World champion Thalita de Jong (Rabo-Liv) won her first race in the Superprestige Ladies Trophy in Francorchamps, Belgium on Saturday. De Jong prevailed on a frozen course around the F1 car racing track ahead of Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-Beobank) and Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans).
The course was faster than last year due to the cold and the dry conditions. De Jong rode away from her rivals in the second of five laps but then crashed hard in the following lap on a steep slippery descent, allowing Cant and Majerus to get back in front.
During the penultimate lap De Jong rode away again and this time she kept the chasing duo at distance.
"It's a great sensation to win here. Two races after a break from racing was hard. I took it easy this week but decided to race here to get the racing rhythm back," De Jong told Telenet Play Sports. "I crashed really hard. I needed time to gasp for air. I tried to focus again and avoid making mistakes. Then I got back with Sanne and Christine. I rode my own race and managed to ride away. I kept my composure and won the race."
Sanne Cant remains leader in the Superprestige Ladies Trophy with 73 points, extending her lead to 16 points over Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea) who finished fourth. Third and fourth-placed Laura Verdonschot (Kalas-NNOF) and Sophie de Boer (Kalas-NNOF) skipped the race in Wallonia. Maud Kaptheijns (Steylaerts) was absent due to illness. This week Alicia Franck (Marlux-Napoleon Games) was hit by a car when riding her scooter and also missed the race.
Early on Majerus was setting the pace on the undulating course up and around the famous F1 car racing circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. After a few minutes of racing it was clear Majerus, Cant, De Jong and Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea) were the strongest riders. Further back Alice Maria Arzuffi (Selle Italia-Guerciotti) crashed hard on the same steep descent where De Jong would struggle too two laps later.
Climber Jolien Verschueren (Young Telenet-Fidea) was never a factor on the slippery course. Majerus and De Jong traded blows until the third lap, where De Jong had gained 16 seconds on Majerus and Cant. But soon De Jong's front wheel slipped away on the steep icy descent, and she needed time to recover. By the time she got back up Majerus and Cant were the new leaders.
"I didn't make it easy for myself. During the reconnaissance ride I made a lot of mistakes and the same happened in the race. Still, I knew I was the strongest rider in the race. I easily got back to Christine on the climb," De Jong said.
De Jong got back on her bike but was still shaky. Van Loy passed her too and it seemed she would no longer be a factor. A few moments later she got going again. At the incredibly steep run-up De Jong bridged back up with Majerus and Cant, and soon was gone again.
Behind the world champion, Cant won the battle for second place over Majerus.
"I'm not surprised with second place. I'm feeling good," Cant said. "It was a fast course which doesn't suit me too much. I certainly wasn't the worst on the climb. I lost time on the run-up but I'm pleased with what I did today. On the run-up you had to keep searching for grip."
Majerus ran into some problems in the final lap but was satisfied to land on the podium. "I tried to aim higher but was unlucky with a crash and a flat tyre in the final lap. It was slippery. It was a nice race. The harder courses suit me well, just like Gavere. I hope to do well in Namur," Majerus said.
The next round of the Superprestige Ladies Trophy is held in Diegem, Belgium on 23rd December.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Thalita De Jong (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||0:45:42|
|2||Sanne Cant (Bel) IKO Enertherm-Beobank||0:00:13|
|3||Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||0:00:25|
|4||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:56|
|5||Elle Anderson (USA) Elle Anderson Racing||0:01:34|
|6||Geerte Hoeke (Ned)||0:02:36|
|7||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)||0:02:47|
|8||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Lensworld-Zannata||0:02:48|
|9||Githa Michiels (Bel)||0:03:16|
|10||Loes Sels (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:03:27|
|11||Bianca van den Hoek (Ned)||0:03:41|
|12||Asa Erlandsson (Swe)||0:03:44|
|13||Eva Maria Palm (Bel)||0:03:47|
|14||Julia Boschker (Ned)||0:04:15|
|15||Pauline Delhaye (Fra)||0:04:35|
|16||Jolien Verschueren (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions|
|17||Irene Gerritsen (Ned)||0:05:56|
|18||Julie Van de Velde (Bel)||0:07:03|
|19||Axelle Bellaert (Bel)||0:08:34|
|20||Madeleine Gammons (GBr)|
|21||Marlies Beckers (Bel)|