Sanne Cant (Beobank-Corendon) claimed victory in the Flandriencross in Hamme on Sunday after a stirring comeback on the final lap. The world champion was forced to dig deep to see off the challenge of the American pairing of Ellen Noble (Aspire Racing) and Katie Compton (Trek), who led for much of the event.
Cant trailed by 12 seconds at one point, but fought her way back up to the two leaders on the last lap, and then forged clear in the closing stages after finally hitting the front on the technical course. The Belgian crossed the finish line six seconds clear of Noble and seven ahead of Compton, who had the consolation of retaining her lead atop the DVV-Trofee standings after the third of eight rounds.
The victory was Cant's second of the weekend after her assured showing in Saturday's World Cup race in Zeven, Germany. Cant's win in Hamme was a rather tenser affair, as a poor start left her with much ground to recoup in the finale. She explained afterwards that she simply threw caution to the wind on the last lap.
"It wasn't my intention the intention to fall so far back," Cant said in her post-race flash interview. "Because of the sun, I wasn't able to see the tracks in the mud properly, and I thought I was going to fall, but on the last lap I just thought, ‘If I fall, I fall.' It was all or nothing."
Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions) was the early pace-setter in the four-lap race, before Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan – Charles) took up the running on the front. Noble and Compton were always well-positioned, however, and they took up the reins shortly afterwards, putting daylight between themselves and the rest of the field.
Noble and Compton opened a lead of more than ten seconds over the principal chasers Van Loy, Cant and Kaptheijns. Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team), a fine second in Zeven on Saturday, appeared to pay for those efforts and was never really a factor for the victory here, and though she battled gamely through the race, she had to settle for 7th place, 1:26 down on Cant.
On the penultimate lap, Noble briefly edged away from Compton, but her compatriot made light of the demanding conditions to move smartly back up to her wheel before they took the bell for the final lap.
Cant, meanwhile, was increasingly daring in her approach as the race progressed, and the shackles came off in earnest as she headed towards the final lap. After shaking off Van Loy, Kaptheijns et al, she set off in lone pursuit of the American tandem in front, catching them on the final lap.
Almost immediately, Cant came to the front, and once she opened a small gap, there was an air of inevitability about the final outcome. The world champion crossed the line six seconds clear of the 21-year-old Noble, who outlined her potential by beating Compton to second place.
"It's my first podium in a European 'cross race," Noble said. "It's fun to ride in the front, but quite unnerving. I had to be careful not to get carried away in my enthusiasm, the fans here are great."
Compton is racing a full European programme for the first time this season, and the experience of consistent top-level racing through the winter will surely stand her in good stead come the World Championships in February. Although she missed out on victory in the Flandriencross, she has now extended her lead over Wyman in the DVV-Trofee classification to a hefty 2:38.
"It's the first time I'm on top of this general classification, because I used to miss several races because I was in the States," Compton said. "After my illness a few weeks ago, I am back in better shape. This is a nice course but I was still tired from yesterday."
Ellen Van Loy placed 4th, 52 seconds down on Cant, while Nikki Brammeier delivered another solid showing to take 5th, a further six seconds back. Kaptheijns held off Wyman to place 6th, while Alice Maria Arzuffi, Loes Sels and Laura Verdonschot completed the top 10 in Hamme.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sanne Cant (Bel) Beobank-Corendon||0:39:09|
|2||Ellen Noble (USA) Aspire Racing||0:00:06|
|3||Katherine Compton (USA)||0:00:07|
|4||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:52|
|5||Nikki Brammeier (GBr)||0:00:58|
|6||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned) Crelan - Charles||0:01:12|
|7||Helen Wyman (GBr)||0:01:26|
|8||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Steylaerts - Betfirst||0:01:53|
|9||Loes Sels (Bel) Crelan - Charles||0:01:55|
|10||Laura Verdonschot (Bel) Marlux - Napoleon Games||0:02:13|
|11||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)||0:02:20|
|12||Elle Anderson (USA)||0:03:03|
|13||Geerte Hoeke (Ned)||0:03:28|
|14||Clara Honsinger (USA)||0:03:53|
|15||Lindy Van Anrooij (Ned)||0:03:57|
|16||Mascha Mulder (Ned)||0:04:28|
|17||Jinse Peeters (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice||0:04:45|
|18||Marthe Truyen (Bel)||0:04:50|
|19||Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra)||0:04:58|
|20||Lizzy Witlox (Ned)||0:05:18|
|21||Jolien Verschueren (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice||0:05:29|
|22||Anne Terpstra (Ned)||0:05:52|
|23||Suzanne Verhoeven (Bel)||0:05:57|
|24||Meg De Bruyne (Bel)||0:06:17|
|25||Laurel Rathbun (USA)||0:06:22|
|26||Tereza Vanícková (Cze)||0:06:23|
|27||Shana Maes (Bel)||0:06:31|
|28||Esther Van Der Burg (Ned)||0:07:10|
|29||Irene Trabazo Bragado (Spa)||0:07:22|
|30||Natalie Redmond (Aus)||0:07:27|
|31||Laure Michels (Bel)||0:08:17|
|32||Elodie Kuijper (Ned)||0:08:22|
|33||Flurina Glaus (Swi)||0:08:49|
|34||Tine Rombouts (Bel)||0:09:00|
|35||Laura Van Regenmortel (Ned)||0:09:11|
|36||Svenja Wüthrich (Swi)||0:09:17|
|37||Tinne Vermeiren (Bel)||0:10:26|
|38||Sabine Hey (Ned)|
|39||Stacey Riedel (Aus)|
|40||Nele De Vos (Bel)|
|41||Jo Blanchaert (Bel)|
|DNF||Michelle Schätti (Swi)|
|DSQ||Kim Van De Steene (Bel) Tarteletto - Isorex|