Marianne Vos (Waowdeals Pro Cycling) won the first round of the 2018-19 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, attacking late on the final lap to win ahead of Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing).
Noble finished 4 seconds down for second place, while Katerina Nash (Clif Pro Team) finished third, 27 seconds back.
"Right from the first lap, I was happy with my start from the third row moving up quite fast," Vos said. "I moved up and took the wheel of Noble. She was very strong today - sometimes she was putting me in real trouble.
"But I knew I would have a chance if I could keep up and then try what I could. On the last lap I was totally in the red and I just had one arrow left. It's a dream win."
For Noble, the second place at Trek's home ground marks her career-best World Cup result.
"I'm nothing but happy," she said. "It was a very emotional moment for me - I found out that one of my classmates has passed away a few days before the event, and I was thinking a lot about that and it was a flooding of emotions.
"I don't think I thought in a million years that I'd be going head-to-head with Marianne Vos. I could see the three women behind us chasing and I knew that it was threatening so I unfortunately had to play my cards a little early.
"I knew that I was risking the race, but I didn't want to lose the podium, so I just gave it my all and she rode the factory hill a little cleaner than I did and that's where she got the gap."
The six-lap race saw the first two finishers break away as early as lap two. Noble's turn of pace saw only Vos able to go with her, and the duo would remain out front for the remainder of the race. Sharing the work with one another, there were no attacks out front until the final lap.
Further back, a three-way fight for the final podium spot was underway as Nash, Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing) and Katie Compton (KFC Racing) split away from the rest. The trio eventually split apart though, leaving Nash to solo to third.
The lead duo wouldn't be separated until the end of the last lap, when the seven-time 'cross world champion Vos got away over the ramp to take her first World Cup win since Pontchâteau all the way back in 2011.
How it unfolded
Maud Kaptheijns (Crelan-Charles) led from the front on lap one, the strategy that brought her much success last season, including a win at the Koksijde World Cup and four in the Superprestige competition.
Noble took over midway through the lap, with Vos quickly joining her out front. By the end of the first lap, a chase group consisting of Kaptheijns, Nash, Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing) and Fleur Nagenast (Telenet Fidea Lions) had formed, and lay ten seconds back.
The chase group didn't stay together for long though, splitting apart on lap two as the lead duo ploughed on. At the end of the second lap they enjoyed a lead of 20 seconds over a chase group of U23 British national champion Richards and Nash.
Lap three saw disaster strike for Noble as she somersaulted over the barriers, holding up Vos too. The pair quickly got going again, though their gap to the chasers - who now counted Compton among their number - was reduced to 13 seconds.
Despite the reduced gap, nobody could take further advantage of the lead duo's mishap. The gap to the chasers remained stable through the start of the penultimate lap, and a tense finale was set up - two women fighting for victory and three for the last podium spot.
Other big names such as Kaptheijns, world champion Sanne Cant (Corendon-Circus) and Sophie De Boer (Parkhotel-Valkenburg) lay way out of the reckoning, over 40 seconds down.
Compton was carrying her bike midway through the penultimate lap, seemingly haven fallen victim to a mechanical problem and thus dropping out of the chase group and eventually out of the race. Nash was the sole remaining chaser by lap six, while up front it was still Vos and Noble.
Heading into the final few hundred metres of the final lap it was Vos who put in the killer attack, riding away from Noble with just a few turns to go.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Marianne Vos (Ned) WaowDeals Pro Cycling||0:48:42|
|2||Ellen Noble (USA) Trek Factory Racing||0:00:04|
|3||Katerina Nash (Cze) Clif Pro Team||0:00:27|
|4||Evie Richards (GBr) Trek Fatory Racing||0:00:39|
|5||Loes Sels (Bel) Crelan-Charles||0:01:16|
|6||Ellen van Loy (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:01:38|
|7||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned) Crelan-Charles||0:01:49|
|8||Sofia Gomez-villafane (USA) Pivot/Maxxis pb Stans/DNA Cycling||0:01:53|
|9||Inge Van der heijden (Ned)||0:01:57|
|10||Sanne Cant (Bel) Corendon-Circus||0:01:58|
|11||Fleur Nagengast (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:02:00|
|12||Sophie De Boer (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg||0:02:08|
|13||Crystal Anthony (USA)||0:02:12|
|14||Clara Honsinger (USA)||0:02:23|
|15||Sunny Gilbert (USA)||0:02:24|
|16||Eva Lechner (Ita)||0:02:28|
|17||Caroline Mani (Fra)||0:02:40|
|18||Samantha Runnels (USA)||0:02:47|
|19||Kaitlin Keough (USA)||0:02:55|
|20||Helen Wyman (GBr)||0:03:18|
|21||Elle Anderson (USA)||0:03:35|
|22||Arley Kemmerer (USA)||0:03:37|
|23||Manon Bakker (Ned)||0:04:03|
|24||Rebecca Fahringer (USA)||0:04:12|
|25||Lily Williams (USA)||0:04:33|
|26||Alicia Franck (Bel)||0:04:40|
|27||Emma Swartz (USA)||0:04:55|
|28||Geerte Hoeke (Ned)||0:05:05|
|29||Natalie Redmond (Aus)||0:05:07|
|30||Courtenay Mcfadden (USA)||0:05:13|
|31||Jennifer Malik (USA)||0:05:20|
|32||Cassandra Maximenko (USA)||0:05:33|
|33||Kim Hurst (NZl)||0:05:41|
|34||Amanda Nauman (USA)||0:06:15|
|35||Axelle Bellaert (Bel)||0:06:33|
|36||Fiona Morris (Aus)||0:08:22|
|37||Dana Gilligan (Can)|
|38||Siobhan Kelly (Can)|
|39||Maria Larkin (Irl)|
|DNF||Katherine Compton (USA)|
|DNF||Maghalie Rochette (Can)|