Marianne Vos rode to an emphatic victory in the elite women's race at the 2010 World Cyclo-cross Championships on Sunday in Tabor, Czech Republic. It was the Dutchwoman's second successive victory at the Worlds and the third world title of her short but already phenomenal career.
Five-time World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) had no answer for her younger rival, but showed her own class to seal the silver medal. Vos' compatriot Daphny Van den Brand ensured there was plenty of orange on the podium, with a third place finish.
"I'm really happy that it worked out once again. A third world championships title is fantastic," said Vos after her win.
Vos charged away from her competitors on the second lap of the race and wouldn't be seen again before the finish. Despite the apparent ease of her victory, Vos admitted afterwards that the overnight return of icy course conditions had made the race a tense affair. "Half the course my gap was increasing, so I thought if I made no mistakes I could win," she said. "But I had to concentrate the whole time, it was very hard in the icy conditions."
Comparing this year's race with her home win in Hoogerheide twelve months prior, Vos admitted that things had felt even better this time around. "There was a big difference with last year. Last year it wasn't that easy but the course was completely different. This one feels even better. I felt very much stronger today; stronger than in 2009."
Hanka Kupfernagel was a satisfied recipient of a World Championship silver medal, which in the context of her injury-affected 2009/2010 season could only be viewed as a success. "The last couple of weeks I've been getting better. Today it was difficult during the first laps," she said. "In the third lap I made some mistakes and lost contact with Marianne, but after the season I've had I'm happy with second place."
Third placed Daphny Van den Brand was initially disappointed not to have come away from the race with a better result, but was relieved to have held off Katerina Nash. "Now I'm glad with the result, but when I crossed the finish I was a bit dissapointed," she said after she collected her bronze medal. "I wasn't good today; Marianne was better."
"I certainly heard that she [Katerina Nash] was on my tail. The Czech's were going crazy," said Van den Brand. "I chose to ride my own race and didn't look back. I had the luck; she crashed three times."
Cold conditions for Compton's return
Sub-zero temperatures greeted the women's field in Tabor along with a light dusting of overnight snow. Amongst the 43 starters was Katie Compton, who took her position in the front row of the grid start. The American had ridden on the rollers an hour before the start and reported no sign of the cramps that had kept her out of competition for the two weeks prior to the race.
As the flag dropped, it was the Dutch combination of Daphny Van den Brand and Marianne Vos that reached the first corner at the head of the race. The French, too, got the best of the start as Cristel Ferrier-Bruneau, Caroline Mani and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot quickly became the names to occupy positions in the top-ten. Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany) and Sanne Cant (Belgium) were also visible as two Czech riders came together and held up the second half of the bunch in the first of the tight early corners.
Van den Brand assumed the lead for the first lap as she stretched things out to quickly form a small selection that included herself, Vos, Kupfernagel and Ferrier-Bruneau. The French pair of Mani and Ferrand-Prevot appeared happy to pace off one another several seconds back. The leaders crossed the start/finish in 8:59 for what would be first of a five lap race. Working hard to make up for a less-than-ideal start, local hope Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) followed in seventh place as she worked to get back on terms with the leaders.
Disappointment for Compton as Vos goes in search of title number three
Just after the start of the second lap a dejected Katie Compton could be seen limping away from the course, still plagued by cramp. At the other end of the race spectrum was Vos, who used the second circuit to surge away from Kupfernagel, who moved into a solo chase position. Ferrier-Bruneau, Van den Brand, Mani and Ferrand-Prevot filled the next four spots, with Katerina Nash and Italy's sole entrant Eva Lechner next on course.
With her lead established, Vos clearly looked the most comfortable in the treacherous conditions, while both Ferrier-Bruneau and Nash became victims to patches of ice. Vos continued to extend her lead, with a nearly thirty second advantage established in the space of the third lap. Mani and Ferrand-Prevot began to fade as the first five riders established what would be their final positions. Ferrier-Breuneau also went the way of her compatriots as Vos, Kupfernagel, Van den Brand, Nash and Lechner filled the top five.
