclo-cross champion Lars Boom (Rabobank) and German national champion Hanka Kupfernagel (Focus) held off strong contingents of French hopefuls looking for a home-country win in round seven of the 2007/2008 UCI World Cup on Sunday.
In the men's race, Boom held French national champion Francis Mourey (Française des Jeux) and a surprisingly strong John Gadret (AG2r - La Mondiale) to third and fifth-place respectively with the pace he and Belgian Bart Wellens (Fidea Cycling Team) set on the gloomy and muddy parcours for his second World Cup win of the season.
"I feel good," Boom said, "but the others on the podium are good as well. Mourey was very strong; for sure he will be a candidate for the win in Treviso."
Kupfernagel was able to stay ahead of three French women for her first World Cup victory of the season. World champion Maryline Salvetat (VSLL Castres), Laurence Leboucher (Sarthe-Gasseau) and Christelle Ferrier-Bruneau (Les Pruneaux D'Agen) finished second through fourth.
"I didn't feel so good because of all the traveling we did in the car," Kupfernagel said of her start in the race. "The French girls received a lot of support, so I hope the crowds will not hate me for that," Kupfernagel wondered. "Too bad Daphny Van Den Brand wasn't here today, because it would've been an even greater spectacle for the crowds. I really feel the level of women's cyclo-cross is picking up recently."