European U23 champion Sabrina Stultiens (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) won the Soudal Cyclocross Leuven on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The 21-year-old Dutch rider grabbed her second win of the season on an entertaining course, ahead of a large stack of Young Telenet-Fidea riders. On the podium Stultiens was flanked by Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea) and Jolien Verschueren (Young Telenet-Fidea). The starting field in Leuven was below par with a late cancellation of Sanne Cant, no Marianne Vos, Katerina Nash and Katie Compton on show.
Young Stultiens was present at the front of the race straight from the start, together with Van Loy. The duo preceded British rider Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) and Loes Sels (Young Telenet-Fidea). Jolien Verschueren (Young Telenet-Fidea) and Elle Anderson (Kalas-NNOF) tangled into each other and ended up at the back end of the field.
A first acceleration from Van Loy on the long muddy climb briefly resulted in dropping Stultiens back into the group with Harris and Sels at a handful of seconds of the leader. In the background Verschueren was quickly moving back up through the field.
In the second lap Stultiens worked her way back to Van Loy while Harris started fading. Behind the top-4 Verschueren and Anderson were still more or less together in fifth and sixth place.
Sels was trailing the leaders by 22 seconds. Little later Harris abandoned the race.
Halfway the race things turned around as Stultiens accelerated, leaving Van Loy without an answer. Also Verschueren and Sels swapped positions for third and fourth place. Anderson remained in fifth.
Just before hitting the final lap Van Loy was coming slightly closer to Stultiens but then a bike change threw her backwards again, trailing the leader by 10 seconds. A mud-clad Verschueren was riding more or less comfortably in third place ahead of Sels. Anderson was put under pressure by 18 year-old Femke Van den Driessche for fifth place. Those positions remained the same until the finish line.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Brainwash Wielerploeg||0:49:04|
|2||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:31|
|3||Jolien Verschueren (Bel) Wielerteam Decock-Woningbouw Vandekerckhove||0:00:59|
|4||Loes Sels (Bel) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:30|
|5||Elle Anderson (USA) Kalas-NNOF Cycling Team||0:02:19|
|6||Femke Van Den Driessche (Bel)||0:02:34|
|7||Laura Verdonschot (Bel) AA Drink-B.R.I.S. Cycling Team||0:05:16|
|8||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) Kleur Op Maat cyclingteam||0:05:31|
|9||Katrien Thijs (Bel) Kleur Op Maat cyclingteam||0:05:55|
|10||Lizzy Witlox (Ned)||0:06:00|
|11||Cindy Bauwens (Bel)||0:06:54|
|12||Pauline Delhaye (Fra)||0:07:20|
|13||Lindy Van Anrooij (Ned)||0:07:24|
|14||Christine Vardaros (USA)||0:08:29|
|15||Gertie Willems (Bel) Kleur Op Maat cyclingteam|
|16||Suzie Godart (Lux)|
|17||Joyce Heyns (Bel) De Kastelse Durvers V.Z.W.|
|18||Anja Geldhof (Bel)|
|19||Meg De Bruyne (Bel) VD Hauwe CT - Gentse VS|
|20||Béatrice Godart (Lux)|
|21||Tine Verdeyen (Bel) Cycling Team Zemst VZW|
|22||Brenda Kaczmarczyk (Bel) Heylen Meubelcentrale Zlwc St.Truiden|
|23||Cindy Diericx (Bel) Coolens Cycling Team|