One day after an extremely muddy win from Marianne Vos in Essen, the Dutch 24-year-old racked up another dominant win on the muddy slopes of the citadel in chilly Namur, Belgium, during the fourth round of the cyclo-cross World Cup. Vos dealt best with the snow, frozen water and mud on the grounds of the old fortress in Namur. She finished almost a minute ahead of Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (France) and was even further ahead of US national champion Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team). Despite finishing in eighth place, Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink-Leontien.nl) remains leader in the World Cup rankings ahead of Compton and Chainel.
"This was one of the hardest races I've ever done, but it's the same for all," Vos said.
While the snowflakes started to come down, the women lined up at the foot of the citadel. Both Compton and Vos started well but then Compton had to put her foot on the ground. "My chain dropped when I shifted before reaching the steeper part of the start line. I had to stop, get off the bike and get the chain back on. I was DFL," Compton said.
Meanwhile Chainel sped away in front, but she was soon caught by Vos. On the muddy course, there was no chance to work together and little later. Vos was gone. "Lucie is a good climber, but after running uphill, I had a few meters. On the asphalt I was able to make the difference too with my road experience," Vos said. That difference reflected in a gap of four seconds the first time past the finish line.
Behind Vos and Chainel, the fight for third place was wide open. Helen Wyman (Kona) had a gap on a chase group with Sophie de Boer (Telenet-Fidea), Daphny van den Brand and Italian rider Eva Lechner (Colnago-Farbe Sudtirol). No more snow was coming down, and by the end of the first lap Sanne Cant (Boxx-Veldritacademie) and Compton joined this chase group at more than 40 seconds from the leaders.
Compton bridged up with British champion Wyman in tow. Halfway through the second lap, she dropped Wyman but a crash in the tricky off-camber section halted her march forward. "Running is slow so I gave it a go there. It didn't work out well," Compton said. As a result, Wyman caught back up with Compton.
During the first half of the second lap, Chainel kept Vos in sight but then she sat up. "Technically, I was riding at the same level but physically she's so strong," the slim French woman said. After the second lap, Vos had 26 seconds on Chainel while Compton and Wyman trailed her by 1:06. The group with Cant, Lechner, Van den Brand and De Boer was 15 more seconds down. Only seven seconds further back, Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) tried to close the gap on her own.
During the third of four laps, Vos kept going full gas and not even bad luck would take the win away from her. Compton dropped Wyman once more, and this time she didn't mess up the off-camber section. Almost traditionally, Wyman lost a lot of ground during the third lap. "It wasn't so bad today. I didn't know they were so close until Sanne Cant started shouting," Wyman told Cyclingnews.
After three laps, Chainel trailed Vos by 43 seconds with Compton alone in third half a minute later. Another half a minute later, Wyman was accompanied by Cant and De Boer. Lechner and Van den Brand were 15 seconds down on that trio. Antonneau and Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Lapierre International) were 20 seconds further back.
During the last lap, Vos took it relatively easy and her lead stopped growing. Chainel struggled but easily held off Compton by 15 seconds on the line. "I didn't see her, and I didn't know she was that close," Compton said. The French woman was delighted with her second place. "This is super and it comes unexpected. I hope I can get a top-five result in the World Cup," Chainel told Cyclingnews.
The battle for fourth place was won by Cant, who rode an impressive last lap. Wyman finished fifth. Mountain biker Lechner rode a flying last lap, too, and the Italian claimed sixth place ahead of De Boer, Van den Brand and Ferrand Prevot. "This is a surprise for me," Lechner told Cyclingnews. "I did no preparation for this. I only did three other cyclo-cross races, and I start at the back."
Finishing just behind Ferrand Prevot in 10th place was Antonneau. Both riders are only 19 years old. For Antonneau to finish 10th in her second World Cup race of the year is surprising. "I was trying to catch those in front of me, but that didn't succeed," Antonneau said. At the finish line, she tried to get in the warm van as soon as possible but hours later, she was still thrilled by her performance. "I'm very happy. This [the course] is awesome. It's why I do cyclo-cross," Antonneau told Cyclingnews.
Further back, Gabriella Day (Raleigh) finished a distant 18th place on the same course where she crashed hard on the steep descent last year. "I'm glad this weekend is behind me. The first two laps, I rode that descent, but then I got scared and ran it," Day told Cyclingnews. Compatriot Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) didn't seem to have a good day and eventually she abandoned the race.
