European Cyclo-cross Championships: Sanne Cant wins elite women's race

Brand and Arzuffi round out podium

Sanne Cant (Belgium) sprinted to her third European Cyclo-cross Championships victory in Tábor after a close-fought race. Her win makes it the second year in a row that the reigning world champion has gone on to capture the European title.

Lucinda Brand (Netherlands) repeated her 2016 silver medal position, this time losing out on the line to Cant rather than Thalita De Jong. Alice Maria Arzuffi (Italy) finished third, 15 seconds back.

"I'm very, very happy," Cant said after the race. "It was a hard race with the attacks uphill; the course was very heavy because it's so fast.

"I had a lot of problems with my health the last few weeks. This is my third win of the season so I hope it goes better and better now and I can win some more races. Now I'm going to enjoy this one."

The quick course, consisting of dry grass and mud, has a long history in cyclo-cross at this level. Tábor hosted a World Cup race up until 2013, and has also hosted three World Championships, the last of which was held in 2015 and saw Cant take silver.

A quick start from the Dutch team saw the front of the peloton fracture early on, with Cant, Brand and Annemarie Worst (Netherlands) the major beneficiaries. The trio opened a gap on lap one, while Maud Kaptheijns (Netherlands), Ellen Van Loy (Belgium) and the Italians Arzuffi and Eva Lechner led the chase.

Rather surprisingly, it was the closest Kaptheijns would get to the lead. The Dutchwoman has enjoyed a blazing start to the season, winning a round of the World Cup as well as sweeping the opening four Superprestige rounds.

Instead it was Arzuffi who took the initiative from the chase group, bridging over the eight-second gap on lap two and making it a leading foursome. As the Italian got across, Worst looked in trouble and was soon dropped, leaving what would turn out to be the final podium at the front of the race.

Over the three remaining laps it was game of cat and mouse, and attack and counter-attack between Cant, Brand and Arzuffi. Each woman spent time on the front and off the back, as Worst, Kaptheijns and the rest disappeared from sight.

The final lap saw Brand fall into trouble on an early technical section, but Arzuffi's pace proved to be a bluff. After Brand caught back on midway through the lap, she and Cant attacked the climb after the barriers, distancing the Italian for good.

After that it was a battle for prime position in the final sprint. Cant diligently stuck to Brand's wheel in the closing stages, conserving just enough energy to power past around the final corner and take the white-and-blue banded jersey on the line.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sanne Cant (Belgium)0:41:57 
2Lucinda Brand (Netherlands)  
3Alice Arzuffi (Italy)0:00:15 
4Annemarie Worst (Netherlands)0:00:45 
5Maud Kaptheijns (Netherlands)0:01:06 
6Eva Lechner (Italy0:01:10 
7Ellen Van Loy (Belgium)0:01:25 
8Helen Wyman (Great Britain)0:01:32 
9Denise Betsema (Netherlands)0:01:34 
10Pavla Havlíková (Czech Republic)0:01:40 
11Karla Štepánová (Czech Republic)  
12Nikki Brammeier (Great Britain)0:01:54 
13Loes Sels (Belgium)0:02:12 
14Joyce Vanderbeken (Belgium)0:02:33 
15Jasmin Egger-Achermann (Switzerland)0:02:44 
16Lucie Chainel (France)0:02:59 
17Geerte Hoeke (Netherlands)0:03:09 
18Ida Erngren (Sweden)0:03:13 
19Jolien Verschueren (Belgium)0:03:42 
20Janka Keseg Stevkova (Slovakia)0:04:18 
21Vendula Kuntová (Czech Republic)0:04:26 
22Hannah Payton (Great Britain)  
23Stefanie Paul (Germany)0:04:58 
24Magdalena Sadlecka (Poland)0:05:12 
25Tatiana Jaseková (Slovakia)0:05:41 
26Martina Mikulášková (Czech Republic)0:06:27 
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