While Vos maintained her furious cadence, seemingly dancing on the ice, Kupfernagel appeared to become more comfortable as she pegged the gap to the Dutchwoman at the 30-35 second mark. Nash almost made contact with Van den Brand before a slip saw the gap between the two once again open up. With the final podium order becoming clearer, Nash began to trade fourth and fifth position with Lechner.
Vos' final lap closely resembled her previous three - bar an extra measure of concentration as the final corners approached. Swinging onto the tarmac for the 100 metres dash to the line, a wry smile filled the 22-year-old's face. Arms raised and glasses removed, it was a joyful Marianne Vos that basked in the adulation of a vocal and appreciative crowd. Kupfernagel, too, grinned as she crossed the line 45 seconds later, with Van den Brand the next to appear.
Katerina Nash's game of musical chairs with Lechner had ceased as she came through for fourth. Great Britain's Annie Last had the race of her life to claim an impressive 11th place, while Meredith Miller took 12th, the best placed US rider in the field.
|1||Marianne Vos (Netherlands)||0:42:59|
|2||Hanka Kupfernagel (Germany)||0:00:45|
|3||Daphny Van Den Brand (Netherlands)||0:01:02|
|4||Katerina Nash (Czech Republic)||0:01:20|
|5||Eva Lechner (Italy)||0:01:41|
|6||Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (France)||0:01:47|
|7||Caroline Mani (France)||0:01:53|
|8||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France)||0:02:11|
|9||Sanne Van Paassen (Netherlands)||0:02:28|
|10||Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (France)||0:02:31|
|11||Annie Last (Great Britain)||0:02:37|
|12||Meredith Miller (United States Of America)||0:02:55|
|13||Sabrina Schweizer (Germany)||0:03:00|
|14||Amy Dombroski (United States Of America)||0:03:16|
|15||Sanne Cant (Belgium)||0:03:18|
|16||Linda Van Rijen (Netherlands)||0:03:23|
|17||Rocio Gamonal Ferrera (Spain)||0:03:30|
|18||Maureen Demaret Guichardot (France)||0:03:39|
|19||Nikki Harris (Great Britain)||0:03:49|
|20||Elisabeth Brandau (Germany)||0:04:02|
|21||Martina Zwick (Germany)||0:04:04|
|22||Katrin Leumann (Switzerland)||0:04:09|
|23||Helen Wyman (Great Britain)|
|24||Joyce Vanderbeken (Belgium)||0:04:27|
|25||Maureen Bruno Roy (United States Of America)||0:04:28|
|26||Arenda Grimberg (Netherlands)||0:04:37|
|27||Gabriella Day (Great Britain)||0:04:51|
|28||Jana Kyptova (Czech Republic)||0:05:00|
|29||Sophie De Boer (Netherlands)|
|30||Pavla Havlikova (Czech Republic)||0:05:25|
|31||Laura Van Gilder (United States Of America)||0:05:53|
|32||Reza Hormes (Netherlands)||0:06:10|
|33||Martina Mikulaskova (Czech Republic)||0:06:14|
|34||Zuzana Pirzkallova (Czech Republic)||0:06:15|
|35||Masami Morita (Japan)||0:06:36|
|36||Nikoline Hansen (Denmark)||0:07:06|
|37||Marzena Wasiuk (Poland)||0:07:16|
|38||Ayako Toyooka (Japan)||0:07:28|
|39||Chika Fukumoto (Japan)||0:08:57|
|40||Michiko Shimura (Japan)||0:09:48|
|41||Vicki Thomas (Canada)||0:10:31|
|42 -1lap||Eszter Dosa (Hungary)|
|43||Zuzana Vojtasova (Slovakia)|
|DNF||Katherine Compton (United States Of America)|