Pre-race favourite Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) won her sixth Belgian women's cyclo-cross national title on a very muddy course in Erpe-Mere.
24 year-old Cant fended off a strong challenge from outsider Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea). Githa Michiels (Versluys PRO) worked her way to a muddy bronze medal.
"It was very hard. It was difficult to choose between riding or running," Cant told Sporza "I'm glad that I can head to Spain now to prepare for the World Cup final in Hoogerheide and the world championships."
Cant tops the UCI ranking, leading the UCI World Cup classification and her win in Erpe-Mere is the 18th victory of her season.
The women faced three laps on a muddy clay course in Erpe-Mere, where recent rain showers made the mud somewhat less sticky. Whilst the organizers took out a long running section the women still needed twelve minutes to complete a lap. After the first lap Cant was in trouble. Despite crashing on a slippery steep descent, Van Loy managed to gain ten seconds on Cant.
"She fell in the descent. I was riding my own pace which was my plan straight from the start. But just before the finish she was much stronger than me in the mud," Cant admitted.
The two women were using different race tactics. Van Loy used a big gear to power through the mud. Cant was running more and using a small gear when on her bike. In the end Cant's tactics proved to be the most successful. Halfway through the race Cant came back up to Van Loy during the technical sections and she charged into the lead. Cant had a five seconds lead over Van Loy at the start of the last lap. That gap grew up to twenty seconds but still Cant nearly lost it all.
"In the last lap at the stairs I flatted. I didn't want anybody to see it. I was glad to get to the pits because I was quite worried," Cant revealed.
At the finish Cant had time to wipe off the mud off her Enertherm-BKCP jersey, search for a medallion and point to the sky when crossing the line.
Van Loy concluded a strong race by taking the silver medal. Githa Michiels and Loes Sels (Young Telenet-Fidea) battled for the bronze medal.
After a mechanical Sels was overtaken by Michiels who used the momentum to keep going through the mud. Cindy Bauwens (Morgan Blue) was a surprising name in fifth place, ahead of Jolien Verschueren (Young Telenet-Fidea) who struggled a lot on the muddy course.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP||0:43:18|
|2||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Young Telenet-Fidea||0:00:18|
|3||Githa Michiels (Bel) Versluys PRO||0:02:00|
|4||Loes Sels (Bel) Young Telenet-Fidea||0:03:19|
|5||Cindy Bauwens (Bel) Morgan Blue||0:05:25|
|6||Katrien Thijs (Bel) Kleur Op Maat||0:05:28|
|7||Laura Verdonschot (Bel)||0:05:36|
|8||Jolien Verschueren (Bel) Young Telenet-Fidea||0:05:41|
|9||Shana Maes (Bel) AA Drink-B.R.I.S. Cycling Team||0:06:36|
|10||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team||0:06:46|
|11||Femke Van Den Driessche (Bel) VZW Lotto-Ladiescycling||0:07:22|
|12||Kim Van De Steene (Bel)||0:09:15|
|13||Marlies Beckers (Bel)||0:10:55|
|14||Gertie Willems (Bel)||0:11:10|
|15||Meg De Bruyne (Bel)||0:12:16|
|16||Nele Van Maldeghem (Bel)||0:13:09|
|17||Tine Verdeyen (Bel)||0:14:14|
|18||Brenda Kaczmarczyk (Bel)||0:15:52|
|19||Aurélie Vermeir (Bel)||0:16:29|
|20||Anja Geldhof (Bel)||0:16:36|
|21||Jessika Timmermans (Bel)||0:17:10|
|22||Mieke De Roo (Bel)||0:17:16|
|23||Marijke De Pauw (Bel)||0:17:56|
|24||Anja Nobus (Bel)||0:18:17|
|25||Jo Blanchaert (Bel)||0:19:32|
|26||Chris Van Dorsselaere (Bel)|
|27||Katleen Fraeye (Bel)|
|28||Sandie Verriest (Bel)|
|29||Delphine Couckuyt (Bel)|
|30||Melisa Peers (Bel)|
|31||Cindy Diericx (Bel)|
|32||Sandra Sintobin (Bel)|