As for now there's nothing to do against the domination of Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) in the cyclo-cross scene. On Wednesday afternoon in Loenhout, Belgium the world champion cruised through the muddy stretches while the pack behind the Dutch star seemed to get stuck in the mud. After her win in 2005 and 2010 Vos once again topped the podium in Loenhout and extended her current season's win streak to eight.
"It was long and far. Boring? Yeah, a bit but you have to remain focused," said Vos. "There was no opposition today but that was caused by the demanding course. After the first lap I already had a big gap and from there I had to stay in the rhythm."
After the third round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy it is compatriot Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink-Leontien.nl) who moves into the overall lead together with British rider Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea).
At first Hanka Kupfernagel (Stevens) seemed to rise above the rest in the mud, slightly behind Vos, but the German veteran quickly faded and eventually abandoned the race. A chasing group of five riders formed including Daphny van den Brand, Sanne Cant (Boxx-Veldritacademie), Sophie de Boer (Telenet-Fidea) and British riders Gabriella Day (Renner-Raleigh) and Nikki Harris. Surprisingly top guns Sanne van Paassen (Brainwash) and Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Lapierre International) were unable to keep up with the first chase group.
While Vos quickly gained more than a minute on the first chasers the battle for second place was most entertaining. During the penultimate lap there was an acceleration from Harris which was answered by Cant. Just before going into the last lap the other three riders bridged up as well. Van den Brand, however, moved forward in the last lap. She sneaked ahead of Harris when reaching the first muddy stretch and powered away.
"Only during the last lap my engine started running," Van den Brand told Cyclingnews. "I didn't have the legs today. Yesterday I received a treatment from the physiologist but that didn't do me well with the high amount of races we do these days. I'll have to cancel my appointment for tomorrow."
Vos made no mistakes, showed great skills in the technical sections and enjoyed the applause from the Belgian crowds. No less than 1:17 later Van den Brand placed second and that was enough for the Dutch woman to move into the lead of the GVA-rankings. There was no real sprint for third place as Sanne Cant entered the long finishing straight alone.
Harris captured fourth place which was enough to get equal in points with Van den Brand in the GVA-rankings. The Dutch rider is the official leader because she scored more points in the last race. "I went a bit too early," a somewhat disappointed Harris told Cyclingnews. "My knee still hurts a bit from the crash in Namur and I felt it when I ran; I definitely need to work on that part anyway," Harris said.
Her teammate De Boer was fifth ahead of Gabby Day. While the eventual result could have been slightly better Day will certainly be pleased with her performance in Loenhout.
Sanne van Paassen was seventh ahead of Ferrand Prevot. "I didn't get into the rhythm and felt a bit sore. I knew I was going to get a fallback after my illness," Van Paassen referred to the illness that kept her from riding the World Cup round in Namur. Pavla Havlikova (Telenet-Fidea) and Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn completed the top-10 in Loenhout.
The next round of the GVA-Trophy is held in Baal this coming Sunday on the first day of 2012. There will be no world champion at the start line in Baal as Vos is heading to Luxembourg where she traditionally kicks off the new year in Pétange.
"It's a pity for the overall rankings of the GVA but that's how it is," Vos said. Despite skipping the first round in Ruddervoorde Vos trails leaders Harris and Van den Brand only by five points, together with Sanne Cant. Skipping another round will make an eventual overall win virtually impossible.
|1||Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit||0:43:06|
|2||Daphny van den Brand (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.nl||0:01:17|
|3||Sanne Cant (Bel) BOXX Veldritacademie||0:01:26|
|4||Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:30|
|5||Sophie de Boer (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:37|
|6||Gabriella Day (GBr) Renner Custom Cyclocross Team||0:01:41|
|7||Sanne van Paassen (Ned) Brainwash||0:02:40|
|8||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) A C Bazancourt Reims|
|9||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:45|
|10||Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:03:33|
|11||Arenda Grimberg (Ned)||0:03:49|
|12||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Brainwash||0:04:28|
|13||Lana Verberne (Ned) RTC Buitenlust||0:05:21|
|14||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze) Simunek Cycling Project||0:05:28|
|15||Iris Ockeloen (Ned) RTC Groenewoud||0:05:45|
|16||Tessa Van Nieuwpoort (Ned)||0:06:03|
|17||Nikoline Hansen (Den) Bov CC-Denmark||0:06:28|
|18||Nicole De Bie-Leyten (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:06:46|
|19||Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco||0:06:56|
|20||Katrien Thijs (Bel) K. Edegem Bicycle Club - BMX R||0:07:14|
|21||Evy Kuijpers (Ned)||0:07:30|
|22||Dirkje Bazuin (Ned) Restore Cycling||0:08:32|
|23||Margriet Kloppenburg (Den)||0:09:04|
|24||Karia Stepanova (Cze)||0:09:29|
|25||Anja Nobus (Bel)||-1lap|
|26||Sarah Stewart (Can)|
|27||Shana Maes (Bel)|
|28||Monique Van De Ree (Ned)|
|29||Caren Commissaris (Bel)||-2laps|
|30||Lisa Herckmann (Ger)|
|31||Anja Geldhof (Bel)|
|32||Marijke De Pauw (Bel) WK Noord West Brabant|
|33||Madara Furmane (Lat)|
|34||Keshia Verbeek (Bel)||-3laps|
|35||Janice Geyskens (Bel)|
|36||Maaike Lanssens (Bel)|
|1||Daphny van den Brand (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.nl||55||pts|
|2||Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||55|
|3||Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit||50|
|4||Sanne Cant (Bel) BOXX Veldritacademie||50|
|5||Sophie de Boer (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||45|
|6||Gabriella Day (GBr) Renner Custom Cyclocross Team||42|
|7||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing||39|
|8||Sanne van Paassen (Ned) Brainwash||39|
|9||Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||30|
|10||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||26|
|11||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Brainwash||24|
|12||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren||22|
|13||Arenda Grimberg (Ned)||21|
|14||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) A C Bazancourt Reims||13|
|15||Amy Dombroski (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club||12|
|16||Nikoline Hansen (Den) Bov CC-Denmark||12|
|17||Lana Verberne (Ned) RTC Buitenlust||12|
|19||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze) Simunek Cycling Project||11|
|20||Annefleur Kalvenhaar (Ned) Giant Dealerteams||10|
|21||Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco||10|
|22||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Kriekel Cycling Team Tessenderlo||9|
|23||Evy Kuijpers (Ned)||9|
|24||Githa Michiels (Bel)||7|
|25||Katrien Thijs (Bel) K. Edegem Bicycle Club - BMX R||7|
|26||Monique Van De Ree (Ned)||6|
|27||Iris Ockeloen (Ned) RTC Groenewoud||6|
|28||Hilde Quintens (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace Cycling Team||5|
|29||Nicole De Bie-Leyten (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||5|
|30||Tessa Van Nieuwpoort (Ned)||5|
|31||Ilona Meter (Ned) RCP Stevens||3|
|32||Margriet Kloppenburg (Den)||3|
|33||Marijke De Pauw (Bel) WK Noord West Brabant||2|