Next week, the next round of the World Cup will be held at the former F1 car circuit Zolder, Belgium.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit||0:36:53|
|2||Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra)||0:00:54|
|3||Katherine Compton (USA) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team||0:01:11|
|4||Sanne Cant (Bel) Boxx Veldritacademie||0:01:40|
|5||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing||0:01:44|
|6||Eva Lechner (Ita) Colnago Farbe Sudtirol||0:01:52|
|7||Sophie De Boer (Ned) Telenet - Fidea||0:02:01|
|8||Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned) Aa Drink - Leontien.Nl Cycling Team||0:02:31|
|9||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Lapierre International||0:02:36|
|10||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld.com||0:02:41|
|11||Caroline Mani (Fra)||0:02:53|
|12||Jasmin Achermann (Swi)||0:03:11|
|13||Linda Van Rijen (Ned) Skil - Koga||0:03:37|
|14||Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Gauss||0:03:52|
|15||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet - Fidea||0:04:03|
|16||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Brainwash Wielerploeg||0:04:33|
|17||Christine Majerus (Lux) Team Gsd Gestion||0:04:50|
|18||Gabriella Day (GBr)||0:05:02|
|19||Reza Hormes (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||0:05:12|
|20||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)||0:05:17|
|21||Hilde Quintens (Bel)||0:05:19|
|22||Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe)||0:05:32|
|23||Vania Rossi (Ita)||0:05:36|
|24||Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob's Red Mill / Seven Cycles||0:05:44|
|25||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||0:06:07|
|26||Lise-Marie Henzelin (Swi)||0:06:15|
|27||Arenda Grimberg (Ned)||0:06:25|
|28||Nikoline Hansen (Den)||0:06:33|
|29||Tessa Van Nieuwpoort (Ned)||0:06:50|
|30||Martina Zwick (Ger) Abus Nutrixxion||0:07:53|
|31||Kim Van De Steene (Bel)||0:07:58|
|32||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita)||0:08:13|
|33||Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco Cycling Team||0:08:35|
|-1lap||Nicole De Bie - Leyten (Bel) Telenet - Fidea|
|-1lap||Katrien Thijs (Bel)|
|-1lap||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze)|
|-1lap||Genevieve Whitson (NZl)|
|-1lap||Nancy Bober (Bel) Style & Concept|
|-1lap||Sarah Stewart (Can)|
|-2laps||Margriet Helena Kloppenburg (Den)|
|-2laps||Madara Furmane (Lat)|
|DNF||Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet - Fidea|
|DNF||Amy Dombroski (USA) Crankbrothers - The Race Club|
World Cup standings after four rounds
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Daphny Van Den Brand (Ned) AA Drink - Leontien.nl Cycling Team||176||pts|
|2||Katherine Compton (USA) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team||150|
|3||Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra)||142|
|4||Sanne Van Paassen (Ned) Brainwash Wielerploeg||135|
|5||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing||126|
|6||Sanne Cant (Bel) Boxx Veldritacademie||119|
|7||Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit||110|
|8||Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team||105|
|9||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet - Fidea||97|
|10||Sophie De Boer (Ned) Telenet - Fidea||86|
|11||Sabrina Schweizer (Ger) Focus Mig Team||67|
|12||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Brainwash Wielerploeg||67|
|13||Gabriella Day (GBr)||63|
|14||Amy Dombroski (USA) Crankbrothers - The Race Club||62|
|15||Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet - Fidea||62|
|16||Arenda Grimberg (Ned)||55|
|17||Jasmin Achermann (Swi)||49|
|18||Linda Van Rijen (Ned) Skil - Koga||42|
|19||Caroline Mani (Fra)||39|
|20||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld.com||35|
|21||Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant Cycling||35|
|22||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)||35|
|23||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze)||33|
|24||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||33|
|25||Nicole Duke (USA) Cannondale / Cyclocrossworld.com||31|
|26||Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob's Red Mill / Seven Cycles||31|
|27||Eva Lechner (Ita) Colnago Farbe Sudtirol||30|
|28||Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger)||30|
|29||Reza Hormes (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team||27|
|30||Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Gauss||26|
|31||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Lapierre International||24|
|32||Hilde Quintens (Bel)||18|
|33||Tessa Van Nieuwpoort (Ned)||17|
|34||Nikoline Hansen (Den)||17|
|35||Christine Majerus (Lux) Team Gsd Gestion||14|
|36||Nicole De Bie - Leyten (Bel) Telenet - Fidea||14|
|37||Julie Krasniak (Fra) Team Rapha Focus||13|
|38||Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe)||12|
|39||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita)||11|
|40||Kajsa Snihs (Swe)||10|
|41||Vania Rossi (Ita)||9|
|42||Gesa Bruchmann (Ger)||8|
|43||Lise-Marie Henzelin (Swi)||5|
|44||Annefleur Kalvenhaar (Ned) Giant Dealerteams||4|
|45||Christine Vardaros (USA) Baboco Cycling Team||2|
|46||Katherine Sherwin (USA) Stan's No Tubes||2|
|47||Martina Zwick (Ger) Abus Nutrixxion||1|
|48||Marlène Morel Petitgirard (Fra)||1|