By Peter Hymas
Daphny Van Den Brand held off World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel to win the final round of the World Cup in Milan. Van Den Brand controlled the race from start to finish with only Kupfernagel able to match the power and bike handling skills of her Dutch competitor on the quick, technical circuit. French Champion Maryline Salvetat kept the leading duo in check, but was unable to make contact and finished in third place.
Van Den Brand separated herself from the field early in the first lap and set the tempo nearly the entire race. Kupfernagel was slower to start, but joined the surging Van Den Brand on the second lap. Kupfernagel tested Van Den Brand on the brief sections of pavement, but found herself fighting to maintain Van Den Brand's wheel on the punchy climbs and twisting, technical sections that dominated the circuit.
Van Den Brand led Kupfernagel for virtually the entire last lap and made sure she arrived first out of the last corner with a slight gap in order to neutralize Kupfernagel's sprint on the short finishing stretch.
Hanka Kupfernagel already wrapped up the overall World Cup title the previous weekend in Roubaix, France and entered today's final event with an unassailable lead. Kupfernagel maintained her World Cup streak of never finishing worse than second with a second place finish to conclude her World Cup campaign.
Daphny Van Den Brand secured second place overall in the World Cup with her second victory of the series in Milan. Katie Compton did not compete in Milan, choosing to remain in Belgium to train for the upcoming world championships, but had acquired enough points to guarantee a third place overall finish without racing the final round.