Sanne van Paassen (Brainwash) picked up her first-ever cobblestone trophy by winning the Koppenbergcross on Tuesday afternoon. “I’m really happy that I could win here as it is a great race and a famous hill. I’m proud to be holding this cobble,” Van Paassen said. British women Helen Wyman (Kona) and Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) flanked the in-form Dutch ace on the podium. The race was the first round of the Gazet van Antwerpen Trophy, of which Van Paassen is the first leader.
On a dry course, Van Paassen powered away from last year’s winner, British champion Helen Wyman (Kona) near the top of the Koppenberg during the third of six laps. Van Paassen went on to win by 23 seconds ahead of Wyman and almost a minute ahead of Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea). “I think I’m a bit more explosive now and have some more accelerations than Helen [Wyman]. Last year I wasn’t that good yet,” Van Paassen said.
For her part, Wyman was disappointed that the course wasn’t quite as challenging as last year. “Last year it was a lot harder, now it was much faster. Sanne attacked me on a point where I couldn’t go any harder. She’s got a bit more speed at the minute,” Wyman said.
The decisive acceleration from Van Paassen near the midpoint came after Wyman had set the pace for most of the race. Thanks to those efforts, the duo distanced the rest of the field during the second lap, and a chasing group featuring Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink/Leontien.nl), Pavla Havlikova (Telenet-Fidea), Sophie de Boer (Telenet-Fidea), Gabriella Day (Renner Custom CX Team) and Harris followed at short distance.
While Wyman kept the pace high up front, De Boer and Havlikova dropped back in the chasing group. The latter crashed and struggled to get her chain back on the bike on the slopes of the Koppenberg. “I felt great today but I had no luck. The crash broke my rhythm and I lost a lot of positions there,” Havlikova told Cyclingnews.
After the brutal acceleration from Van Paassen, the British champion Wyman didn’t give in. During the fourth lap, she came back to eight seconds from the Dutch ace but then cracked and lost more ground. Behind the leading duo, Harris and Van den Brand excelled as best of the rest.
Harris got the better of Van den Brand when the road went uphill, but downhill the Dutch veteran was able to keep Harris under control. On the final lap, however, Van den Brand fell just short of challenging Harris for a sprint and had to settle for fourth place. Sanne Cant (BKCP-Powerplus) won the sprint for fifth place ahead of Sabrina Stultiens (Brainwash) and Havlikova.
Stultiens seemed disappointed when recovering after the finish line. “I should have won that sprint,” she sighed. “I was on Cant’s wheel before the last corner but Havlikova sneaked ahead of me.” A content Gabriella Day rolled across the line in eighth place. “I’m pretty happy with my performance. Uphill I gained time back on the others but downhill my bike wobbled,” Day told Cyclingnews.
More than a minute later Amy Dombroski (Crankbrothers Race Club) finished ninth ahead of Arenda Grimberg. “I’ve been racing since September and I’m running out of gas. I’m not psyched with how I rode and I’m ready for some time off,” Dombroski said. The American rider now enjoys a free race weekend while the European women head to Lucca for the European championships.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sanne van Paassen (Ned) BrainWash||0:42:33|
|2||Helen Wyman (GBr) KONA/FSA Factory Team||0:00:23|
|3||Nikki Harris (GBr)||0:00:58|
|4||Daphny van den Brand (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil||0:01:05|
|5||Sanne Cant (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||0:01:09|
|6||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned)|
|7||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet Fidea|
|8||Gabriella Day (GBr) Renner Custom cyclo cross team||0:01:35|
|9||Amy Dombroski (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club||0:02:52|
|10||Arenda Grimberg (Ned)||0:03:10|
|11||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||0:03:19|
|12||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)||0:03:22|
|13||Nikoline Hansen (Den)||0:03:24|
|14||Sophie De Boer (Ned)||0:03:29|
|15||Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned)||0:04:07|
|16||Hilde Quintens (Bel)||0:04:32|
|17||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze)||0:04:56|
|18||Ilona Meter (Ned)||0:05:16|
|19||Nicole De Bie - Leyten (Bel)||0:05:28|
|20||Katrien Thijs (Bel)||0:05:48|
|21||Christine Vardaros (USA)||0:05:56|
|22 (-1 lap)||Margriet Kloppenburg (Den)|
|23||Nancy Bober (Bel)|
|24||Kim Van de Steene (Bel)|
|25||Cynthia Huygens (Fra)|
|26||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned)|
|27 (-2 laps)||Anja Geldhof (Bel)|
|28 (-3 laps)||Caren Commissaris (Ned)|
|29||Katleen Fraeye (Bel)|
|30 (-4 laps)||Sandie Verriest (Bel)|
|31||Maaike Lanssens (Bel)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sanne van Paassen (Ned) BrainWash||25||pts|
|2||Helen Wyman (GBr) KONA/FSA Factory Team||22|
|3||Nikki Harris (GBr)||19|
|4||Daphny van den Brand (Ned) ZZPR.nl-Destil||17|
|5||Sanne Cant (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus||16|
|6||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned)||15|
|7||Pavla Havlikova (Cze)||14|
|8||Gabriella Day (GBr) Renner Custom cyclo cross team||13|
|9||Amy Dombroski (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club||12|
|10||Arenda Grimberg (Ned)||11|
|11||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||10|
|12||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)||9|
|13||Nikoline Hansen (Den)||8|
|14||Sophie De Boer (Ned)||7|
|15||Reza Hormes-Ravenstijn (Ned)||6|
|16||Hilde Quintens (Bel)||5|
|17||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze)||4|
|18||Ilona Meter (Ned)||3|
|19||Nicole De Bie - Leyten (Bel)||2|
|20||Katrien Thijs (Bel)||1|