Sanne Cant won the Superprestige in Gavere on Sunday afternoon. It was the fourth Gavere win in a row for Cant and her hardest-fought one yet. She held off slow starter Jolien Verschueren (Young Telenet-Fidea), with Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) was third.
"I'm super happy I can win for the fourth time in a row," Cant told Sporza. "There's not too many who can say that. It was very hard. On technique you had to find your way to keep riding. It was extremely hard. You try not to think too much. I rode at my own pace and it turned out to be just enough. I've got a good bonus in the series."
After winning in Gieten and Zonhoven, Cant's Gavere victory strengthened her lead in the Ladies Trophy at 59 points. Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea) is second with 45 points.
The undulating course and mud at the Grenier castle in Gavere caused a major selection during the opening lap on a grey Sunday afternoon. Fast starter Majerus featured in front with Cant, Van Loy, Alice Maria Arzuffi (Selle Italia-Guerciotti) and Sophie de Boer (Kalas-NNOF). Verschueren entered the meadows in a distant 16th position.
Cant accelerated halfway through the race, and only Van Loy managed to stay in touch, with Majerus and a surging Verschueren following at six seconds. During the fourth of five laps Verschueren and Majerus bridged back up with the two leaders.
In the steep and slippery descent, Verschueren lost a lot of time but by the end of the lap she surged forward on the long climb. When she passed Cant and moved into the lead at the pit area, the crowd cheered her on as if it was Sven Nys in his best days.
The pace dropped a little later and the final lap got underway with three leaders: Cant, Verschueren and Majerus, Van Loy followed at six seconds. Belgian riders Cant and Verschueren exchanged accelerations but when entering the pit Verschueren crashed.
"It happened because I was stuck in my pedal," Verschueren said. There was still a lot of ground to cover and especially the long climb at the end of the lap suited Verschueren.
"The race was one lap too short, once again. I lost belief in the podium but the crowd was unbelievable and kept me going. Each lap on the climb I made up a lot of ground, except on the final lap. I always managed to ride the whole climb but not in the final lap," Verschueren said.
Cant got stuck in the mud a few times and Verschueren came back to a handful of seconds. It proved to be just too much to overcome for Verschueren. Cant nailed the win and her mud-clad face showed that she had to work hard for it.
Verschueren was a disappointed runner-up. "I hoped to be on the top spot. I wanted to get the win for the fans. It's great to be cheered on this way. My start? I have to keep working on it. I react late, and when I react well then I get boxed in. Maybe I shouldn't focus on it," Verschueren said.
Majerus was more content with her third place at nearly half a minute, after one of her best-ever cyclo-cross performances. "I'm very satisfied. I always liked this race and improved every year. It was a close race. I tried to follow Sanne and Jolien until the end but eventually had to settle for third," 29 year-old Majerus said. Van Loy was fourth, just ahead of a impressive 21-year-old Arzuffi. De Boer was fifth ahead of teammate Laura Verdonschot. Franck narrowly held off US-rider Elle Anderson at two minutes of winner Cant.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sanne Cant (Bel)||0:44:19|
|2||Jolien Verschueren (Bel)||0:00:06|
|3||Christine Majerus (Lux)||0:00:27|
|4||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)||0:00:48|
|5||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita)||0:00:54|
|6||Sophie Boer (Ned)||0:01:33|
|7||Laura Verdonschot (Bel)||0:01:46|
|8||Alicia Franck (Bel)||0:02:08|
|9||Elle Anderson (USA)||0:02:10|
|10||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||0:03:26|
|11||Fleur Nagengast (Ned)||0:03:49|
|12||Geerte Hoeke (Ned)||0:04:08|
|13||Kim Van De Steene (Bel)||0:04:12|
|14||Ceylin Carmen Alvarado (Ned)||0:05:01|
|15||Eva Maria Palm (Bel)||0:07:18|
|16||Axelle Bellaert (Bel)||0:07:25|
|17||Shana Maes (Bel)||0:08:40|
|18||Gertie Willems (Bel)|
|19||Birgit Massagé (Bel)|
|20||Monique Ree (Ned)|
|21||Aurelie Vermeir (Bel)|
|22||Jana Dobbelaere (Bel)|
|23||Jo Blanchaert (Bel)|