Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) won the cyclo-cross in Diegem, Belgium, on Friday afternoon. The world champion had a huge gap of nearly two minutes over runner-up Lucie Chainel-Lefevre and Sanne Cant (Boxx-Veldritacademie). It was the fourth win out of four races this week for Vos.
"If cyclo-cross can be easy at all, then this was more or less easy. I've been going extremely well this week. Out of all four races, Surhuisterveen was the toughest race of all. Clearly this is top form," Vos said.
Right from the start, it was clear that Vos wasn't beatable on a rainy Friday afternoon in the outskirts of Brussels. On the steepest climb of the Diegem course, Vos remained on the bike while the rest of the peloton dabbed here and there. For Belgian champion Cant, one point of the course was crucial.
"I don't know how she did it, but she rode on while I hopped off the bike half way up the climb," said Cant admiringly. "I trailed her by a few seconds, but she rode too fast." In the sandy section, Vos also demonstrated her technical skills as she was one of the few racers to completely ride through that section.
What remained for Vos was completing the five laps and picking up the trophy and flowers. "It's true, once I had a gap I wondered how much longer the race would last. Anyway, I just won a nice race and rode around nicely. It's a good preparation for the upcoming races," Vos said.
Well after Vos, three racers distanced the rest of the peloton. Chainel, Cant and early on also Helen Wyman (Kona) battled for the podium spots. Halfway through the race, the British champion faded and she eventually abandoned. "I've been ill this week. It made no sense to ride for fifth place while there's such an important race on Monday," Wyman said. The British champion referred to the World Cup round in Zolder, Belgium.
In the end, it was Chainel-Lefevre who managed to hold off Cant for second place. The latter found out Chainel too rode up the steep climb. "She probably rode Rhino tires. I struggled to get back into my pedals due to all the small rocks here," Cant said.
Behind the top-three, the two Telenet-Fidea riders fought it out with Gabriela Day (Renner Custom - Raleigh) for fourth place. Somehow Day managed to pop out winning. "This is great," Day told Cyclingnews. "The duo was riding tactically but in the finale, I managed to get in first position. I didn't get into my pedals right away but I didn't look back and sprinted as fast as I could," Day said. Behind her Harris settled for sixth while De Boer struggled with her sprint.
Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob's Red Mill) rode a strong race in Diegem. In absence of Katie Compton (Planetbike), she finished as top American rider in Diegem at more than four minutes down from the winner. "Today there was a lot of climbing and mud. It's harder, and that's what I like," Bruno Roy said. Compatriot Christine Vardaros (Baboco) finished 15th at almost six minutes behind Vos.
The main absentees in Diegem were European champion Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink - Leontien.nl) and Sanne van Paassen (Brainwash). They will head into the World Cup round in Zolder on Monday with fresher legs.
|1||Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit||0:42:20|
|2||Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra)||0:01:44|
|3||Sanne Cant (Bel) BOXX Veldritacademie||0:02:01|
|4||Gabriella Day (GBr) Renner Custom Cyclocross Team||0:02:09|
|5||Sophie de Boer (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:11|
|6||Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:15|
|7||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Brainwash||0:03:01|
|8||Hilde Quintens (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace Cycling Team||0:04:06|
|9||Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob's Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles||0:04:13|
|10||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren||0:04:53|
|11||Lana Verberne (Ned)||0:04:58|
|12||Nikoline Hansen (Den) Bov CC-Denmark||0:05:02|
|13||Tessa Van Nieuwpoort (Ned)||0:05:10|
|14||Githa Michiels (Bel)||0:05:21|
|15||Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco||0:05:44|
|16||Cynthia Huygens (Fra) CC Cambresien||0:05:49|
|17||Nancy Bober (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team||0:05:52|
|18||Katrien Thijs (Bel) K. Edegem Bicycle Club - BMX R||0:06:25|
|19||Kim Van De Steene (Bel)||0:06:28|
|20||Margriet Kloppenburg (Den)||0:07:03|
|21||Sarah Stewart (Can)||0:07:28|
|22||Suzie Godart (Lux)||-1lap|
|23||Hannah Payton (GBr)|
|25||Madara Furmane (Lat)|
|27||Béatrice Godart (Lux)||-3laps|