Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) captured the win in the seventh round of the Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup on Monday afternoon. On Boxing Day, Vos finished just ahead of Belgian champion Sanne Cant (IKO Enertherm-Beobank) and Katerina Nash (CLIF). It was Vos' first World Cup round in nearly two years and only the third race of the season for seven-time world champion Vos, who made her comeback in Antwerp nine days earlier.
"I'm very happy. Heusden-zolder is always a course... or has been a course that suited me. I'm very happy to be here. It's a special race to win," Vos said in the flash interview.
Overnight rain turned the fast course around the car racing circuit into a slightly more technical event. World champion Thalita de Jong (Rabo-Liv) called off her participation on the course where she won the World championships back in January due to illness. Apart from the challenging course in Heusden-Zolder, eventual winner Vos also had to deal with her back-row start position.
Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea) claimed the hole shot and rode away from the rest of the pack in a muddy section. The chase group with Nash, Cant, De Boer, Ellen Noble, Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv), Eva Lechner (CLIF) was 13 seconds down on her.
Vos was steadily picking her way through the bunch at 25 seconds from Van Loy, who made a mistake on a steep descent and landed in the cushions, while Nash crashed on the off-camber climb, flatted and lost a lot of time. Lechner profited and rode away from the other chasers at the end of the second lap on a steep climb. At the end of the second lap Italian champion Lechner trailed Van Loy by only six seconds. Cant and De Boer were 12 seconds down with Vos, Ellen Noble, Amanda Miller, Brand and Christine Majerus at short distance.
Cant rode a strong third lap, surging towards the front with De Boer, Vos and Brand, and reeled in Lechner and eventually lone leader Van Loy. During the fourth lap Brand tried her luck. She gapped the five other women and rode most of the lap alone in front. At the back-end of the course she struggled in the final technical part of the course and suddenly Vos and the others were back on her tail. Further back, Nash was making up a lot of ground and rode the fastest fourth lap of the pack, bridging up to the lead group on the finishing straight.
On the final lap climb to the Sacraments chapel Vos accelerated, dropping Lechner, Brand and De Boer. Only Cant and Nash could follow the Dutch woman's fast pace. Right after the off-camber climb she put the duo briefly at distance. In the muddy descent Cant ended up in a bad track and she lost all momentum. Nevertheless she fought back and passed Nash on the run-up, fighting back to Vos' wheel.
On the final climb in the forest Vos impressed and rode the first part of the climb to the top, leaving Cant and Nash behind. Vos made no mistakes and held on to her lead until the finish line, clearly being delighted with a big comeback victory in the World Cup. Cant pushed on but finished as runner-up at two seconds. Nash was a strong third after her fallback halfway the race.
In the World Cup standing Cant gains back 20 points on De Boer, who leads with 373 points. Nash moves into third place with 275 points, eight more than Ellen Van Loy. Miller is fifth with 247 points.
The penultimate round of the World Cup is held on the 15th of January in Fiuggi, Italy.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||0:44:09|
|2||Sanne Cant (Bel) IKO Enertherm-Beobank||0:00:02|
|3||Katerina Nash (Cze) Clif Pro Team||0:00:04|
|4||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||0:00:13|
|5||Eva Lechner (Ita) Clif Pro Team||0:00:17|
|6||Sophie De Boer (Ned) Kalas-NNOF||0:00:22|
|7||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:28|
|8||Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||0:00:30|
|9||Nikki Brammeier (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||0:00:48|
|10||Amanda Miller (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport/YogaGlo||0:00:50|
|11||Laura Verdonschot (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:00:51|
|12||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Lensworld-Zannata||0:01:16|
|13||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned) Team Steylaerts||0:01:32|
|14||Emma White (USA) Rally Cycling||0:01:38|
|15||Lucie Chainel (Fra)||0:01:46|
|16||Pavla Havlikova (Cze)||0:01:49|
|17||Chiara Teocchi (Ita) Bianchi Countervail||0:01:50|
|18||Loes Sels (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:54|
|19||Ellen Noble (USA) Aspire Racing||0:02:05|
|20||Manon Bakker (Ned)||0:02:08|
|21||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Lointek||0:02:20|
|22||Nadja Heigl (Aut)||0:02:26|
|23||Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||0:02:33|
|24||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||0:02:34|
|25||Inge Van Der Heijden (Ned)||0:02:35|
|26||Jolien Verschueren (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:56|
|27||Juliette Labous (Fra)||0:03:04|
|28||Jessica Lambracht (Ger)||0:03:17|
|29||Ceylin Del Carmen Alvarado (Ned)||0:03:27|
|30||Nikola Noskova (Cze)||0:03:32|
|31||Jade Wiel (Fra)||0:03:41|
|32||Evita Muzic (Fra)|
|33||Lise-Marie Henzelin (Swi)||0:03:51|
|34||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling Team||0:04:00|
|35||Audrey Menut (Fra) Scott Creuse Oxygene Gueret||0:04:05|
|36||Alicia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa) Lointek||0:04:14|
|37||Pauline Delhaye (Fra)||0:04:19|
|38||Ida Jansson (Swe)||0:04:20|
|39||Sunny Gilbert (USA) Van Dessel||0:04:45|
|40||Stefanie Paul (Ger)||0:04:50|
|41||Asa-Maria Erlandsson (Swe)||0:05:28|
|42||Kim Van De Steene (Bel)||0:05:56|
|43||Emily Wadsworth (GBr)||0:06:17|
|44||Lisa Heckmann (Ger)||0:06:31|
|45||Nikola Bajgerova (Cze)||0:06:43|
|46||Irene Trabazo Bragado (Spa)||0:06:46|
|47||Naomi Williams (Aus)||0:06:57|
|48||Saga Molin (Swe)||0:07:12|
|49||Denisa Minarikova-Svecova (Cze)||0:07:18|
|50||Nathalie Lamborelle (Lux)||0:07:23|
|51||Rebecca Locke (Aus)||0:07:31|
|52||Christine Vardaros (USA)||0:08:10|
|53||Edie Antonia Rees (Lux)||0:08:37|
|54||Mara Schwager (Ger)|
|55||Tereza Medvedova (Svk) Bepink|
|56||Suzie Godart (Lux)|
|57||Stacey Riedel (Aus)|