In the autumn of her career, Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) managed to beat all of the best in a top-notch starting field and grab her third-ever World Cup victory in Namur, Belgium.
The 37 year-old Czech champion won the fourth World Cup round alone ahead of world champion Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) and US and Pan-American champion Katie Compton (Trek Factory Team).
World Cup leader Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) struggled on the demanding course and could only manage sixth place, barely holding on to her white jersey of World Cup leader by just one point over Compton.
“I just felt really good, especially in the second half of the race. I was running strong and riding really well. I’m just happy. I’m really surprised because you don’t really know how you do until you compare with the European racers, as this was my first European race,” Nash said.
Former World Cup leader Sophie de Boer (Kalas-NNOF) had the best start but possibly felt the effort from yesterday’s win in Essen in her legs as she quickly faded. Compton and Sabine Stultiens (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) missed their start, meanwhile.
Italian champion Eva Lechner (Rusvelo) took over the command in front but she had no answer ready when Vos accelerated. Halfway through the opening lap, Nash worked her way through the chase group on the hilly course. Neither Lechner nor French riders Lucie Chainel-Lefevre and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot were able to hold her wheel and Nash was soon riding solo in second place.
“I started further back today so I had to be patient and make it through the traffic. I kind of had the feeling Marianne would take off as she usually does. I stayed calm and I could see her,” Nash said.
Vos had a small lead on Nash after the opening lap and that gap grew up to 22 seconds halfway the second lap as Nash slipped away and landed into the netting at the side of the course on a left hand corner. But Nash was riding faster over the slopes of the Namur citadel than Vos, and half a lap later the gap was back down to 16 seconds.
Behind, Compton passed Lechner, Ferrand-Prévot and Chainel, and was riding alone in third place by the end of the second lap.
Halfway through the race, Nash was able to bridge up to Vos, who was now struggling to maintain her fast starting pace. “Suddenly halfway through the race she was coming closer and closer to me. I was slowly creeping up to her,” Nash said. The duo hit the penultimate lap together, with Compton trailing by 25 seconds. The next group was one minute down on the leaders, and comprised of Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea) and Ferrand-Prévot, who had distanced Lechner, Chainel and Sanne Cant.
In front, Nash was clearly having the upper hand in her duel with Vos. She took the lead while Vos struggled to hold her wheel. “By riding a hard pace I managed to distance her. At that moment I didn’t hesitate,” Nash said. When Vos was gapped on a tough muddy section she rode into the netting and lost even more time, and Nash quickly created a lead of half a minute over Vos.
Compton was matching Vos’ pace but unable to make any inroads, while in the background Ferrand-Prévot crashed hard on one of the steep descents. The French champion was overtaken by Van Loy, Lechner and Chainel, and suddenly found herself in seventh place, just ahead of Cant.
Out in front, Nash made no mistakes as she worked her way towards a well-deserved victory, high-fiving with the crowd as she crossed the finish line. In 2009 she won the World Cup round in Roubaix and two years later the World Cup round in Tabor. In Namur, she found a course that suited her MTB background.
“It’s great to come here and win straight away. I was riding Shimano disc brakes and on courses like this I know I can take the descents at high speed because I know I can stop at the bottom. That’s the technique I carry over from MTB technique,” Nash said. She added that she will be riding more European races with an eye on the Tabor world championships, in her home country. “It’s the first kind of event where I can compare with the rest of the world. It’ll give me a lot of confidence and I’m excited to carry on throughout January,” Nash said.
World champion Vos waved to the spectators in Namur when she finished as runner-up, 34 seconds behind Nash. Compton was third at 1:07 from the Czech winner, who resides in the USA. A late crash from Ellen Van Loy couldn’t prevent her from taking fourth place at 1:47, while Ferrand-Prévot was fifth.
Sanne Cant rode a strong final lap and passed Chainel-Lefevre and Lechner to take sixth place and the World Cup points necessary to hold on to her white jersey. British champion Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team) was not on her favourite course in Namur, and finished ninth, ahead of Stultiens who completed the top 10 in Namur. De Boer finished on a distant thirteenth place.
