After a season of consistent racing, including one World Cup victory, Dutch rider Sanne van Paassen (Brainwash) captured the overall title for the UCI cyclo-cross World Cup on Sunday afternoon.
Van Paassen won the Plzen, Czech Republic round in October and finished among the top-four in each of the six other World Cup events. This achievement led her to a total of 310 World Cup points, 10 more than runner-up Katie Compton who won all five World Cup rounds she competed in.
"I'm very proud of winning the World Cup. Top-level sport is all about making choices," Van Paassen said. "After the national championships, I was ill but nevertheless I decided to race in Pont-Château. I made a good decision there.
"Winning the World Cup round in Plzen was a first victory but this overall win shows that I'm consistent. My new team supports me very well and they give me the opportunity to do training camps. Hopefully I'll make a big step forward next year."
For Compton the win in Hoogerheide during the World Cup finale left her with mixed feelings. In order to reduce the high amount of travelling which Compton finds hard to adapt to the seven-time US champion decided to skip two World Cup rounds. "This season there's one goal and that's the world championships in Sankt-Wendel," Compton said. "It's a choice we made but it brings along quite a lot of pressure to pull off the win in Sankt-Wendel."
After the race in Hoogerheide, Compton took a glance at the scoreboard of the World Cup. In hindsight it turns out that a 21st place in one of the two World Cup rounds she skipped would have handed Compton the overall victory. "I wish I would travel easier," Compton said.
Finishing as runner-up overall in the World Cup also has financial repercussions, with 12,000 euros for first and 8,000 euros for second. Compton, whose sponsorship by Planet Bike has come to a conclusion, is currently in talks with several teams. "It's great to have options as in the past that wasn't the case. If I can win in Sankt-Wendel, it will be quickly decided, if not it will be a bit harder I guess," Compton said. With her unbeaten status in the World Cup it is clear she's the top favorite to capture the rainbow jersey in Germany next weekend.
For world champion Marianne Vos, the World Cup wasn't a priority as she's been focusing on track racing before switching her attention on cyclo-cross in December. "It surprises me that I even made it on the podium in the end," Vos said. "Compton was really impressive today but I already knew that to beat her I'll have to improve some percentages. She hasn't been beaten yet but there will come a first time, hopefully next week."
Following the cyclo-cross world championships next weekend Vos, a world champion across road, track and cyclo-cross disciplines, will switch her focus again to track racing.