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Sanne Cant: I still look up to Marianne Vos

FAYETTEVILLE ARKANSAS JANUARY 29 Sanne Cant of Belgium competes during the 73rd UCI CycloCross World Championships Fayetteville 2022 Womens Elite Fayetteville2022 on January 29 2022 in Fayetteville Arkansas Photo by Chris GraythenGetty Images
Sanne Cant at the Cyclo-cross Worlds in Fayetteville (Image credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Three-time cyclo-cross World Champion Sanne Cant (Belgium) had her time at the top of the discipline between 2017 and 2019. But since then, Dutch superstar Marianne Vos – the winner of six straight titles from 2009 to 2014 - has re-emerged to assert her dominance.

After finishing 10th behind the Dutch legend at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Fayetteville, Cant said Vos is still a rider she admires.

"I said that whoever beats Vos would become world champion. I think I was right," the Belgian told Sporza.

Vos won her first title in 2006 as a first-year elite and Cant, three years younger, says she always admired her.

"When I was young, I really looked up to Marianne. I still do. She was really an example for me. Many can only dream of so many world titles."

It has been a few lean years for Cant, a bit like what Vos had during the Belgian's best years. To see Vos so strong again is impressive.

"That she's still world class at 34? Maybe there's still hope for me then," Cant laughed.

The course in Fayetteville which had been thawing for the earlier races was dry and fast for the women's afternoon competition and it made for a fast race.

"It was a difficult race. My start wasn't great," Cant told Cyclingnews. "I spent the rest of the first lap trying to close the gap. I managed that to a certain extent but needed a lap to recover from that effort and basically spent the rest of the race chasing. It was hard."

She's no stranger to racing in America, having previously competed at CrossVegas as well as the Louisville world championships in 2013.

"The course here was much, much faster. The ground at those races was softer so it was slower going there. This is quite a bit different here. It's a nice course, but really fast."

Around six thousand fans lined the course with loud cheers for riders of every nation in stark contrast to some races in Europe that were held without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic. Can said the atmosphere was "absolutely top".

"That's always the case here. Every race we do here in America, people are genuinely happy that we're here. It's great. I'm not a fan of the travel, the jetlag and time differences and all that but now that I am here, I am really enjoy myself."

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