Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) won the penultimate round of the Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup on a cold Sunday afternoon in Pont-Château, France. Two weeks ahead of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Bogense (Denmark), the seven-time cyclo-cross world champion finished solo ahead of Dutch compatriots Denise Betsema (Marlux-Bingoal) and Maud Kaptheijns (Team Charles) on a fast course in the Brittany region.
Vos accelerated away from Betsema on the final lap at the barriers that concluded a long climbing section at the Coët-Roz circuit.
"TV footage probably makes the climb look easy but it’s quite steep," Vos said. "I knew that I had a chance over there. Every lap I was able to take a few metres there. I know that Denise has a good sprint so I didn’t want to let it come down to that."
Current world champion Sanne Cant (Corendon-Circus) skipped the French World Cup round. With Cant taking no points while Vos took the maximum of 80 points with her fourth World Cup win of the season, Vos secured a career-first overall World Cup victory.
During her reign as cyclo-cross world champion, Vos skipped the first part of the cyclo-cross season to take a break and she never managed to make up for the lack of World Cup points in the second part of the season.
"It’s good to win [the World Cup] but the goal today was to do a good race and I’m pleased that it worked out well," Vos said in the post-race flash interview.
The riders were treated with a fast course in Pont-Château, in the Loire-Atlantique region. The 2.7km long Coët-Roz circuit includes a few climbs, a set of stairs and barriers but wasn’t very technical.
Denise Betsema missed her start when she clipped out of her pedal but the lack of technical sections allowed her to move back up and feature in a massive lead group of fifteen riders after the opening lap, despite a fierce pace set by Vos. Loes Sels (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) and Katie Compton (KFC Racing) took over the lead on the second lap and the numbers slowly started to come down.
Half-way through the race, during the fourth of seven laps, Maud Kaptheijns moved into the lead. In the lead group Yara Kastelijn (Telenet Fidea Lions) went over the handlebars when she touched a pole on a fast descent, blocking the path for riders like Inge van der Heynden (CCC-Liv), who were on the limit. More riders like Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Nesta CX Team) and Marlene Morel Petitregard (S1NEO Connect) crashed on the same spot.
The fierce pace set by Kaptheijns was too much for riders like European champion Anne-Marie Worst (Steylaerts-777), Alice Maria Arzuffi (Steylaerts-777) and Ceylin Carmen del Alvarado (Corendon-Circus), Compton and Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions). Only Vos and Betsema were able to keep up with Kaptheijns.
During the closing laps, Vos took the initiative and and it became clear the Kaptheijns didn’t have much left in her tank. In the final lap, Betsema tried to set a pace that was too much for her rivals but that wasn’t the case. Vos was biding her time and punched away on the final technical section of the course.
"I’m satisfied with second place. I knew that I should’ve stayed on Marianne’s wheel to get the win here. I feared that other riders would come back and I opted to stay away with Marianne and that might have cost me the win. I’m still satisfied because when Marianne accelerated I was on the limit. I hope to keep this form until the World Championships," Betsema told Sporza.
Half a minute later, Kaptheijns crossed the finish line after her best World Cup race of the season.
"It’s been a long time since I rode a good World Cup round, even though Heusden-Zolder was pretty good too. I came back from behind, took the lead for a while and managed to put some riders into the hurt box. I’m satisfied with third place," she told Sporza.
Ceylin Carmen del Alvarado won the battle for fourth place and clearly was the best Women Under 23 rider in Pont-Château. Ellen Van Loy came back from a severe knee injury and she was delighted to win the sprint for fifth place from Arzuffi. Four riders were sprinting for the remaining spots in the top-10 and it was Worst who finished just ahead of young Fleur Nagengast (Telenet Fidea Lions), Inge van der Heijden and Compton.
Seven Dutch riders finished in the top-10 in Brittany and the Dutch champion wasn’t even present.
"To get a Dutch world champion would be great. Today we had a strong team and Lucinda [Brand] will join us in the battle, Kaptheijns said.
In the World Cup standings, Vos totals 494 points, which is 132 more than Worst and 136 more than Cant. About five riders are still in the mix for fourth place, with Kaitlin Keough heading towards next week’s final World Cup round in Hoogerheide (Netherlands) with a small advantage over Betsema, Alvarado, Van Loy and Sels. Alvarado is nearly certain of the overall World Cup victory in the Women Under 23
|#||Rider Name (Country)||Result|
|1||Marianne Vos (Ned)||0:46:53|
|2||Denise Betsema (Ned)||0:00:08|
|3||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned)||0:00:36|
|4||Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Ned)||0:00:57|
|5||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)||0:01:06|
|6||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita)||0:01:07|
|7||Annemarie Worst (Ned)||0:01:22|
|8||Fleur Nagengast (Ned)|
|9||Inge Van Der Heijden (Ned)||0:01:23|
|10||Katherine Compton (USA)||0:01:24|
|11||Kaitlin Keough (USA)||0:01:30|
|12||Sophie De Boer (Ned)||0:01:42|
|13||Aida Nuño Palacio (Spa)||0:01:46|
|14||Marlène Petit (Fra)||0:01:49|
|15||Eva Lechner (Ita)||0:01:54|
|16||Christine Majerus (Lux)||0:02:02|
|17||Caroline Mani (Fra)||0:02:09|
|18||Laura Verdonschot (Bel)||0:02:10|
|19||Loes Sels (Bel)||0:02:12|
|20||Manon Bakker (Ned)||0:02:13|
|21||Nikki Brammeier (GBr)||0:02:19|
|22||Marthe Truyen (Bel)||0:02:22|
|23||Clara Honsinger (USA)||0:02:23|
|24||Courtenay Mcfadden (USA)||0:02:24|
|25||Nadja Heigl (Aut)||0:02:28|
|26||Rebecca Fahringer (USA)||0:02:51|
|27||Amandine Fouquenet (Fra)||0:03:10|
|28||Evita Muzic (Fra)||0:03:15|
|29||Maghalie Rochette (Can)||0:03:30|
|30||Marion Norbert Riberolle (Fra)||0:03:43|
|31||Pauline Delhaye (Fra)||0:04:39|
|32||Lauriane Duraffourg (Fra)|
|33||Karen Verhestraeten (Bel)||0:04:50|
|34||Léa Curinier (Fra)||0:05:00|
|35||Katie Clouse (USA)||0:05:08|
|36||Axelle Bellaert (Bel)||0:05:10|
|37||Jinse Peeters (Bel)||0:05:18|
|38||Sandra Trevilla Samperio (Spa)||0:05:22|
|39||Luisa Ibarrola Albizua (Spa)||0:05:41|
|40||Paula Diaz Lopez (Spa)|
|41||Irene Trabazo Bragado (Spa)|
|42||Corey Coogan Cisek (USA)|
|43||lara Gillespie (Irl)|
|44||Lucy O'donnell (Irl)|
|45||Maria Parajon Fuentes (Spa)|
|46||Rebecca Gross (USA)|
|47||Monica Carrascosa Garcia (Spa)|
|DNF||Yara Kastelijn (Ned)|
|DNF||Marlène Morel Petitgirard (Fra)|
|DNF||Lucia Gonzalez Blanco (Spa)|
|DNS||Olatz Odriozola Mugica (Spa)|