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The women take to the 'cross course this morning in cold St. Wendel! Who will finish on top of the podium?
Good morning and welcome to the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships! We look forward to an exciting day of action on this cold and difficult course.
The ladies are the first to tackle this 2.8km course today. How many times will they go around it? We won't know that until after the first lap. Only then will that decision be made.
It is sunny today, but cold! There is lots of ice and mud on the course.
-2° C, 67% humidity, sunny and the course is officially "frozen"!
And they're off!
Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany jumps into the early lead.
Lots of blue-and-orange Dutch riders near the front.
What do they have to look forward to today? Frozen mud! How lovely, right? “Slip sliding away....” In fact there is one climb that was so slick yesterday that virtually every junior rider went down.
The first crashes, including Vos. She jumps right back up. Kupfernagel was able to build up her lead.
The field is already quite spread out, and Kupfernagel has a big lead. How will she play this? Keep going and risk using up too much strength, or wait?
Either she waited or they caught her. She still leads though, as the first riders run up the stairs.
Katie Compton of the US has sadly fallen pretty far back. We will try to find out where she is.
Kupfernagel still leads, but Vos is right behind her.
The Worlds were held here in 2005, on the same course. And who won? Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany, ahead of fellow German Sabine Spitz, with Dutch rider Mirjam Melchers third. Both of the two German women are here again today.
Sanne Van Paassen attacks and all go with her. The first lap was just over 7 minutes. The good news is that Compton is now with the eight-women lead group.
The lead group has about a 20 second lead and looks to be building it up.
Now Kupfrnagel goes down on that climb. As do many others.....
The Marianne Vos fan club is here, with a big sign cheering on the young Dutch woman.
The crashes in the lead group have cut the gap.
The favourite to take the title today has to be Katie Compton of the USA, who won all five of the World Cup races she entered this season and claimed her seventh straight US national championship. Still, we wouldn't count out the two Germans or, of course, Marianne Vos of the Netherlands, who has won the title the last two years.
Compton is especially favoured this year as she has finally found the answer to the physical problems that have plagued her the last few years. She talked to Cyclingnews about it.
Kupfernagel again in the lead, with Katherina Nash on her rear wheel. The lead group is getting stretched out. Sabine Spitz of Gemany is moving up to the lead group, or at least trying to.
Now Compton has jumped into the lead and takes a small gap onher way up the stairs.
Kupfernagel has dropped back. We have Compton, Vos and a third rider together, then two more further back, including Kupfernagel.
They cross the finish line for the second lap this way: Compton, Vos, Nash and Van Paassen together, Kupfernagel three seconds back.
There there is a big gap.
Vos crashed again on the little climb. Van Paassen decided to walk up.
How is the course made up? 85 percent of it is natural terrain. There are lots of ups and downs – 40 percent ascents and 25 percent descents. 15 percent is flat, and there are two obstacles and of course some steps.
Compton still leads the small group, with Kupfernagel dangling off the back.
Compton and Nash go up the stairs alone. Vos grabbed a new back and now climbs up with Van Paassen.
Compton pulls away!
The five leaders are still all in sight of one another. But it looks like our winner will come out of this group.
Kupfernagel (whose name translates as copper nail) is not only the most successful German 'crosser, but also the most successful woman 'crosser in the Worlds. She can boast of four gold medals (2000, 2001, 2005, and 2008), five silvers (including 2009 and 2010) and one bronze.
Compton and Nash have a lead over Vos, with Van Paassen and Kupfernagel both further back.
The starting list gives us 46 women from 20 countries. Team sizes range from one to seven. Those sending only one rider are Japan, Poland, Canada, Luxembourg, Austria, New Zealand, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.
Vos has caught Compton and Nash and they cross the finish line together. Van Paassen is 14 seconds back, and Kupfernagel at 16 seconds.
The climb again -- no falls this time. Kupfernagel passes Van Paassen, who then falls on the climb.
Kupfernagel admitted that “it gets harder from year to year to go for a medal. The competition is getting stronger and stronger. There’s new, young riders breaking through. It’s what makes it exciting and challenging.”
Vos took off her gloves and threw them into the pit box.
Kupfenagel pulls away from Van Paassen who hasn't looked so strong since crashing. The gap up to the leaders has increased, though.
Compton leads the trio over the finsh line. Two more laps to go!
Kupfernagel at 21 seconds. Van Paassen nowhere in sight.
Who do the Cyclingnews staff pick to win today? Peter Hymas goes for his fellow American, “I hope Katie Compton wins her world title. to get that monkey off her back.”
CN managing editor Dan Benson, Barry Ryan and MTB editor Sue George pick Compton, too.
Vos takes over the lead work and walks up the small climb. Nash crashes. Oops, behind them, Kupfernagel goes down, too.
one and a half laps to go -- how will these three react? Vos has the clear advantage if it comes to a sprint.
Is there a financial reward for the winners? Yes. The winner of the women's race gets 1,833 Euros, the runner-up 1,100 Euros and the third-placed rider gets 733 Euros. Which, we feel obliged to point out in our best women's lib manner, is rather disgustingly exactly one-half of what the male elite winners receive.
Nash takes over the lead work. Which of the three will be the first to go?
The leaders are on the track coming to the finish line again.
Nash lead the trio over the line to start the bell lap.
Kupfernagel has moved up slightly and is now at 19 seconds.
The three go over the barrier and head to the little dangerous climb. They all walk up and Compton slips slightly and has to put her hand down.
Vos attacks! She quickly pulls away.
Kupfernagel is now within sight of the three leaders. Vos has about 10 seconds on Compton and Nash, who don't seem able to follow.
Vos goes by the pit box. Up the stairs. She has about 100 metres on her chasers. 1.5 km to go.....
Only a crash or defect can stop Vos now.
She has an enormous gap.
Compton pulls away from Nash. There is still a sizeable gap back to Kupfernagel.
Vos continues to pull away, choosing the safest and fastest line in the s-curves.
Vos could easily have won a sprint of the three but obviously thought, why let it come down to that?
She is now in the stadiulm and headng to her next world title.
Vos raises her arms in joy as she crosses the line to become World Champion!
Compton once again takes second at 17 seconds, with Nash third at 20 seconds. Kupfernagel was fourth at 42 seconds.
What a race! The decision fell early, as a small lead group formed. Compton rode it down to a threesome, which dominated things. But did she do too much lead work early on? She was unable to match Vos' burst when she escaped. On the other hand, Vos is known as an explosive young talent.
Four minutes have gone by, and riders are still trickling over the line.
Congratulations to Vos, Compton and Nash!
Join us again this afternoon as the men take to this course.