On the muddy slopes of Grenier castle in Gavere, Belgium it was British rider Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) who grabbed a fine win in the Hansgrohe Superprestige cyclo-cross event. A mud-clad Sanne van Paassen (Rabobank-Giant Offroad Team) and Sanne Cant (Veldritacademie Enertherm-BKCP) came in second and third, holding off Sophie de Boer (Telenet-Fidea) for the podium in Asper-Gavere.
“It was very motivating knowing there was a chance to win. It’s nice to win by a bit of a margin. I enjoy riding here. The course has a bit of everything in it,” a mud-covered Harris said after her win in Gavere. “There are a lot of different winners these days. Maybe that will change once Marianne Vos returns to competition next weekend. I need to get as much wins as I can before she returns,” Harris continued, referring to last year’s endless winning streak of Vos. The latter is expected to return to cyclo-cross competition in Gieten, next Sunday.
Rain showers during the night and the morning of the race turned the park around the Grenier castle into an extremely muddy course for the women. Harris didn’t mind, finding a course that suited her technical abilities to the maximum. At first Van Paassen and Cant were riding in the lead group with Harris but during the second lap she gapped her rivals. Van Paassen was gapped on the extremely technical descent.
“I was quite surprised I was getting a gap on Sanne,” Harris said. “This is no course for me,” Van Paassen told Cyclingnews. “I could not come back on Harris. I wasn’t able to develop my power on the course.”
With one lap to go Harris had a comfortable lead of more than half a minute on the three chasers: Van Paassen, Cant and De Boer.
“Once we were riding with the three of us behind Harris I realized we were not going to catch her back,” Van Paassen said. Meanwhile Harris was about to complete a long solo effort in Gavere. She didn’t mind riding alone. “Being alone in front it’s easier to ride if you have a clear line ahead of you,” Harris said.
In the battle for second place, it was De Boer who fell back first despite looking good on the climb back up to the castle at the end of the penultimate lap. “Maybe I overdid it there,” De Boer admitted to Cyclingnews. “I felt good but I didn’t have energy left for the last lap. I’m already satisfied to be in the mix for the podium. Actually, it was super here. This is one of the nicest courses of the season and I already look forward to next year.”
Van Paassen and Cant seemed destined for a sprint to decide who would finish runner-up behind Harris. Eventually Van Paassen managed to get a small gap on Cant just before the final stretches of the course.
“Cant is pretty fast so I figured I need to get away before the sprint,” Van Paassen said. Third place wasn’t a disappointment for the Belgian champion. “Two weeks ago I was ill and this week I trained a lot so it’s not a surprise to see I wasn’t great,” Cant said, clearly focusing on the Belgian round of the World Cup in Koksijde, next Saturday.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Nikki Harris (GBr) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:10:29|
|2||Sanne van Paassen (Ned) Rabobank Women Team||0:00:18|
|3||Sanne Cant (Bel) Veldritacademie Enertherm - BKCP||0:00:27|
|4||Sophie de Boer (Ned) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:00:45|
|5||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Melbotech Prorace CT||0:01:44|
|6||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned)||0:01:51|
|7||Amy Dombroski (USA)||0:02:07|
|8||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:16|
|9||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||0:02:50|
|10||Githa Michiels (Bel)||0:03:36|
|11||Margriet Kloppenburg (Den) BMC Concept Store||0:04:08|
|12||Nancy Bober (Bel) Style & Concept||0:04:35|
|13||Kim Van de Steene (Bel) Kon. VC T Meetjesland-Knesselare|
|14||Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco||0:05:17|
|15||Evy Kuijpers (Ned)||0:05:30|
|16||Hilde Quintens (Bel) Melbotech Prorace CT||0:05:50|
|17||Lindy van Anrooij (Ned)||0:06:10|
|18||Ilona Meter (Ned)||0:06:20|
|19||Kristien Nelen (Bel) Houffalize Granville Team||0:06:21|
|20||Jolien Verschueren (Bel)||0:06:28|
|21||Femke Van den Driessche (Bel)||0:07:00|
|22||Suzie Godart (Lux) CCI Differdange||0:07:18|
|23||Lekuona Lierni (Spa)||0:07:44|
|24||Marjolein Wijkel (Ned)||0:08:04|
|25||Anja Geldhof (Bel)||0:08:20|
|26||Valerie Boonen (Bel) De Kastelse Durvers VZW||0:09:07|
|27 (-1 lap)||Maaike Lanssens (Bel)|