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Erwin Vervecken (Belgium)
Sunday was again a day of success for the home nation in the Dutch town of Zeddam, where the elite...
Sunday was again a day of success for the home nation in the Dutch town of Zeddam, where the elite women's and men's cyclo-cross world champions were decided. In the women's race, Dutch riders finished 1st and 3rd respectively, as 18 year-old Marianne Vos beat German Hanka Kupfernagel and Daphny van den Brand to take the title. In the men's race, a race-ending crash by Sven Nys didn't stop Belgium from scoring the gold and silver medals, courtesy of Fidea team-mates Erwin Vervecken and Bart Wellens, with Francis Mourey (Fra) taking the bronze.
With conditions again freezing and fast, it didn't take long for the women's race to be sorted out as Vos, Kupfernagel and Van den Brand escaped on the first lap. The three stuck together until Van den Brand flatted on lap 4, forcing Kupfernagel to lead to prevent the Dutchwoman from returning. That tactic played into Vos' hands, and she could sit behind the German before coming around her to win the two-up sprint.
The men's race saw a bunch of 15 stay together until well over halfway, with no-one being able to gain an advantage. Defending champ Nys, Wellens, Vervecken, Vannoppen (all Belgium) and Francis Mourey (France) entered the last lap with a small gap over the rest, and it was looking like an all-Belgian podium. But then Nys crashed on a tricky descent and his race for a second world title was over. That left Vervecken with a small advantage over the rest, which he pushed home to win ahead of Wellens and Mourey.
"With a half lap to go," Vervecken said after the race, "I knew I could win. In the last corners, everything was like a dream. This world title was far more emotional than my first one in Tabor."