After a difficult season, Sanne Cant (Belgium) captured a third consecutive world title at the Bogense 2019 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. Cant outsmarted an unorganized Dutch squadron on a fast, technical course and finished solo at the Bogense marina. A tearful Lucinda Brand (Netherlands), who finished second, and seven-time world champion Marianne Vos (Netherlands), who finished third, flanked Cant on the podium in Denmark.
"The first one was unexpected," Cant said in a post-race flash interview. "This one, I really can't believe it. Last year, I was so happy. This is just amazing. I'm a Belgian rider in front of three Dutch riders. The [Dutch, BD] press didn't make it easy for me but I answered with my legs.
"They were constantly talking about a Dutch block and I couldn't stand that," Cant reiterated in an interview with Sporza.
Coming into the world championships race, the Dutch selection featured no less than four riders with rainbow stripes aspirations, with Vos, Brand, Denise Betsema and European champion Anne-Marie Worst. The opening laps were dominated by Betsema and Worst but after completing two of the seven 2.6km long laps, they were joined by Vos, Cant but also MTB European champion and UCI World Cup winner Jolanda Neff (Switzerland).
Brand was yoyo-ing on and off the back of this group as she struggled to find grip on the technical, frozen course which was treated with rain half an hour before the start of the race. Also Nikki Brammeier (Great Britain) and Kaitlin Keough (USA) joined the front of the race when the pace dropped halfway the third lap.
With seven riders battling for the world title, a tactical plan seemed crucial to grab the rainbow jersey. That's where the Netherlands faltered. Every time a Dutch rider accelerated, Cant was marking the wheels while other Dutch riders had to dig deep to close the gaps. Neff slipped away in the fourth lap, as did Brammeier, and Keough was distanced at this point of the race. Brammeier encountered a mechanical on the finishing straight and lost even more valuable time.
Bike changes proved to be important throughout the race. Cant had a fluent bike switch in the fifth lap. Behind her, Vos and Worst had more trouble to pick up their bikes. Meanwhile, Brand upped the pace in front which made it hard for Vos and Worst to bridge back up.
One lap later, at the beginning of the penultimate lap, Brand's bike change went wrong when her bike was pulled away a moment too early, causing her to fall.
By then, Cant was in front with only Betsema and a tired Worst around her, while Vos and Brand were slightly distanced. She hit the technical section in the lead and Betsema was unable to hold her wheel.
"That was the only moment in the race that I felt like I lost control. It wasn't part of my plan to attack that early. It was difficult to decide if I could wait or just try to stay ahead. It was the right tactic. I'm really, really happy," Cant said.
The Belgian champion went full gas until the finish line. Behind her, Vos and Brand were the strongest riders but they failed to co-operate. Brand blew Vos off her wheel on the road towards the start of the final lap. The positions remained the same until the end of the race.
Cant held off Brand with a smooth passage at the technical parts of the course and captured a third world title. "It was a really fast race and there was a lot of wind so it's normal the gaps weren't too big. It was a real tactical race because I was there with three or four Dutch riders so I had to be smart," Cant said.
Betsema finished a strong fourth in her maiden World Championships race, finishing ahead of Worst. MTB-star Neff was sixth at 1:16, ahead of Keough, Brammeier, Sophie de Boer (Netherlands) and Ellen Van Loy (Belgium).
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sanne Cant (Belgium)||0:47:53|
|2||Lucinda Brand (Netherlands)||0:00:09|
|3||Marianne Vos (Netherlands)||0:00:15|
|4||Denise Betsema (Netherlands)||0:00:25|
|5||Annemarie Worst (Netherlands)||0:00:34|
|6||Jolanda Neff (Switzerland)||0:01:16|
|7||Kaitlin Keough (United States of America)||0:01:21|
|8||Nikki Brammeier (Great Britain)||0:01:37|
|9||Sophie De Boer (Netherlands)||0:01:59|
|10||Ellen Van Loy (Belgium)||0:02:05|
|11||Laura Verdonschot (Belgium)|
|12||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Italy)||0:02:08|
|13||Christine Majerus (Luxembourg)|
|14||Loes Sels (Belgium)||0:02:27|
|15||Helen Wyman (Great Britain)||0:02:29|
|16||Rebecca Fahringer (United States of America)||0:02:41|
|17||Eva Lechner (Italy)||0:02:48|
|18||Elisabeth Brandau (Germany)||0:02:52|
|19||Marlène Petit (France)||0:03:01|
|20||Katerina Nash (Czech Republic)||0:03:13|
|21||Ellen Noble (United States of America)||0:03:21|
|22||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spain)||0:03:27|
|23||Maghalie Rochette (Canada)||0:03:33|
|24||Nadja Heigl (Austria)||0:03:48|
|25||Maud Kaptheijns (Netherlands)||0:03:52|
|26||Bethany Crumpton (Great Britain)|
|27||Aida Nuño Palacio (Spain)||0:04:28|
|28||Ida Erngren (Sweden)||0:04:34|
|29||Karla Štěpánová (Czech Republic)||0:04:50|
|30||Samantha Runnels (United States of America)||0:04:59|
|31||Zina Barhoumi (Switzerland)||0:05:15|
|32||Caroline Mani (France)||0:05:34|
|33||Pavla Havlíková (Czech Republic)||0:05:39|
|34||Katherine Compton (United States of America)||0:05:57|
|35||Viktoria Smidth Knudsen (Denmark)|
|36||Zuzanna Krzystala (Poland)||0:06:58|
|37||Sandra Trevilla Samperio (Spain)|
|38||Signe Koch (Denmark)|
|39||Miho Imai (Japan)|
|40||Karolina Cierluk (Poland)|