Canadian Maghalie Rochette took one of her biggest career victories at the Pan American Cyclo-cross Championships held on home soil in Midland, Ontario on Sunday. She wasn't the only woman to claim a title in front of a home crowd as Dutchwoman Annemarie Worst won the European Championships in Rosmalen, Netherlands.
"Today I was all about being clean and not making any mistakes," Rochette said in a Cycling Canada press release. "It's very special to win this; I think it is my biggest win so far.
"The best thing today was to have all the Canadian fans; they were on fire! To win the title in front of a home crowd is pretty cool."
These were the fifth Pan American Championships, and the first to be held in Canada, with nearly 300 riders competing across 13 categories for the Continental champion jerseys. Four-time defending champion, Katie Compton (USA) did not line up to compete on the Midland circuit as she is currently in Europe.
Rochette faced the strong American duo of Ellen Noble and Kaitlin Keough. Rochette and Noble raced together until just before the start of the final lap, when the Noble crashed. Rochette extend her lead to 14 seconds before the finish line and won the title, while Noble finished second and Keough third.
Across the Atlantic, Worst took a convincing victory in the elite women’s race at the European Championships. It was an all-Dutch podium as Worst won by a mere two seconds ahead of Marianne Vos and Denise Betsema. World champion Sanne Cant from Belgium was fourth. It was Worsts first major title in the elite ranks.
"I can hardly believe that I won, it was a very hard race," Worst said. "With three laps to go, I took the lead to be able to ride my own pace and tracks. I realized that I just had to go and I won.
Worst has had a strong season so far with a victory at Superprestige Gieten and second place at the World Cup in Bern. She will continue to race the UCI World Cup series and focus on the World Championships held in Bogense, Denmark in February.
"Now I'm hoping to race into the top five in the World Cup and then I'll focus on the World Championship."