Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team) grabbed her twelfth win of the season on Saturday at the eighth and final Superprestige round in Middelkerke, close to the Belgian North Sea coast. In extremely windy but dry conditions European champion Wyman finished solo ahead of Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) and Jolien Verschueren (DNCS-Towereye).
"No win's easy but it sure is nice to win at the end of the season," Wyman told Cyclingnews. "It was very windy. There was so much wind that when running through the sand my bike was dragging. It's a nice course but the wind made it much harder."
Wyman and Cant were the clear pre-race favourites amongst a starting field that had some high-profile absences. US champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) was expected to race in Middelkerke but concluded her season after Cyclo-cross Tokyo, last weekend. There's no overall classification for the women in the Superprestige series.
The Wyman-Cant duo quickly powered away from the rest of the pack with Wyman quickly learning that she could drop Cant as well. "I gapped her after the second pit but she managed to come back. Then I sat on her wheel. It wasn't up to me to set the pace. Then she slipped in some corners and I went harder," Wyman said.
By the end of the opening lap Cant trailed leader Wyman by only a handful of seconds. It turned out Cant was at her limit and the gap grew up to a dozen seconds during the second lap.
"I came to win but I'm running out of gas," said Cant. "The course isn't the smoothest and the wind just made it too hard. There was not a single section to recover. The tailwind bits were too short.
During the two remaining laps Wyman further increased her lead up to more than half a minute on Cant. Young local rider Jolien Verschueren was the best of the rest, surprisingly grabbing the final podium spot ahead of the Young Telenet-Fidea trio Pavla Havlikova, Loes Sels and Ellen Van Loy.
"I didn't expect it. After a not-so-good start I tried to move up," the 23-year-old Verschueren told Cyclingnews. Verschueren combines a full-time job as teacher with cyclo-cross. "It's sort of a hobby for me. I'm motivated to improve but not at all costs. Ever since Nommay I'm having good sensations on the bike. Sadly enough I wasn't selected for the world championships but I'm trying to respond with the pedals."
|1||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing||0:37:10|
|2||Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP||0:00:37|
|3||Jolien Verschueren (Bel) DNCS-Towereye||0:00:54|
|4||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:19|
|5||Loes Sels (Bel) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:56|
|6||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:01|
|7||Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe) Varbergs MTB-Cube||0:03:38|
|8||Margriet Helena Kloppenburg (Den) Team BMC Concept Store||0:04:05|
|9||Cindy Bauwens (Bel)||0:04:38|
|10||Shana Maes (Bel) Kriekel Cycling Team||0:06:11|
|11||Katrien Thijs (Bel) Kleur Op Maat Cycling Team||0:06:38|
|12||Stephanie De Croock (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Bioracer||0:06:58|
|13||Lindy Van Anrooij (Ned) ZRTC Theo Middelkamp||0:07:00|
|14||Christine Vardaros (USA) Team Stevens||0:08:38|
|15||Suzanne Verhoeven (Ned)||0:08:57|
|16||Ilse Vandekinderen (Bel) Trust MTB Team VZW||-1lap|
|17||Meg De Bruyne (Bel) Rijschool AH -Gentse VS|
|18||Aurelie Vermeir (Bel) KVC Meetjesland|
|19||Katleen Fraeye (Bel)|
|20||Jo Blanchaert (Bel) KVC Deinze|
|21||Jana Dobbelaere (Bel)||-2laps|
|22||Mieke Docx (Bel)|
|23||Cindy Diericx (Bel) Autoglass Wetteren Solar CT|