World champion Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) clearly was riding a level above the rest of the field during the second round of the women's Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy in Essen. Vos won by a minute over Dutch compatriot Sophie de Boer (Telenet-Fidea) and British riders Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) and Helen Wyman (Kona). The latter finished off the podium but fourth place was enough to put the British champion in the lead of the GVA-Trophy after two rounds, one point ahead of Harris; former leader Sanne van Paassen (Brainwash) skipped this race.
The convincing win from Vos was celebrated with a lot of cheers, smiles and a fist in the air. "It's a good confirmation that it is possible to do it this way," Vos referred to the training weeks she had in South Africa before heading back on Saturday morning. She might feel the effect of the travel on Sunday though and that's when the World Cup round in Namur will occur. "I don't think that'll happen. You don't have jetlag when you travel from South Africa. On Tuesday, I will do another race in Surhuisterveen," Vos said.
"There are road riders I know who probably don't envy me if they see this cold and mud if they watch the report while training in South Africa. When arriving here, I had my doubts, too, but once the race starts that's over; the cold doesn't last long," Vos said.
Each lap in the soaked muddy course in Essen took the women more than 10 minutes. Even though there were four laps to race, Vos didn't wait long before putting down the hammer. "There's no benefit in riding together here as you need to search for your own lines," Vos said. During the first half of the first lap, Vos was accompanied by De Boer and a surprisingly well riding Gabriella Day (Raleigh-BikePure). "I had a great start. I had momentum and moved into the lead. Then I slid out and had some crashes and dropped back," Day told Cyclingnews.
While Day dropped back, Vos moved forward. "After the first real muddy section, I picked up speed on the asphalt; it resulted in a first gap," Vos said. She quickly had 20 seconds on the first chasers and that gap only grew as the race continued. De Boer acknowledged that Vos was unbeatable in Essen. "First, I was in her company but then she just rode away. I realized that second place was possible for me as Day rode well, but she usually fades away. We've been asking for mud for so long and now we finally have it. It suits me," De Boer said.
Behind Vos the duo De Boer - Wyman battled for second place. Harris bridged up with the first chasers and halfway through the race, the three were trailing Vos by 46 seconds. European champion Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink - Leontien.nl) rode in fifth place at 1:05 behind Vos. "I've been ill and tried to save some energy here with the World Cup from tomorrow in mind. That's not easy on this course. We'll see," Van den Brand told Cyclingnews.
During the third of four laps, Wyman lost ground on the chase group. The result was that two Telenet-Fidea riders were chasing Vos and keeping Wyman at distance. "I had to make a lot of time up on the others, and in the end I was dying," Harris told Cyclingnews. In the last lap, De Boer powered away from Harris and towards second place.
De Boer celebrated her 21st birthday last week and she's given herself a nice present with the series of recent podium results. "Things are going great although my tibia still hurts from the crash in Overijse. It is still swollen and today I hit it with my pedal. Hopefully I'll be recovered for tomorrow," De Boer said. Harris was third and after the race she was reminded by author that she missed out on the overall lead in the GVA-Trophy if she would've swapped positions with her teammate De Boer. "I know, it's a shame," Harris said. "I'm going to try and win it."
Van den Brand remained fifth ahead of Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Boxx-Veldritacademie) and Day. US rider Maureen Bruno-Roy was 10th at more than five minutes and Christine Vardaros 13th at 7:15.
The starting field in Essen wasn't hugely impressive. There were no French riders and series leader Sanne van Paasen opted to skip the race, too. She tweeted that she's not in top fitness and is opting to get better before racing again. The runner-up in the World Cup will also skip tomorrow's race, the World Cup round in Namur, Belgium, on Sunday afternoon.
For British rider Gabriella Day, tomorrow's race in Namur also brings her back to the location of the horrendous crash she had last year. "Normally I wouldn't race there, but since it is a World Cup round, I have to be brave and do it," Day told Cyclingnews.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Marianne Vos (Ned)||0:42:17|
|2||Sophie De Boer (Ned) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:00|
|3||Nikki Harris (GBr) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:22|
|4||Helen Wyman (GBr) KONA/FSA Factory Team||0:02:00|
|5||Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned) AA Drink-Leontien.nl||0:02:33|
|6||Sanne Cant (Bel) BOXX Veldritacademie||0:02:45|
|7||Gabriella Day (GBr) Renner Custom cyclo cross team||0:03:06|
|8||Reza Hormes (Ned)||0:03:32|
|9||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren||0:05:24|
|10||Maureen Bruno-Roy (USA)||0:05:50|
|11||Annefleur Kalvenhaar (Ned) Giant Dealerteams||0:06:02|
|12||Evy Kuypers (Ned)||0:06:08|
|13||Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team||0:07:15|
|14||Githa Michiels (Bel)||0:07:49|
|15||Monique van de Ree (Ned)||0:08:14|
|16||Katrien Thijs (Bel) K. Edegem Bicycle Club - BMX R|
|17||Lana Verberne (Ned)||0:08:27|
|18||Margriet Kloppenburg (Den)||0:10:53|
|19||Marijke De Pauw (Bel)||0:11:25|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Helen Wyman (GBr) KONA/FSA Factory Team||39||pts|
|2||Nikki Harris (GBr) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||38|
|3||Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned) AA Drink-Leontien.nl||33|
|4||Sanne Cant (Bel) BOXX Veldritacademie||31|
|5||Sophie De Boer (Ned) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||29|
|6||Gabriella Day (GBr) Renner Custom cyclo cross team||27|
|7||Sanne Van Paassen (Ned) Brainwash||25|
|7||Marianne Vos (Ned)||25|
|9||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren||22|
|10||Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||19|
|11||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned)||15|
|12||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||14|
|13||Amy Dombroski (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club||12|
|14||Arenda Grimberg (Ned)||11|
|14||Maureen Bruno-Roy (USA)||11|
|16||Annefleur Kalvenhaar (Ned) Giant Dealerteams||10|
|17||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Kriekel Cycling Team Tessenderlo||9|
|17||Evy Kuypers (Ned)||9|
|19||Nikoline Hansen (Den)||8|
|19||Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco - Revor Cycling Team||8|
|21||Githa Michiels (Bel)||7|
|22||Katrien Thijs (Bel) K. Edegem Bicycle Club - BMX R||6|
|22||Monique van de Ree (Ned)||6|
|24||Hilde Quintens (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace - cycling team||5|
|25||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze)||4|
|25||Lana Verberne (Ned)||4|
|27||Ilona Meter (Ned)||3|
|27||Margriet Kloppenburg (Den)||3|
|29||Nicolle De Bie-Leyten (Bel)||2|
|29||Marijke De Pauw (Bel)||2|