The third UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup round in the wet sand of Koksijde, Belgium, was the playground of Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) on a chilly Sunday afternoon.
The Belgian and European champion won with a 12-second gap over British rider Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea). US and Pan-American champion Katie Compton (Trek) was third at 42 seconds - her best World Cup result of the season.
Cant takes over the white jersey as leader in the World Cup standings as former leader Eva Lechner (Colnago-SudTirol) only managed a ninth place at the airbase in Koksijde. “This is really good, I didn’t expect it," Cant said on Sporza. "I thought Lechner would be good today. This course really suits me. Keeping the jersey will not be easy. Namur is not a race for me. I will fight. I really want to hold onto it.”
Cant didn’t have a good start and rode outside the top 10 while Lechner managed the hole shot. Once the riders reached the sand the situation turned around. Sophie de Boer (Kalas-NNOF) powered away in front with Compton leading the chase. Lechner faded back while Cant moved into the top three with a sublime passage in the first long sand section.
“I think it was a bit of a false start. I reached the first sand section outside the top 10. Everybody was riding on the left and I rode by them on the right hand side,” Cant said.
Halfway through the opening lap De Boer was caught by Compton, Harris, Cant and Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea). The latter struggled in the following sand section and lost contact with the leaders. In the final muddy part of the course Harris charged forward with only Cant staying in touch. De Boer, Harris and Compton were quickly back on their wheels early on in the second lap.
Before reaching the first pit area the race was decided when Cant blasted away through the sand. Behind her Harris was unable to keep up due to a technical problem. She switched bikes and exited the pit area behind Havlikova and Compton. Cant was gone. Havlikova tried to close the gap on her own but by the end of the second lap she trailed Cant by 14 seconds. Compton and Harris were a handful seconds further back, dropping De Boer.
Havlikova switched bikes on the third lap and was caught back by Compton and Harris. The latter then dropped her two rivals on the so-called Herygers-dune and trailed Cant by 14 seconds. In no time it was clear that Cant and Harris were battling for the victory while Compton and Havlikova were duelling for the final podium spot.
The extremely muddy part at the back of the course favoured Compton and just before hitting the final lap she powered away from Havlikova. The positions remained the same throughout the final lap. Both Cant and Harris rode flawlessly through the sand with Harris riding slightly faster. She took a handful of seconds back on Cant but not enough to reach out for the victory.
Cant repeated her win from last year when she captured her first ever World Cup victory. Harris once again finished as runner-up after a strong race with an unlucky second lap. Compton had her thumbs up when reaching the finish line, clearly pleased with a podium at the World Cup level. Havlikova was fourth one minute from Cant, well ahead of De Boer. Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team) was sixth at nearly two minutes ahead of the Young Telenet-Fidea duo Van Loy and Loes Sels. After a break from competition Italian champion Lechner concluded a race that clearly didn’t suit her in ninth place, barely holding off Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans).
Many riders from the top 10 in the World Cup standings didn’t start in Koksijde and as a result the gap between the top-2 and the rest is massive. Cant moves 11 points ahead of Lechner with 145 points. Havlikova is now third with 85 points, just ahead of Compton (83) and Harris (80).
The next round of the World Cup is held at the citadel in Namur, Belgium on December 20.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sanne Cant (Bel)||37:56:00|
|2||Nikki Harris (GBr)||0:12:00|
|3||Katherine Compton (USA)||0:42:00|
|4||Pavla Havlikova (Cze)||1:00:00|
|5||Sophie De Boer (Ned)||1:18:00|
|6||Helen Wyman (GBr)||1:59:00|
|7||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)||2:12:00|
|8||Loes Sels (Bel)||2:18:00|
|9||Eva Lechner (Ita)||2:47:00|
|10||Christine Majerus (Lux)||2:48:00|
|11||Sanne Van Paassen (Ned)||3:04:00|
|12||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned)||3:05:00|
|13||Laura Verdonschot (Bel)||3:22:00|
|14||Ellen Noble (USA)||3:34:00|
|15||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita)||3:37:00|
|16||Jolien Verschueren (Bel)||3:54:00|
|17||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze)||3:58:00|
|18||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)||4:05:00|
|19||Jessica Lambracht (Ger)||4:18:00|
|20||Hannah Payton (GBr)||4:29:00|
|21||Lise-Marie Henzelin (Swi)||4:49:00|
|22||Aida Nuno Palacio (Spa)||4:56:00|
|23||Esmee Oosterman (Ned)||5:08:00|
|24||Bianca Van Den Hoek (Ned)||5:30:00|
|25||Femke Van Den Driessche (Bel)||5:33:00|
|26||Emma White (USA)||6:10:00|
|27||Amira Mellor (GBr)||6:25:00|
|28||Margriet Helena Kloppenburg (Den)||6:35:00|
|29||Inge Van Der Heijden (Ned)||6:39:00|
|30||Olivia Hottinger (Swi)||6:46:00|
|31||Lizzy Witlox (Ned)||6:50:00|
|32||Stefanie Paul (Ger)||7:29:00|
|33||Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe)||7:50:00|
|34||Kathryn Cumming (USA)||7:51:00|
|35||Bethany Crumpton (GBr)||7:53:00|
|36||Katrien Thijs (Bel)||7:58:00|
|37||Mercedes Pacios Pujado (Spa)|
|38||Elena Valentini (Ita)|
|39||Christine Vardaros (USA)|
|40||Suzie Godart (Lux)|