Sanne Cant continued her remarkable series of victories in the elite women's race at the second round of the UCI World Cup in Koksijde, Belgium on Saturday. The Belgian cyclo-cross champion seized her moment on the sandy course and outfoxed Sabrina Stultiens (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) and Sophie De Boer (Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team) just before tackling the last dune of the course.
“It’s always been my dream to win here. I’ve been close on a few occasions but there was always something that ruined. I’m glad it finally worked out. Apart from Vos, everybody was here. I ride good in the sand but it’s very hard when it’s dry,” Cant said.
US national champion Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) found out how just how difficult the course was. Compton won four times before in Koksijde and won the opening World Cup round in Valkenburg in October, but struggled with her allergies. That took its toll on the demanding dune course and Compton finished a distant 10th in Koksijde. As a result Sophie de Boer (Kalas-NNOF) becomes the new leader in the World Cup, holding a small two-point lead over Cant and eight points over Compton.
Compton fades early after struggle with asthma and allergies
Cant and De Boer were already present in front straight from the start. After the first dunes they powered away together with Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (France). Compton had a reasonable start but quickly faded back after making a first tumble on the Herygers-dune.
De Boer kept the pace high and gapped both Cant and Chainel. While Chainel kept losing ground and was caught by Stultiens. Cant managed to fight her way back to the front and halfway through the second of five laps there were again two leaders. Stultiens powered over Chainel and sped towards the front, joining the leaders when hitting the third lap. Chainel trailed by eight seconds while Compton and Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) trailed by half a minute.
Stultiens quickly lost contact with the leaders as she struggled on the first dune on the course but kept them in sight. “That was a blow. Just when I joined them I lost ground again. I rode at my own pace and managed to get back to them with two laps to go,” Stultiens told Cyclingnews.
Behind the three leaders, Compton was losing speed and positions as the race went on. She had to let go of Harris and was joined by Czech champion Martina Mikulaskova. In front, Cant tried to make the difference in the sand but small mistakes ruined her plans as De Boer safely ran through the sand. “The others ran the long sand section so that’s not technical,” Cant said. Once Stultiens joined the front it became a last-lap decider.
“I was slightly better in the sand but they were faster on the other sections. It was a matter of hitting the final lap as fresh as possible. Today I probably wasn’t the best of the three but I had a good plan in my head. Also at the World Championships I made my attack there to get on the podium; it’s a crucial dune,” Cant said.
Cant was in third position but sneaked past Stultiens and De Boer to the front on a road section just before the final dunes. The two Dutch women had no answer ready. “I’m not used to riding the finale in these races. I was a bit caught by surprise. I know I had to go with her but there was nowhere to go,” Stultiens said.
De Boer wanted to react but was unable to shift. “Most of that lap I had trouble shifting and at that point I was on a small gear. That also made it hard to sprint,” De Boer said.
Cant got a gap and easily held it to the finish line. Stultiens narrowly held off De Boer in the sprint for second place. Chainel-Lefevre stood tall for fourth place, holding off Harris.
In the final lap, Compton lost a massive amount of ground and tumbled from seventh to 10th place. “I just had an asthma attack and allergies. I come back from being sick and don’t have the fitness. The sand, the fitness, the asthma attack... a little bit of everything. I just couldn’t go fast today,” Compton said. “It was really hard today. On a sand course like that there’s no hiding.”
The next round of the World Cup is held next week in Milton Keynes, UK.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP||0:42:52|
|2||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||0:00:06|
|3||Sophie De Boer (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team|
|4||Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra)||0:01:01|
|5||Nikki Harris (GBr) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:18|
|6||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze)||0:01:51|
|7||Pavla Havlikova (Cze) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:03|
|8||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:02:16|
|9||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Team||0:02:22|
|10||Katherine Compton (USA) Trek Factory Racing||0:02:57|
|11||Sanne Van Paassen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||0:03:24|
|12||Rachel Lloyd (USA) California Giant-Specialized||0:03:25|
|13||Jolien Verschueren (Bel) Wielerteam Decock-Woningbouw Vandekerckhove||0:03:43|
|14||Gabriella Durrin (GBr) Neon Velo||0:03:53|
|15||Caroline Mani (Fra) Raleigh-Clement||0:03:59|
|16||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)||0:04:04|
|17||Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||0:04:07|
|18||Githa Michiels (Bel) Trek-Kmc Trade Team||0:04:10|
|19||Crystal Anthony (USA) Optum Pro Cycling||0:05:05|
|20||Loes Sels (Bel)||0:05:23|
|21||Reza Hormes (Ned)||0:05:30|
|22||Laura Verdonschot (Bel)||0:05:39|
|23||Lise-Marie Henzelin (Swi)||0:05:46|
|24||Lizzy Witlox (Ned)||0:05:53|
|25||Lisa Heckmann (Ger)|
|26||Katrien Thijs (Bel)|
|27||Maghalie Rochette (Can) Luna Pro Team||0:06:26|
|28||Aida Nuno (Spa) Lointek||0:06:39|
|29||Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe)||0:06:50|
|30||Hannah Payton (GBr)||0:06:53|
|31||Nadja Heigl (Aut)||0:07:05|
|32||Yara Kastelijn (Ned)||0:07:18|
|33||Nikola Noskova (Cze)||0:07:54|
|34||Laura Perry (Fra)||0:08:24|
|35||Mercedes Pacios Pujado (Spa)||-1Lap|
|36||Nikola Bajgerova (Cze)||-2Lap|
|37||Elena Vanickova (Cze) Remerx-Merida Team Kolin||-2Lap|
|DNF||Elle Anderson (USA) Kalas-NNOF Cycling Team|
|DNF||Meredith Miller (USA) Noosa|