Marianne Vos again confirmed her immense multi-discipline cycling talent on Sunday by taking her third cyclo-cross world championships title in Tabor, Czech Republic. The 22-year-old Dutch rider dominated the race from start to finish to claim her fifth elite world title.
Vos was marked by compatriot Daphny van den Brand and German champion Hanka Kupfernagel on the first lap but during the second lap Vos created a gap and it was clear that only bad luck could have kept her from winning in Tabor. She then avoided any trouble and confidently held a half a minute gap on Kupfernagel for the rest of the race.
"I'm really happy that it worked out once again. A third [cyclo-cross] world championships title is fantastic," Vos told Cyclingnews. "Nothing's perfect but it went well right from the start and I didn't make many mistakes despite feeling a lot of pressure."
It was her second consecutive world cyclo-cross title and further boosted her already imposing palmares. Vos has now has a total of five elite world championship wins: Her cyclo-cross haul joined by her road title (Salzburg, 2006) and a points race world title, won on the track in Manchester in 2008.
Battles for bronze
Vos had plenty of time to celebrate before crossing the line, as did Germany’s Hanka Kupfernagel, who was second yet again to Vos. But the battle for bronze was hard-fought between Christel Ferrier-Bruneau of France, local hero Katerina Nash of the Czech Republic, and Daphny van den Brand of the Netherlands.
French road champion Ferrier-Bruneau and Van den Brand were riding together halfway through race, with Nash crawling back into the race after a bad first lap. However, Ferrier-Bruneau was the first to have high hopes dashed by the icy Tabor course.
"It happened at the backside of the course. I slid away in the ice and went down. It's too bad because I was targeting the podium," Ferrier-Bruneau told Cyclingnews, adding that she plans to ride several 'cross races in the USA next year.
Nash, too, was disappointed to miss out on the top-three. Despite being urged on by a partisan crowd, she was unable to find a way past Van den Brand. "There were so many fans out there cheering me on. I was getting closer on her at one moment but then she had a better section where she pulled away again," Nash told Cyclingnews.
"This feels like a missed opportunity. I came so close to the podium," she added. "I didn't have a good day. I made many mistakes and had a couple of bike problems with my shifter and my chain."
Ferrier-Bruneau and Nash's next opportunity for World Cyclo-cross Championships glory will come in Sankt Wendel, Germany, the site of the 2011 title race.