Sanne van Paassen (Brainwash) won the cyclo-cross classic at the Grenier castle in Gavere, Belgium, holding off compatriot Sophie de Boer (Telenet-Fidea) and Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) in the sprint.
“This is a nice win but it can’t be compared with the Koppenbergcross. Over here the women are not treated as well as in other races. Anyway, I just returned from a training camp in Spain and I didn’t feel too strong. The course was different than other years. With more mud it’s more fun. In the sprint I knew I had to be the first out of the corner,” Van Paassen said.
De Boer featured in the front group right from the start together with teammate Pavla Havlikova (Telenet-Fidea). The Dutch duo sneaked away after a crash from Helen Wyman (Kona) but they realized Van Paassen would soon join them. “Probably they crashed behind me in the first lap. I knew that Sanne would come back though,” De Boer said. Van Paassen joined the Telenet-Fidea duo and the trio distanced the rest of the peloton.
One more crash in the first lap ruined affairs for several women. “There was congestion due to the two crashes and the three were gone,” Sabrina Stultiens (Brainwash) said.
The latter managed to bridge back up to the three leaders together with Harris but for Wyman and American rider Amy Dombroski (Crankbrothers Race Club) the blocked route put an end to their race.
“The course was so fast that I couldn’t come back,” Wyman said.
“I was held up in both crashes together with Sanne Cant and never caught back on. I tried to work together with Sanne but I probably just held her up,” Dombroski said.
In front Van Paassen kept the pace high and on the long climb towards the Grenier castle she dominated the group. Stultiens and Havlikova were soon to be dropped again. “I bridged back up with the leaders but when you’re in the last spot of the group you’re the first to be dropped too. I ended up chasing with Pavla [Havlikova],” Stultiens said.
In front Van Paassen tested the climbing skills of her Telenet-Fidea companions and Harris was dropped. The Dutch leaders didn’t wait for the British rider to come back though she managed to rejoin the lead group in the sections after the climb. “They had compact [cranksets] - a 34 [inner chainring] – and were faster on the climb. I didn’t have that top-end today. I was just hanging on,” Harris said.
Van Paassen tested her legs one more time on the climb but De Boer didn’t crack. “She always tried to shake me off on the climb but I managed to stay with her. I held confidence that it would come down to a sprint,” De Boer said.
In the last lap a mistake from Van Paassen ruined the fun for the Dutch women. “In a slippery corner I pulled myself underneath,” Van Paassen said. For De Boer the crash ended up ruining her sprint as her derailleur was slightly damaged. “It’s really annoying. Sanne took me down with her and because of the crash I wasn’t able to get my chain on the big ring right away,” De Boer said.
After the climb Harris bridged back up with the leaders just before turning into the finishing straight line but she didn’t have anything left to mix in with the sprint. Van Paassen hit the last corner in front and never looked back. De Boer eventually got her chain on the big ring but only got back to half a wheel of winner Van Paassen; Harris settled for third place.
Stultiens distanced Havlikova for fourth place and British champion Wyman ended a long solo race in sixth place within a minute of the winner. “I just returned from Monaco and felt tired,” Wyman said. Belgian champion Cant was well ahead of Dombroski in seventh place.
|1||Sanne van Paassen (Ned) Brainwash||0:40:17|
|2||Sophie de Boer (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team|
|3||Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:04|
|4||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Brainwash||0:00:17|
|5||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:28|
|6||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing||0:00:34|
|7||Sanne Cant (Bel) BOXX Veldritacademie||0:00:48|
|8||Amy Dombroski (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club||0:01:17|
|9||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) Cycling Team Vermeeren||0:01:44|
|10||Nikoline Hansen (Den) Bov CC-Denmark||0:02:13|
|11||Gabriella Day (GBr) Renner Custom Cyclocross Team||0:02:35|
|12||Hilde Quintens (Bel) Van Goethem - Prorace Cycling Team||0:02:45|
|13||Tessa Van Nieuwpoort (Ned)||0:03:07|
|14||Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco||0:03:31|
|15||Lana Verberne (Ned)||0:03:55|
|16||Ilona Meter (Ned)||0:04:20|
|17||Nicole De Bie-Leyten (Bel) Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:04:42|
|18||Margriet Kloppenburg (Den)||0:04:53|
|19||Kim Van de Steene (Bel)|
|20||Katrien Thijs (Bel) K. Edegem Bicycle Club - BMX R|
|21||Vicki Thomas (Can) Ottawa.cx||0:06:28|
|22||Madara Furmane (Lat)||0:08:37|
|23||Anja Geldhof (Bel)|
|24||Lelde Ardava (Lat)|
|25||Maaike Lanssens (Bel)|
|26||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Kriekel Cycling Team Tessenderlo|