Cant criticises organisers for hosting 'too short' women's cyclo-cross races

Events have been hovering near the 40-minute minimum standard

World champion Sanne Cant (Enetherm- BKCP) has criticised cyclo-cross event organisers for hosting races for women that are too short. She argued that some races, particularly this past weekend, barely reached the minimum time standard of 40 minutes set by the UCI, and in some cases, organisers have stopped clock shy of that minimum.

"I think it's a pity that we only have 40 minutes in the last races," Cant toldSporza following her race at Flandriencross in Hamme on Sunday. "I think we should approach 50 minutes instead of continuing to race around 40 minutes."

The UCI sets the duration of elite women's cyclo-cross events between 40 and 50 minutes, according to the current cyclo-cross regulations, and whereby the number of laps they complete are calculated and announced at the end of the second lap. In comparison, the elite men’s category races must be set at 60 minutes, and between 60 to 70 minutes at World Cup and World Championships.

In Hamme, Annemarie Worst (Steylaerts - 777) won the women’s race in 39:06, nearly a minute short of the UCI's minimum time standard. Cant finished in second place at one-second behind after a lead group of eight riders fought for the victory for much of the race.

Cant said the eight-rider front group was racing between seven and eight minutes per lap, and so if they had raced for one more lap the total time would have been between roughly 46 and 47 minutes, and would not have surpassed the maximum time standard of 50 minutes.

"Today, they could have raced us for a lap longer. The rules are between 40 and 50 minutes. Today we raced for 39 minutes, and we do not even get the rules. With an extra lap, that would have been successful," Cant said. "Today, it was seven to eight minutes. I think it's easy to get a lap in. If we had raced a lap in 10 minutes, I understand that it would have been harder to count, but this cannot be that difficult, I think."

Cant also competed in Saturday's UCI World Cup in Tabor, where Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) won the women’s race in 40:19, and Cant placed sixth at 13 seconds back.

In the US this past weekend, Ruby West (Specialized-Tenspeed Hero) won the SuperCross opener ahead of Rebecca Fahringer (Kona Maxxis Shimano) in a snowy Suffern, New York, in 40:17. However, the following day organisers timed the women’s race to its maximum allotment as Fahringer won in 50:04.

Flandriencross was part of the DVV Trophy series that has hit the mid-standard time mark in its other events: Kim van de Steene won the opening round in Oudenaarde in 47:24 and Cant won the second round in Niel in 43:32.

On the World Cup circuit, Katlin Keough won the Iowa City race in 40:55, while Marianne Vos won in Waterloo and Bern in times of 48:42 and 41:00, respectively. The Superprestige Series has completed four rounds: Worst won in Casting in 48:03, Van de Steene won in Boom in 44:16, Vos won in Ruddervoorde in 42:47 and Alice Maria Arzuffi won in Gavere in 45:25.

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