On December 26, the riders will tackle the World Cup's fifth round in Zolder, Belgium.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team||0:44:15|
|2||Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||0:00:34|
|3||Katherin Compton (USA) Trek Factory Racing||0:01:07|
|4||Ellen Van Looy (Bel) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||0:01:47|
|5||Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Fra) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||0:01:52|
|6||Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP||0:02:07|
|7||Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra)||0:02:16|
|8||Eva Lechner (Ita) Team Colnago Sudtirol||0:02:21|
|9||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Team||0:02:33|
|10||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||0:02:38|
|11||Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||0:03:11|
|12||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze)||0:03:58|
|13||Sophie De Boer (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team||0:04:01|
|14||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Astana Bepink Womens Team||0:04:30|
|15||Jolien Verschueren (Bel)||0:04:33|
|16||Pavla Havlikova (Cze)||0:04:41|
|17||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld||0:04:59|
|18||Sanne Van Paassen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||0:05:24|
|19||Loes Sels (Bel)||0:05:33|
|20||Erica Zaveta (USA)||0:05:36|
|21||Githa Michiels (Bel) Trek-KMC Trade Team||0:05:37|
|22||Crystal Anthony (USA) Optum Pro Cycling||0:05:52|
|23||Jessica Lambracht (Ger)||0:06:03|
|24||Aida Nuno (Spa) Lointek||0:06:24|
|25||Nadja Heigl (Aut)||0:06:32|
|26||Arley Kemmerer (USA)||0:06:39|
|27||Katrien Thijs (Bel)||0:06:47|
|28||Gabriella Durrin (GBr)||0:06:56|
|29||Amira Mellor (GBr)||0:07:21|
|30||Marlene Petit (Fra)||0:07:27|
|31||Elena Valentini (Ita) BTC City Ljubljana|
|32||Bianca Van Den Hoek (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team||0:07:38|
|33||Caroline Mani (Fra)||0:07:40|
|34||Lise-Marie Henzelin (Swi)||0:07:44|
|35||Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe)||0:08:07|
|36||Laura Verdonschot (Bel)||0:08:19|
|37||Mercedes Pacios Pujado (Spa)||0:08:26|
|38||Reza Hormes (Ned)||0:08:50|
|39||Lisa Heckmann (Ger)||0:09:39|
|40||Milena Landtwing (Swi)||- 1 lap|
|41||Laura Perry (Fra)||- 1 lap|
|42||Nikola Noskova (Cze)||- 1 lap|
|43||Hannah Payton (GBr)||- 1 lap|
|44||Olivia Hottinger (Swi)||- 1 lap|
|45||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)||- 1 lap|
|46||Cecile Delaire (Fra)||- 1 lap|
|47||Eva Colin (Fra)||- 1 lap|
|48||Vendula Kuntova (Cze) Remerx-Merida Team Kolin||- 1 lap|
|49||Lizzy Witlox (Ned)||- 1 lap|
|50||Denisa Lukesova (Cze)||- 1 lap|
|51||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned)||- 1 lap|
|52||Elizabeth White (USA)||- 1 lap|
|53||Margriet Helena Kloppenburg (Den)||- 2 laps|
|54||Denisa Minarikova-Svecova (Cze)||- 2 laps|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP||178||pts|
|2||Katherine Compton (USA) Trek Factory Racing||177|
|3||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||146|
|4||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Team||124|
|5||Sophie De Boer (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team||123|
|6||Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra)||122|
|7||Nikki Harris (GBr) VZW Young Telenet Fidea Cycling Team||110|
|8||Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||92|
|9||Pavla Havlikova (Cze)||86|
|10||Martina Mikulaskova (Cze)||84|
|11||Sanne Van Paassen (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||67|
|12||Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team||60|
|13||Jolien Verschueren (Bel)||56|
|14||Githa Michiels (Bel) Trek-KMC Trade Team||54|
|15||Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||50|
|16||Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team||50|
|17||Caroline Mani (Fra)||46|
|18||Aida Nuno (Spa) Lointek||45|
|19||Rachel Lloyd (USA)||43|
|20||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA)||42|
|21||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team||35|
|22||Elle Anderson (USA)||35|
|23||Crystal Anthony (USA)||35|
|24||Gabriella Durrin (GBr)||32|
|25||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)||27|
|26||Eva Lechner (Ita) Rusvelo||26|
|27||Arley Kemmerer (USA)||25|
|28||Laura Perry (Fra)||23|
|29||Loes Sels (Bel)||23|
|30||Reza Hormes (Ned)||23|
|31||Lise-Marie Henzelin (Swi)||21|
|32||Laura Verdonschot (Bel)||21|
|33||Meredith Miller (USA)||19|
|34||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Astana Bepink Womens Team||17|
|35||Marlene Petit (Fra)||17|
|36||Nikola Noskova (Cze)||14|
|37||Lizzy Witlox (Ned)||14|
|38||Nadja Heigl (Aut)||13|
|39||Erica Zaveta (USA)||11|
|40||Stephanie Vaxillaire (Fra)||11|
|41||Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe)||11|
|42||Juliette Labous (Fra)||10|
|43||Maghalie Rochette (Can) Luna Pro Team||10|
|44||Katrien Thijs (Bel)||9|
|45||Jessica Lambracht (Ger)||8|
|46||Bianca Van Den Hoek (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team||7|
|47||Amira Mellor (GBr)||7|
|48||Lisa Heckmann (Ger)||6|
|49||Elena Valentini (Ita) BTC City Ljubljana||6|
|50||Adela Carter (GBr)||3|
|51||Vendula Kuntova (Cze) Remerx-Merida Team Kolin||3|
|52||Hannah Payton (GBr)||2|
|53||Mercedes Pacios Pujado (Spa)||1|