Katerina Nash (Clif) captured an impressive victory at the sixth round of the Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur, Belgium on Sunday afternoon. Nash finished solo on the Namur citadel ahead of Clif teammate Eva Lechner and World Cup leader Sophie de Boer (Kalas-NNOF). De Boer remains atop the World Cup standings.
Nash last won in Namur two years ago. It's the fifth-ever World Cup win for the Czech-American 39 year-old rider.
"Today was pretty epic," Nash said in the flash interview. "Sophie and Eva were really strong. It was a good, exciting race. [...] This place is special. I raced for a really long time and I don't have a ton of World Cup victories so everyone of them is super special. I'm really excited.
"I was looking forward to come back to Namur. It was one of the reasons why I wanted to come back and race in Europe."
Straight from the start Nash showed her ambitions in foggy Namur as she featured in the lead group of five riders that survived the cut after the opening lap. Nash was accompanied by De Boer, Lechner, Ellen Van Loy (Young Telenet-Fidea) and a well-started Evie Richards. By then, World champion Thalita de Jong (Rabo-Liv) was on the ropes. After a good start she struggled on one of the key sections of the undulating course, the off-camber descent, losing a massive amount of time.
In front, Lechner accelerated. Nash swiftly followed but Richards, Van Loy and De Boer got dropped. De Boer was at the back of the group after a bike switch and was looking for space to move up.
Teammates Lechner and Nash didn't wait for De Boer and the latter was unable to close down the small gap. By the end of the second lap, Nash and Lechner were a handful of seconds ahead of De Boer. Van Loy was fourth at 13 seconds, ahead of Alice Maria Arzuffi (Selle Italia-Guerciotti). Nikki Brammeier (Boels-Dolmans), Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) and Richards were 25 seconds down.
During the third lap Nash took the initiative and Lechner was struggling to keep up, possibly because of a flat tyre. After a few steep drops and climbs Nash found herself alone in front. By the time Lechner received a fresh bike she was nearly forty seconds down on Nash, with Majerus and Van Loy. In between Nash and Lechner were De Boer and Arzuffi. De Boer was losing ground, dropping to ten seconds from Nash.
Suddenly the race turned around when Nash ran into trouble. First she failed to click into her pedals and in no-time De Boer bridged up. A moment later Nash crashed at a relatively easy section and De Boer found herself alone in front. Nash fought back and climbed her way back to De Boer before the end of the fourth lap. "I kind of couldn't get in my pedals," Nash said. Lechner made up 25 seconds in the fourth lap, trailing the two leaders by only 13 seconds. Majerus and Arzuffi were only a few seconds further back. Further back Amanda Miller (BCS YogaGlo Pro CX Team) was making her way into the top-10, passing Sanne Cant.
During the penultimate lap nor Nash nor De Boer was able to shake off the other rider. Lechner came back to nine seconds; Majerus and Arzuffi were at 15 seconds. The final lap would decide the race. Nash gained an early bonus and seemed on her way to the win but then swapped bikes again, allowing De Boer to come back. "I got a flat in the final lap. I came in for a clean bike. I think that really helped in the last lap. I had a clean bike, clean pedals. Things worked out," Nash said. The duo exited the off-camber descent together but then Nash gapped De Boer for good when approaching a steep run-up. De Boer too, had a flat tyre. Nash didn't look back and powered up the final long climb to the finish and the victory in Namur.
Lechner seized the opportunity and took over second place from De Boer. A happy Lechner celebrated second place when crossing the line at 12 seconds from Nash. De Boer had to be satisfied with the final podium spot at 21 seconds. Alice Maria Arzuffi was the second Italian rider in fourth place at 28 seconds, distancing Majerus in the final lap. Ellen Van Loy was sixth at 52 seconds, just ahead of Amanda Miller and Nikki Brammeier. UCI ranking leader Sanne Cant (IKO Enertherm-Beobank) never seems to go well in Namur and only managed a thirteenth place Sunday at nearly two minutes of Nash, finishing just behind Evie Richards and Kaitlin Antonneau.
De Boer remains in the lead in the World Cup standings. She now holds 323 points, which is 58 more than Cant. Van Loy is third overall with 219 points, four more than Katie Compton and six more than Caroline Mani, both absent in Namur. Amanda Miller is seventh overall with 205 points, ahead of compatriots Ellen Noble (192) and Antonneau (182). Young Arzuffi is tenth overall with 169 points.
De Boer defends her leading position in the next World Cup round which is traditionally held on Boxing Day at last year's World championships course: the car racing circuit in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katerina Nash (Cze) Clif Pro Team||0:47:14|
|2||Eva Lechner (Ita) Clif Pro Team||0:00:12|
|3||Sophie De Boer (Ned) Kalas-NNOF||0:00:21|
|4||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Lensworld-Zannata||0:00:28|
|5||Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||0:00:34|
|6||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:00:52|
|7||Amanda Miller (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport/YogaGlo||0:00:59|
|8||Nikki Brammeier (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||0:01:03|
|9||Lucinda Brand (Ned) Raboliv Womencyclingteam||0:01:13|
|10||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned) Team Steylaerts|
|11||Evie Richards (GBr)||0:01:30|
|12||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com||0:01:50|
|13||Sanne Cant (Bel) IKO Enertherm-Beobank||0:01:57|
|14||Chiara Teocchi (Ita) Bianchi Countervail||0:02:23|
|15||Pavla Havlikova (Cze)||0:02:32|
|16||Ellen Noble (USA) Aspire Racing||0:02:59|
|17||Jolien Verschueren (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:03:02|
|18||Nadja Heigl (Aut)||0:03:18|
|19||Nikola Noskova (Cze)||0:03:23|
|20||Lucie Chainel (Fra)||0:03:31|
|21||Ffion James (GBr)||0:03:38|
|22||Emma White (USA) Rally Cycling||0:04:00|
|23||Loes Sels (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:04:12|
|24||Aida Nuno Palacio (Spa)||0:04:26|
|25||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)||0:04:32|
|26||Inge Van Der Heijden (Ned)||0:04:34|
|27||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)||0:04:36|
|28||Laura Verdonschot (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games||0:04:39|
|29||Helene Clauzel (Fra)||0:04:41|
|30||Evita Muzic (Fra)||0:04:45|
|31||Manon Bakker (Ned)||0:04:59|
|32||Yara Kastelijn (Ned) Raboliv Womencyclingteam||0:05:30|
|33||Elle Anderson (USA) Elle Anderson Racing||0:05:34|
|34||Kim Van De Steene (Bel)||0:05:37|
|35||Fanny Stumpf (Fra)||0:05:50|
|36||Perrine Clauzel (Fra) Bh-Sr Suntour-Kmc||0:05:56|
|37||Maelle Grossetete (Fra)||0:05:58|
|38||Hannah Payton (GBr) Drops Cycling Team||0:06:17|
|39||Amira Mellor (GBr) NEXT Wyman/Kona||0:06:32|
|40||Lisa Heckmann (Ger)||0:06:48|
|41||Pauline Delhaye (Fra)||0:07:16|
|42||Olatz Odriozola Mujika (Spa)||0:07:23|
|43||Asa-Maria Erlandsson (Swe)||0:08:17|
|44||Lindy Van Anrooij (Ned)|
|45||Luisa Ibarrola (Spa)|
|46||Nikola Bajgerova (Cze)|
|47||Christine Vardaros (USA)|
|48||Lena Bischoff-Stein (Ger)|
|49||Suzie Godart (Lux)|