By Brecht Decaluwé in Treviso
The top two finishers at the Cyclo-cross World Championships elite women's race, German Hanka Kupfernagel and Marianne Vos (Netherlands) proved that they are prime examples of multi-talented athletes on Sunday. Both riders have a passion for cyclo-cross which they displayed in Treviso, but both must continue to focus on multiple Olympic disciplines in hopes of a medal in Beijing this summer.
After taking the gold and silver Sunday, 33-year-old Kupfernagel and 20-year-old Vos will now take a break and then start building up towards the Olympic Games, not just in the road race and the time trial, but other cycling disciplines as well. While Kupfernagel is focusing on the time trial and a possible bid for a position on the German mountain bike team, Vos will give priority to the road race and potentially try her hand on the track
"I'm trying to get qualified for the points race on the track and although I like cyclo-cross a lot, it's hard to combine it with the track," Vos explained of her Olympic ambitions.
During the track World Cup meeting in Beijing, back in December, Vos won both the scratch and the points race; however, her most recent appearance in the Los Angeles World Cup last week didn't go as well. The Dutch woman might have had her thoughts on Treviso already, as she had ridden the cyclo-cross national championships shortly before the track World Cup in the USA.
After the world championships in Italy, the young Dutch woman compared the mud of Treviso with the wood of the track. "Treviso was a good course for me, although a track is not quite as slippery as the mud in Treviso," Vos joked.
Kupfernagel from her part is still debating if she should have a go for the mountain bike race. "I heard it would be a cyclo-cross-like course and we're going to take a look at it ourselves soon," Kupfernagel commented.
The German ran into an old acquaintance while accepting her gold medal. "Back in the nineties, the national coach Jan Ramsauer forced me into the national training camps although I knew I didn't need such a preparation. I cancelled my participation and despite winning every race in Germany I wasn't selected for the world championships. Today he happened to be the man who handed me the golden medal," Kupfernagel sighed. "I bet he didn't even remember what happened in the past," said Kupfernagel's coach Mike Kluge.